November 10, 2009
On reviewingMoby looks at a dust up over a review in which it’s become apparent that teh reviewer’s political agenda and personal disagreement with the reviewed author was driving the substance of the piece. Luckily, Moby turns this from a simple “FIGHT! FIGHT!” piece into a thoughtful bit about the nature of how reviews are, and should be, assigned and executed.
In an age where more and more readers are writing subjective reviews on their blogs, on Amazon and elsewhere, we must be able to look to professional reviewers and expect an objective opinion. That said, all reviews are at some level a matter of taste and preference. But that doesn’t excuse Packer’s review, which seemed to me to be a review of Danner himself rather than the book Packer was supposed to evaluate. After reading his piece, I now know more about the man behind the book than I do about the book itself.
The comment stream here is, well, I think it speaks for itself. Apparently in other countries people should care about the biases of reviewers...not in this country where people get the opportunity over and over again to tear apart work they don't like...hilarious.
PS Don't let these guys shift the discussion to the simplistic question of negative reviewing or not. That's a red herring. The issue is not at all about negative or positive reviewing, not at all. In fact I think I'm looking for reviews with a lot more bite than these guys can offer. I have a lot more to say about this, but not just yet. All I can say for now is that the binary of negative positive is a rhetorical trap. It's not the point at all. How convenient it has been to keep the discourse circling in that little rhetorical cesspool.
I reject those simplistic terms and all the defensive posturing that comes with it.