800 words, nothing too harsh
Nicholas Beale notes on his blog, ‘Quite a favourable review in the FT by Julian Baggini.’ The funny thing about that is that Julian said in his Talking Philosophy post that the FT rejected his first two drafts partly because they were ‘not sufficiently even-handed’ – which, when you compare the review to the TP post, clearly means not favourable enough. Yes it’s quite a favourable review in the FT, because the FT demanded a quite favourable review.
That’s funny in light of Beale’s post but it’s annoying in light of reality and justice. It’s annoying that media outlets commission reviews and then tell the reviewer what to say. It’s annoying that this book by Polkinghorne and Beale got a better review than it would have without FT nudging, especially in light of what we have seen of Beale’s way with an argument. I must be naïve, I thought reviews in responsible newspapers and magazines were supposed to be what the reviewer actually thought, not what the editors specified. I thought the reviewers were supposed to say what they found, not find what the editors told them to find in advance. Another illusion shattered.