An old-fashioned take-down

Becca Rothfeld’s book review “Lauren Oyler thinks she is better than you” is a thorough evisceration of Oyler’s book No Judgment. You don’t see many reviews like this these days. Critics that attack books typically go after the author’s political or cultural stance – indeed, often use the occasion of their reviews to promote their own contrasting positions.

Critics of old of course did the same thing, but they supplemented this approach by also writing reviews of the author’s quality of mind – say, of that author’s poor cerebral and compositional hygiene. Rothfeld’s amusing Washington Post piece is of that latter sort.

Addendum: The New York Times review tries to be nicer but damns with faint praise. Both pieces therefore make me relieved I am not Lauren Oyler this week, though they don’t make me think I am better than her.

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