Friday, January 10, 2014

Incoherent Like the Wolff

Michael Wolff writes a column critical of Gabe Sherman for penning a book on (the other) Roger Ailes. He's not panning the book, because he couldn't get a review copy, or something. His criticisms appear to be that Sherman wrote the book even though Ailes denied Sherman's interview requests because Sherman's a liberal, and that Sherman enumerated the precise number of interviews he did, like Kitty Kelley does, rather than giving a ballpark estimate. Wolff suggests that an unauthorized bio is suspect ("without direct access to its subject, [the book] exists in a limbo of the speculative and questionable") because only the subject will tell you the God's honest truth about her or himself.

The column loses all coherence in the final paragraph:
Sherman, somewhat disingenuously, keeps saying that Ailes is a larger-than-life figure on the level of William Randolph Hearst. But Hearst's story, as told in Citizen Kane by Orson Welles, whom Hearst disdained and refused to speak to, has the key distinction of actually being fiction.
What the flying fuck does this mean? That Wm. Randolph Hearst is a fictional character in a story? That Orson Wells' Citizen Kane -- which Sherman wasn't comparing Ailes to -- is fiction? That Sherman shouldn't write an Ailes bio because Citizen Kane is fiction? That authors should only write fictional biographies of people they can't speak to?

And why is it somewhat disingenuous to keep saying that Ailes is a larger-than-life figure on the level of Hearst -- because Hearst is on a higher level of largeness? Because no one's made a fictional movie about an Ailes-like network president?

Rosebud wept.


Montag said...

Oh, I think there's no question that Ailes outweighs Hearst in his prime, at least in raw poundage. And raw poundage of sewage, perhaps.

LT said...

The painfully stupid paret is the "as told in Citizen Kane by Orson Welles."

That, you know, is the only telling - EVER - of the Hearst story.

Phil Dyess-Nugent said...

I assume that the real meaning of the passage is, "Let me remind you that I had access to Rupert Murdoch for MY book, and in my world, whoever can get a billionaire to sit for an interview matters more than sharp thought or coherent prose, so let's take this book's existence as a reason for you all to remember who's the king around here. Not that you should need a reason."