Monday, November 2nd, 2009
11

Insane Mark Danner v. George Packer 'NYTBR' Catfight Ahoy!

PACKER v DANNERTo be published Sunday: a literary throw-down of unparalleled proportions. How great! A couple of weeks ago, George Packer reviewed for the Times Mark Danner's Stripping Bare the Body, a book that explores violence and war from Haiti to the Balkans to Iraq. This review did not do much for Danner. Hence, this coming Sunday, there is an enormous, enormous letter of complaint-it takes up more than a full page-and as well a not-terribly-brief rejoinder from Packer. We have some advance to show you!

DANNER

Oh it does go on. That is just the beginning.

Packer's response? That they're not actually friends, nor were they ever coworkers, and haven't in fact met that frequently. (Six times, he says!) And:

Some of Danner's work has my complete admiration-"a European niche in American letters" is only a term of abuse if you want it to be. My criticisms of his essays were based on literary, moral and intellectual, not political, grounds.

11 Comments / Post A Comment

Tulletilsynet (#333)

I realize people have replied to reviewers in all ages, and of course editors love it when they do that, especially in venues that are hurting for meaningful content. But wasn't it considered sort of lame once upon a time to reply to reviewers?

KarenUhOh (#19)

Shall we say, Pissants at dawn?

Moff (#28)

"Borrows the style of countless works of post-structuralist theory"? Motherfuckers be getting shot over that kinda shit in some neighborhoods.

Jim Demintia (#1,815)

I haven't read Danner's book or Packer's review of it, but whenever Packer discusses the opposition to the Iraq war, he is simply not to be trusted.

He has been unable to come terms honestly with his ardent support for the invasion, and so he trivializes and misrepresents the positions of those who disagreed with him. On this point, at least, he's a hack.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

– "Near superhuman ability to ignore what is on the page" is a pretty inspiring promise!

katiebakes (#32)

This is the second best feud I've read about today.

Bittersweet (#765)

Wish I'd seen that beatdown. Another nail in the Post's coffin.

Steve (#1,777)

Some “eyewitness reporting” might have turned up that fact: it is the epigraph to the book.

Favorite repartee of the day.

hman (#53)

Now I think I may understand why the section needs so many editors.

louis.proyect (#2,119)

This reminds me of the Terminator versus Aliens movie, or Freddy Krueger versus Jason from the Friday the 13th movies. You hope that the creatures will kill each other off.

Packer is clearly a warmongering slob in the Paul Berman or Christopher Hitchens vein, while Danner is arguably worse since he is such an unctuous phony. As a Bard College graduate, I have a particular animus toward this Botstein hire. Read about it here:

http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2005/06/01/letter-to-a-bard-college-professor/

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