Cynthia Crossen’s generous mention of A Commonplace Blog in the Friday edition of the Wall Street Journal briefly drove my traffic above two thousand readers. Another thousand clicked over on Saturday, which never happens: regular readers know that nothing new is to be found here on the Jewish sabbath.
Responding to a question from a reader who asked about “the best blogs/bloggers who focus on books,” Crossen says that she first encountered my writing in a “blistering critique of the ‘self-conscious, writerly prose’ of ‘serious fiction’ in Atlantic magazine,” but this was actually written by another Myers altogether—B. R. Myers of Dongseo University. I see from his Wikipedia entry that that Myers is a “supporter of the Green Party (United States), animal rights, and veganism.” Nothing could be further from my own political sympathies. Pave Paradise, and pass the barbecued brisket.
Being mistaken for another Myers is something I’m used to. In 1992, Harper Collins reprinted my Commentary essay on college sports in The Writer’s Library. For the first time in my career, I received the full biographical treatment:
It’s enough to make a man change his name to Mark Helpern.
At all events, a belated welcome to readers of the Journal. Please don’t be disappointed if my attitude toward “self-conscious fiction” is more ambivalent than B. R. Myers’s, although he and I may agree about seriousness.