Monday, news prematurely broke that Martin Levin, books editor with Globe and Mail since 1996, and Jack Kirchoff, the section’s assistant editor, had been removed from their positions. While Kirchoff has yet to be reassigned (as of this post), Levin will move into the role of obituaries editor where he will report on the lingering death of publishing.
A job opening has now been posted, and while it’s not terribly likely that the Globe will find the successful candidate out of house, I have a message to my fellow ladykind. I’m doing this for your own good. Please, don’t hate me . . .
“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!”
I don’t mean this lightly. I’ve been on the listservs, and follow the counts and CWILA’s establishment of a Critic-in-Residence (Sue Sinclair). I’ve been both pained and entertained by the ongoing Twitterfire exchanged between a host of bright and passionate people about the lack of women in reviews coverage (and in the reviews themselves.) We have the numbers. Not enough women writers being reviewed. Not enough women writing reviews.
Let me be clear. This isn’t a continued attack against existing books editors, although I might be suggesting that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing during the hiring process to acknowledge that it’s mostly women who both read and buy books.
No, what I’m really saying is that of the men I know who go for gigs, any gig, most do so because they have the skill sets to learn how to do the job. Whereas, ladies, gawd love us, we sometimes do this thing where we don’t even go for the job until we know how to do it, and everyone else’s, too. I’ll also tell you a little something else. Of the male books editors in this country, more than a few inherited the gig or were reassigned from another section. They had to learn, too.
So, I’m begging you. If you have the interest, if you have the experience, if you have the chops, and if you have LADY BITS, here’s the job description at Workopolis. Apply.
Putting down the pom poms, here’s the bad news. You’re probably not going to get the gig. I really hope you do. Because if you’re all those things above, you should get the gig. You’re clearly qualified. But it’s a union gig, so, there’s that.
No, the real reason you need to apply is because there won’t be a chance again soon(ish) that you’ll have the opportunity to apply to be the Books Editor of a national newspaper, and to give that national newspaper the opportunity to count just how many women are invested in the very conversations that keep a section robust, thriving and forward-moving.
That doesn’t just count for something. That’s the point of this all.
Here’s the job description again, DOGGONIT!
Addendum: I have had the pleasure of working with Martin and Jack since I broke in my first publishing toof, and wish them only the best. Before this post, I was among the first to publicly express my dismay that they’d been reassigned. No matter my call for a forward (and possibly futile) charge, it in no way diminishes the loss to book culture and conversation that is the combined efforts of these kind fellows.