Monday, May 22, 2006

A "smooth panderer to the business culture."

Lee Siegel really loathes Malcolm Gladwell for reasons that seem to transcend the rational.

Hmm. I'm not about to read Blink or The Tipping Point, but I'm a big Gladwell fan. I think he's a fantastic writer.

I also don't get what is self-evidently wrong about writing about business. After all businesses make stuff that people use and perform services that people want. And, incidentally, employ a bunch of people including Lee Siegel.

We can't all write about art for a living.
I thought that the whole business epithet was the most interesting -- I would say telling, but I'm not quite sure what it tells -- aspect of Siegel's posts. As you say, so what? And I don't think Gladwell owes as much to business as he tries to popularize scientific research.

I think Gladwell is reductive and maybe a little sloppy sometimes. But also often very interesting.
I think one should spend a few months farming, spinning wool, raising a barn or otherwise work alongside Siegel and his kinsmen before one criticizes their anti-business stance. Funny, I didn't immediately recognize "Siegel" as an Amish name. Maybe second wave or something.
Also, note that the "business" thing made even less sense when Siegel included it as an offhand remark in the first of those two posts last week. I saw it at the time, and went looking back through his blog posts to see if he was referring to something he had written earlier. I think I searched for "Gladwell" through his archives (not as big a task as it sounds) and came up dry.
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