Sort of. I mean, the lead reviewer for the New York Times book review section, Michiko Kakutani, wrote a review in “the voice” of Brian the dog from Family Guy. Again: sort of. I mean, not really at all? NOT that I’m an expert on the voice of Brian the dog from Family Guy, but I’ve definitely watched enough Family Guy to know that it doesn’t sound anything like this ever:

Brian the dog here. You know, the talking dog from “Family Guy”: best-selling author, actor, television writer, movie director, song-and-dance ace, civil rights crusader and, yes, animal companion. Because of my sterling literary credentials, I’ve been asked to review this British pooch’s new memoir: “The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe,” ghosted by this novelist guy Andrew O’Hagan.

Or like this:

Like me, Maf is a credit to his species. Like me, he refuses to demean himself by perpetuating the stereotypes of “the good dog,” the obedient dog, the unthinking mammal. Like me, he’s a cultured hound with a busy mental life: he knows his literature, his art history, his philosophy. And like me, he joins Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Toto in elevating the canine reputation in as expeditious a fashion as possible.

Haha. Nope. I have never heard anything on Family Guy that sounded even just a tiny little bit like that. You know, you would think that a FAMOUS LITERARY CRITIC would know that there is more to mimicking an authorial voice than just saying “I am talking as this character now.” Perhaps instead of claiming to review a book as the dog from Family Guy, Michiko Kakutani should have written an essay on what the hell is she even doing and why. WHAT IS THIS? WHY DOES THIS EXIST? BECAUSE THERE IS A DOG IN THE BOOK? TRY HARDER, MICHIKO KAKUTANI. P.S. Family Guy stinks. And while we’re at it, follow my dog on Twitter.

Comments (89)
  1. Also, the point of Brian is that he is the most human character….so I guess it is a stretch for kakutani

  2. That’s like someone doing a Robert DeNiro imitation and just saying, “I’m Robert DeNiro! I was in Meet The Fockers!”

  3. Michiko Kakutani here, just wanted to stop by and say great post Gabe.

  4. Ooh. Let me try one in the voice of Seth MacFarlane:

    “I don’t care a whit for narrative and my jokes are poorly constructed non-sequitirs designed to amuse through sheer offensiveness.”

    I’m a literary chameleon, y’all.

    • Seth MacFarlane here. I’m finally ready to admit that I am indeed the worst. After years of lying to myself and to the people, I am willing to hang up my hat and spend the rest of my days sitting quietly in front of a roaring fire. I am done being me. Trust me, I’m Seth MacFarlane.

  5. and btw, you hate family guy too? I mean its not as good as when you were 19 and stoned in college, but its not THAT bad….if you’re gonna hate, I would concentrate your efforts on the Cleveland Show

  6. Michiko Kakutani? I was hoping the story involved this guy.


  7. Birdie’s your roommate, not “your” dog, Gabe.

  8. I want to meet Mr. Kakutani, so I can tell him “You’re the dog now, man!.” And then we’ll high five as we simultaneously say “BROS!”

  9. “Hi Garfield, here. The lovable cat. I’d like to take a moment to review NEW YORK: Portrait of a City.

    For New York-ophiles who want a lively distillation of their city in holiday-wrapped form, it’s hard to ask for a handsomer album than NEW YORK: Portrait of a City (Taschen, $69.99). The selection includes photographs by virtuosos like Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz and Weegee, assembled by Reuel Golden, the executive editor at Photo District News, and graced by his concise accounts of five historic periods since 1850. I like lasagna. “

    • “Hi, Snoopy here. I know I don’t normally talk, but I just HAD to say something about Letters by Saul Bellow. By turns cranky and charming, ruminative and cocky, Saul Bellow was a gifted and emotionally voluble letter writer. And this absorbing collection of his correspondence creates a sharp-edged self-portrait of the artist as a close spiritual relative of his heroes: a seeker and searcher, vacillating between the emotional poles of exuberance and depression; a self-made writer, adept at spinning his philosophical ideas and romantic ups and downs into fiction (Viking, $35). Sometimes I sit on top of my dog house and pretend to be the Red Baron and write letters home to my lover.”

      • Yogi Bear here, chomping at the bit to tell you about Maira Kalma’s delightful new book. If children’s picture books are on the wane, all the more reason to hail the advent of a new picture book for grown-ups. Kalman, the creator of a dozen books for children, and whose previous adult works include “The Principles of Uncertainty” and the unaccountably ingenious illustrated edition of “The Elements of Style,” now brings us AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS (Penguin Press, $29.95), an investigation of the historical underpinnings and current workings of democracy in America. Sort of. Really, it’s more like an impromptu interpretive dance about our country, executed in fat, frolicky color, unprissy brushstroke, a smattering of pleasantly pedestrian photo­graphs and perfectly rambunctious penmanship. It’s so great, I stuck it in my picnic basket. That I stole.

        • I have been trying to come up with a racist Marmaduke entry, but my brain is mush and you guys are really good at this.

          • Hi Marmaduke here, I know this is The New York Times Book Review but I’m a dog and I don’t know what books are so I’m gonna review a poem. Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden” really speaks to me as I too think it is my job to spread my racist bile, which is difficult as I am a dog and can not talk.

    • Good day everyone, Scooby Doo here, private detective and total foodie. I’ve been asked by my good friend AnAmerican Patriot to write a prelude to the next installment of Bookgum: The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Klay.

      Set in New York in times of war raging on the other side the ocean, “The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Klay” is a tale of two men trying to figure out how to cope with life, love, sexuality and the queit struggles of those left behind, all within the paradigm of escapism.

      I give it two Scooby Snacks.

    • “Hi, Family Circus here. How come Grandma smells funny? The end.”

  10. If Kakatuni wanted to write as a Family Guy character, he should have just done an unfunny impression of a Star Wars character.

  11. “And now, I would like to eemitate Meester President Carter…Hello, I’m Meester President Carter.”

  12. Can’t blame Kakutani. He’s just got to see more papes!

  13. Gabe the blogger here. You know, the talented guy from “Videogum”: best-selling author, blogger, website spokesperson, TV guest, jokes-and-insults writer, civil rights crusader and, yes, digital companion. Because of my sterling sarcasm credentials, I’ve been asked to review this American human’s new post: “New York Times Book Review Written By Family Guy Character For Some Reason,” ghosted by this dearly-missed gal Lindsay.

    And so the post is your boyfriend. Barf fart fart barf. Bing bong! Very bing. Very bong. Go to bed. 2012.

  14. Gabe is very big in the world of Dog Comedy. It’s kind of his thing. He does *not* appreciate competition…if you could even CALL it that, amiright?

  15. Maybe Wikileaks can reveal why this show is still being made.

  16. Douche chills. Mostly, Ms. Kakatuni is an sometimes entertaining, occassionally frustrating contrarian…sorta like a Steve Winwood, maybe? But then she veers into this shit- she once did a review as Elle Woods of Legally Blonde. Blech.

  17. I demand that the next Pynchon book gets a prominent review by Brainy Smurf.

  18. This is still better than David Fricke’s review of the new Kanye album where he pretended to be Cleveland.

  19. Hello. I am noted commentor Thisismynightmare, here to review Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.”

    Cormac McCarthy’s subject in his new novel is as big as it gets: the end of the civilized world, the dying of life on the planet and the spectacle of it all. He has written a visually stunning picture of how it looks at the end to two pilgrims on the road to nowhere. Color in the world — except for fire and blood — exists mainly in memory or dream. Fire and firestorms have consumed forests and cities, and from the fall of ashes and soot everything is gray, the river water black. Hydrangeas and wild orchids stand in the forest, sculptured by fire into “ashen effigies” of themselves, waiting for the wind to blow them over into dust. Intense heat has melted and tipped a city’s buildings, and window glass hangs frozen down their walls. Also, Ryan Gosling is super hot.

    • (Let’s be honest here. RYAN GOSLING IS SO HOT!)

    • “Hi. We’re everyone that comments on Videogum or associates with those who comment on Videogum. We’re writing to formally inquire as to why someone would review or even read The Road when they could be reading or reviewing or writing comments in the style of Blood Meridian, or, The Evening Redness in the West. The Road is so safe and bourgeois and clean and American Beauty-esque compared to Blood Meridian. Blood Meridian is pretty much the best. I say so, and so do all my friends. SO SAY WE ALL. Upvotes for Blood Meridian, always.

  20. Michiko Kakutani clear insight into the depth of character motives may make him a front runner for being on the new writing team of The Walking Dead.

  21. How about a little less book reviewing and a little more shut the hell up?

  22. A Videogum blog post about New York Times Book Review Written By Family Guy Character For Some Reason

  23. The sad part is whoever came up with this is probably really pleased with themselves.

  24. Can we have a chat about how 80% of monsters are assuming a major writer for a major publication is a dude?

    Also, anyone want to chat about that weird pleasure that comes when establishment critics reveal their hackness?

    • Relevant to both of these statements, from now on I am referring to James Wood as “she.”

      I will continue to refer to James Woods as Sir.

    • Michiko is totally a dude’s name. C’mon!

      • Ah, that’s easily solved. When it comes to Japanese names, if it sounds possibly, vaguely, and entirely indefinably, cute, odds are it is a female name. Or something.

      • Sorry, Dirty, but if her name ends in “ko” then she’s a woman. It’s like ending an English name with “-y”, except without strange aberrations such as “Cary” and, um, “Harry”…. ::trails off, crickets:: I’ll see myself out, then.

    • Monsters know who she is, Gabe just didn’t lay it out so they’d understand. Michiko Kakutani should actually read “The muggle who reviewed the last Harry Potter book BEFORE it went on sale.”

      “Oh yeah I remember HER!”–Other Monsters.

    • Why not assume the writer is a dude? If you’re assuming, there are only two options. Either way, you have a 50% chance of being correct, and given the Western norm of masculine names ending with “-o” and feminine names ending with “a”, I’d say it’s a perfectly reasonable assumption for those not familiar with Japanese naming conventions.

      • I agree, but I think part of Smith’s point was that Michiko Kakutani is pretty well known as a NYT book reviewer and the surprise was that people were so unfamiliar with Kakutani that they didn’t know she is a lady dude.

        That hows I read it at least.

        Also, I only know about Kakutani because I watched Sex & the City when I was younger & they mentioned her. #SecretShame

        • My point is also the clear gender norm thing going on. And to be less dickish about my comment below, instead of asking people to be informed, or inform themselves, why not take the easiest, non assumption route, just use her name.

      • Sure, why not just assume and start mocking someone without any basic knowledge on the subject of mockery. If only there were some magic, near-instantaneous resource that could quickly make one slightly informed. Without that, one can only decide that gender roles must be clear and regularized, and also that all cultures naming functions can follow our own.

        • Sure, I could have done some research and seen that she is a woman. And when I write my thesis on this particular book review, I will probably do that. But as far as snarky comments on a blog go, I think I’ll stick with assumptions I can make based upon pre-existing knowledge, thanks.

          • Research=3 seconds it takes to google her name and see a bunch of photos of a woman pop up.

            Pre-existing knowledge=Important writer at important magazine not writing about food, clothes, or sex is a man.

          • Or, as mentioned before, names ending with “-o” in Western culture are traditionally masculine. I know it’s hard to believe, but not everything that somebody says is sexist, racist, or any other “-ist.” Sometimes people say things that aren’t really a big deal. Quit being such an over-reaction.

          • Or, as mentioned before, you’re taking Western culture naming norms and transplanting them onto what is clearly a name from a non-Western culture, and you’re defending lazy, sloppy ignorance. I know it’s hard to believe, but lazy thinking, casual acceptance of ignorance is pretty much the most common version of things that tend towards sexist, racist, or any other “-ist” and is only one of the many reasons that willful ignorance is pretty much the thing I hate most. It’s not an overreaction when someone continues to defend their right to be wrong.

          • We all comment on people we don’t know. We are all assholes. Suggesting these 3 people are sexist because they did something we all do every single day and being sanctimonious & bitter about it makes no sense. I understand Serious pointing it out, but why attack monsters? Monsters aren’t exactly the most anti-feminist people know. What’s the point of discourse if all we are going to do is attack each other?

          • I never suggested anyone was sexist, so there’s that. Making a sexist assumption does not equal being sexist, because as you point out, we all do it. And come one, seriously, why do people insist on re-ordering discussions in order to dismiss points? Any bitterness, any attack, didn’t come until after it was proposed that people would rather be lazy than know what they are talking about.

          • By the way I didn’t mean we are all sexist but that we make comments about people we don’t know. Unless maybe Mr ptsmith has some inside info on Gnwyneth Paltrow & “80% of monsters” which i don’t know about. You know what , I’ve tried to be nice to you and reach out before and all you do is cry. I am done with you PT.

          • NOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!

          • Ugh to all of this.

  25. As much as I hate Family Guy, I have to defend the fact that Brian has always been an an intellectual on the show. He’s written a column for the paper, done Opera criticism, and, generally, used to talk exactly like this in most episodes. In fact, he was usually more eloquent than this, and shared a similar view of the show and most of pop culture as Gabe does. I mean, this review falls pretty squarely into the field of “retarded” but if this were actually written by Seth MacFarlane as “Brian” in the early 2000′s, it would just be a legitamate review of the book.

  26. “Initially, the “tearjerker” ending was not planned, and series creator Seth MacFarlane had intended to close the episode with a series of gags, similar to many other episodes. Voice actress and staff writer Alex Borstein, along with Allison Adler, convinced MacFarlane that the episode would be far more effective if it were to end on a down note, eventually calling it the only episode to have “real human emotion”.

    Whoops, He’s the worst.

  27. Don’t you want kids reading books Gabe? “Did you read the review for that new Phillip Roth book by Popeye(Kids like Popeye right? He liked it fine…………….”

  28. #Birdie4NYTimesBookReview

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