Ayelet Waldman vs. Katie Roiphe

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Roiphe has an article in Slate about all the mean things that someone she identifies as “Mrs. C,” “the wife of a famous novelist,” was saying about her on Twitter. I know only one person on Twitter who is the wife of a novelist whose surname starts with C: Ayelet Waldman, who is married to Michael Chabon, and whose feed reads like a subversive exploration of the new medium’s potential for self-involvement and thoughtlessness. The comments to the Slate article confirmed my hunch. One of the commenters provided a link with more info.

Roiphe had written an essay a while ago favorably comparing the sexual attitudes of “the Great Male Novelists of the last century” to today’s not-so-great male novelists, including Chabon (although the reference to him is not at all cutting). Waldman tweets to Roiphe about her husband: “He not only writes rings and rings and rings around you, but the same rings around your drunken literary love objects.” At which point someone has to say: Umm, what? Roiphe was writing about John Updike, Norman Mailer, Saul Bellow, and Philip Roth. So in Waldman’s view, Roiphe is basically on the same plane as this quartet and all of them are getting rings and rings, etc., written around them by Chabon. I am pretty sure that this view is not widely held by people who are not married to Chabon.

(And yes, I know I’m focusing on the important news of the week.)

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