Friday, February 22, 2008

Guardian headline edumacates

So... this is the headline: Best of the Booker pits Rushdie against 40 pretenders.

And I’m thinking, despite my painfully patently obvious Rushdie lurvve, that to call other winners of the Booker--writers of the caliber of Gordimer, Atwood, Ishiguro, Okri, McEwan, etc. etc. “pretenders” is a bit much.* Because in my head, it sounds derogatory--pretension, being pretentious, ergo pretenders. Turns out that of the three meanings to “pretender” one implies no derogation at all. (Although I always thought a pretender to the throne was a claimant with no bona fide right to it.)


Also, I’m wondering: Decided by the public? How? Pop-Idol-style voteoffs?


*Although I’ll happily agree that Yann Martel of the unduly celebrated Life of Pi is is is a pretender.


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