Why Bother To Read Books Before Reviewing Them?

Here’s some, shall we say, flexible thinking in action. Someone (the name sounds male so I’ll decide it is male, in order not to have to say s/he, which I do not like to say) admitting in the first words of a ‘review’ that he has not read the book he is reviewing, then blithely and absent-mindedly proceeding to discuss said book quite as if he had indeed read it and taken detailed notes. I can tell you he hadn’t and hasn’t and didn’t, though, because everything he says about it is flat wrong, and I know that on account of I co-wrote the book.

Behold his artless frankness at the beginning –

I can imagine, and i’ve heard from friends that this is a good and funny read if you’re coming from the same camp as the authors (which i guess much of the general public will), but the (apparently witty) attacks on the “fashionable lunatics” of modern philosophy and religious believers are as far is it goes.

There you go. He can imagine, and he’s heard from friends, but he doesn’t know. The ‘attacks’ are ‘apparently’ witty but he doesn’t know that from personal knowledge. Not until the next sentence, when suddenly he does know all about it.

Look at them! They’re saying things which we don’t seem like intuitive common sense! They must be idiots! Ho ho.

Right. That’s just what Why Truth Matters is like. That’s all we do: we just point and laugh. Spot on.

It’s clear neither of the authors really understand post-modern philosophy, particularly its effect on ethics, and worse the book lumps together everything from art to history that anybody might have described as post modern into a single post modern opinion, so it can ridicule them all at the same time, apparently failing to realise the extremely wide range of phenomena that it covers.

Yup, that’s right, that’s an accurate description all right, we lump together everything from art to history and then ridicule the whole stew; we have no clue about the wide range of whatnots. What we did is we found a couple of columns by George Will and just kind of riffed on them, and let it go at that.

Okay, so, speaking of the effect of ‘post-modern philosophy’ on ethics, this Mojo fella has an interesting idea of ethics. He apparently considers it ethical to tell a pack of flat, brazen lies about a book he hasn’t read in hopes of damaging its chances because he doesn’t like what he thinks he knows (but doesn’t) about the contents. Fortunately, he’s also stupid enough to say he hasn’t read it and only then set about the lying. Perhaps that’s the effect of ‘postmodern philosphy’ on the intellect.

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