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August 10, 2004

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Ron

I think the unspoken assumption you elicit from Terry's position is a bad assumption for writers to make, and I feel like a corollary to it is the idea that bigshot writers are doing book review editors a favor by deigning to write something for them. But it's not a favor if money changes hands, and if money changes hands, then professional obligations kick in.

If the article had been killed, and Tanenhaus stated publicly that it had been killed because it sucked, I'd have accepted that, especially if the review appeared somewhere else and I could confirm his judgment for myself. If the article was substantially revised against Wieseltier's wishes, I'd be outraged for him; no matter how much I think his article needed improvement, he would have the right to sign off on any changes or, better still, to make them himself.

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