Elder Worship in Publishing: Respect or Sycophancy?

The appearance a few weeks back of “Send This as a Jpeg, or Whatever,” a blog that features “quotations from an iconic publishing veteran,” filled us with curiosity. Who is this cantankerous, yet nobly authentic, publishing veteran? Nobody we asked knew and many thought he (the iconic veteran) probably doesn’t really exist, particularly once he started talking about his visits to brothels in Frankfurt and disliking Freedom. It seems like there might be a law in New York publishing against disliking Freedom.

“But why make it both fake and anonymous?” asked a critical thinker here at The Observer, when we posited that the blog might be similar in nature to the various Twitter feeds of former Observer editor Peter Kaplan (@crankykaplan, @wise_kaplan and @real_kaplan; @kaplan_premium, etc.) Tough questions. Questions we cannot answer.  The proprietor of the blog did not respond to our queries.

When we asked around, we did get one suggestion: that the blog might be satirizing what always struck us as one of the more endearing aspects of life in publishing. “Here’s a good topic: Occasionally Charming Old Assholes Who Remember the Good Old Days and the Assistants Who Worship Them,” wrote one slightly grumpy editor. “The most annoying aspect of it (that I’ve seen) are the assistants who work for these people and relate their utterances with glee, and of course the people themselves, reveling in their canonization. This seems to happen a lot at Knopf.” A Knopf spokesman did not respond to our request for comment.

Knopf president Sonny Mehta.