One bit stuck out as a typically tendentious Garvey touch. He's describing the generally unappealing female characters in Sands' writing samples, and he mentions
a woman dallying sexually with her best friend's college-age son - a controversial form of empowerment, to be sure, and one I can well imagine raising hackles in mature female readers with horny sons of their own.
Hmmm. Sounds like a bit of a reach. Why, I wonder, would this affect "mature female readers" with "horny sons" more than dads with same?
By spending so much time and consideration on this issue, and trying to delve deep into the primary sources behind some contentious headlines, Garvey is doing a valuable public service of a sort. But he's also painting himself into a corner--the familiar I-blogged-something-controversial-and-I-won't-back-down-in-fact-I'll-double-down corner, which I think of as the Megan McArdle and Leonard Jacobs model, as opposed to the I'm-thinking-out-loud-and-revising-my-thoughts-and-admitting-mistakes-as-I-go approach (the Andrew Sullivan and Isaac Butler model). I find the former attitude fascinating, even entertaining, but ultimately maddening and off-putting, and the latter ingratiatingly transparent and inviting, and ultimately better for clear and productive dialogue. Both approaches seem to be uniquely products of, and suited to, the blogosphere, but I'll gladly throw my hat in the latter ring.