One from Column A

By Neal Comment

The “Off the Record” column in yesterday’s New York Observer breaks the news on Jonathan Karp’s signing of The Long March of General Tso, a “history of Chinese food in America” by NYT reporter Jennifer 8. Lee for Warner Twelve. And then, even before most of its readers had stumbled into the office, Gawker cracked the inevitable joke: “From what we hear, she was very happy and sated with that six-figure advance. But then, like a half-hour later, she was totally ready for another one.”

And then, in this morning’s Page Six, they get Karp himself to make with the funny: “Everyone who read this proposal devoured it, and within an hour, we were all hungry to read more.”

That is, like, the most hilarious thing ever! Because, you know, that’s so true about Chinese food! And it’s the one stereotype you can use without everybody assuming you’re some sort of racist jerk—though some might suggest that this “one hour later” stuff, no matter how jocularly intended, is little more than a step removed from publicly hoping Lee’s book doesn’t turn out to be a dog.

(That said, there is of course a clear difference between Karp’s breezy effort to promote his author’s readability and the standard Gawker trope of ironic tastelessness…doesn’t make the joke any funnier, though.)