Franzen v Kakutani

By Ethan Comment

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Last night at a Harvard event with fellow New Yorker staff writer James Wood, Jonathan Franzen said that “the stupidest person in New York City is currently the lead reviewer of fiction for the New York Times.” Franzen was of course refering to Pulitzer-Prize winning reviewer Michiko Kakutani, who, according to the New York Observer,

presumably got on Mr. Franzen’s bad side with her brutal review of his recent memoir, The Discomfort Zone. In that review, Ms. Kakutani wrote: “there is something oddly preening about [Franzen’s] self-inventory of sins, as though he actually reveled in being so disagreeable.” Also: “Just why anyone would be interested in pages and pages about [Franzen’s unhappy marriage] or the self-important and self-promoting contents of Mr. Franzen’s mind remains something of a mystery.”

But is Kakutani really the stupidest person in New York City?
Let’s see how they stack up and you can decide after the jump

School: Swarthmore College
Continuing Ed: Fulbright Scholarship
Residence: Upper East Side
Day Job: writes for The New Yorker magazine
Big Prize: National Book Award for Fiction
Big Critic: Oprah Winfrey’s book club pick
Pop Culture Resonance: Appeared in a Simpsons Episode

School: Yale University
Continuing Ed: Washington Post/TIME
Residence: Manhattan
Day Job: Reviews for the New York Times
Big Prize: Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
Big Critic: Salman Rushdie and Norman Mailer
Pop Culture Resonance: Featured in an episode of Sex in the City