The Players: Ayelet Waldman, author and wife of fellow author, Michael Chabon; Katie Roiphe, writer of, among other things, a New York Times essay deriding the sensitivity and sexual awkwardness of modern male authors--Chabon included--compared to the masculine and sex-crazed "Great Male Writers" of the 20th century.
Opening Serve: Roiphe's latest essay, which came out yesterday, does not mention Chabon but nevertheless rubbed Waldman the wrong way, prompting a four-tweet tyrade against Roiphe yesterday. "Really Roiphe? You seek 'slightly greater obsession w/ the sublime sentence.' My husband's sentences are INFINITELY more sublime than yours," the initial tweet read. She continued, "I am so BORED with Katie Roiphe's 'I like the sexist drunk writers' bullshit. She happily trashes my husband, but guess what bitch? He not only writes rings and rings and rings around you, but the same rings around your drunken literary love objects."
Return Volley: So far, there hasn't been one. Roiphe has, perhaps wisely, refrained from shooting back at Waldman. Other Tweeters, however, did offer words of support to Ayelet. Joshua Trevino, Senior Projects Director at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, tweeted, "Tonight's wife we all wish we had, and are also slightly fearful of having, is @ayeletw. Becky Katz, presumably a friend, wrote "@ayeletw I've never read anything by Roiphe but yep, your husband is a GREAT writer. I love both of you." Waldmen responded to Trevino and Katz"I do not like it when people insult those I love."
What She Says the Fight's About: Waldman, as evidenced by her comment to her friends on Twitter, was clearly angry about Roiphe's take on her husband's work and was reminded of that upon reading Roiphe's latest essay.
Lesson Learned: How not to use Twitter. Despite her best efforts to stand by her man in the face of criticism, Waldman's rant wound up looking a little catty.
Who's Winning Now: Though Roiphe's writing was publicly slammed by Waldman, if anything this spat will drive more readers to the two disputed essays than would have otherwise seen them. That probably makes her the winner, but ultimately, neither party comes out of this looking particularly good, readers commenting both on Roiphe's rather self-indulgent essay and Waldman's quick reaction.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.