Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yet Another Cry of Dismay

I was wondering, while reading this post on the Guardian Blog, when the term "tall poppies" might come up. Glad the blogger saved it for her stirring finale, where it confirms what anyone who's read any number of these earnest pleas for greater lenience knows: that it's impossible to criticise harsh criticism without resorting to amateur ad hominem psychologising. Constructive criticism has a time and place, for sure: before the book's published. "Kindness" on the other hand, is completely irrelevant, since it implies not saying what you think if what you think might hurt someone's feelings. Just maybe there's more wit to be found in the reviews of sharp-tongued critics because they're smarter and better writers than the namby-pamby feel-good crowd. It's been my experience that the most interesting praiseful reviews are often written by those reviewers willing and able to ruthlessly dismember a book.

1 comment:

brian palmu said...

Interesting that the negative reviewer of negative reviewers doesn't follow her own assertion that the latter's responsibility is to the readers of the piece as well as to potential readers of the book. The chief responsibility to those readers is honesty.

Most books are of little or no worth. Any equivocation isn't "being kind". It's disrespecting the reader.

"Hey, why can't we all just get along?" (That's my own fave ironically negative whine.)