Monday, May 04, 2009

The venom's on the fly: remember that horrible book and its review?

Okay, lemme be a little clearer than that. About a month ago (my sense of time's a little fuzzy), Professor John Harrigan wrote a (supposedly) pro-atheism book called The Professor and the Dominatrix (which, of course, I've commented on). I haven't read the whole thing, but I've caught enough snippets, excerpts and hands-on descriptions and reviews during my research around the web to enlighten me to the fact that I'll never want to read it, either. Long story short: it does exactly what we atheists like to pride ourselves on not doing in promoting our group as volatile, trollish and overall damningly incoherent and stupid.

Anyway, the point of this is that I also came across, via Pharyngula, a deliciously accurate and almost sadistically cutting review of this tripe at Blag Hag, an interesting little blog which I've yet to work my way around, and let's just say Jennifer (aka the reviewer) didn't hold any punches. (Though she didn't think it would appear on Pharyngula, either, knowing what consequences that has on the Internetz.) It wasn't any more cruel or brazen than it should've been – hell, I would've been worse, probably, had I forced myself to read through the entire pile of crap – and ... well, the Professor didn't like it.

Not one bit. He hated it, enough to compose another bit of overstretched logorrhea in the form of an eMail "response", which of course he then sent out to anyone who could possibly give a shit. Let's just say he wasn't too nice, either, but frankly, that's where the seriousness of one's reaction to his eMail ends. From then on, it's nothing more than plain disbelief and frank hilarity at just how pathetic his reply is, ranging from picking the tiniest possible nits in Jennifer's review, to accusing her of basically being a "rabid feminist", and even name-dropping in the sense of decrying how she'd shat on a book that was approved and enjoyed by some high-ranking editor, the name of which I don't really care enough to recall. Amazing.

It's already been dissected, with great pleasure I'm sure, at Blag Hag, so you can check it out there. Truly, how some people take the time to write up dictionaries just to confront a minor problem is staggering. Particularly how an aging professor could get so dang bent over one single negative book review from a 20-something college student.

Of course, it's not every day a book review's author gets contacted by the author of the book themselves, so Jennifer obliged and sent a personal reply to the criticism for her criticism. (Hmm ... criticizing the criticism to some other criticism ... Okay, I'm officially lost in a logical loop here.) While she stood her ground and kept to her guns about how horrible the book itself was and how poorly Harrigan's ideas were expressed, she showed remarkable diplomacy and respect, even what could be called courtesy, towards the rank pile of blabbering crap that comprised Harrigan's response, letting him know that he simply failed at expressing his ideas well and that she certainly never meant to insult him personally. (That's what I gathered, at least.)

Well, the professor apparently didn't like that, either. He's sent her another, mercifully much shorter, reply, in which the snark and condescension just rises, and by now I do think Jennifer's had enough of forcing herself to be polite to this old ass. "Snarky eMail time"? Ooh, yes.

Some people really just need to grow a pair and learn to take criticism without crawling into a little ball like a severely-overgrown baby. If J.K. Rowling stopped everything each time she received negative feedback for her books, Jesus Christ, she'd be 101 by the time she finished addressing the criticism to her first book alone. And then she'd have six others, along with an entire franchise. Owch.

Anyway, to close this: Jennifer may be too diplomatic to unleash her dogs at Professor Harrigan, but being a reckless bored and slightly insane teenager, I ain't. So: Harrigan, you're an old shriveled prune with less writing talent than a pair of old socks, less maturity and diplomacy than my brother (and trust me, if you know him, that would seriously hurt), and overall seriously need to get your head out of your arse and learn to shut up and take criticism and feedback when you get it. Not everyone's gonna like what you write, despite your shifty claims to being prepared to the contrary, and if you can't accept that without going flying off the metaphorical handle every time someone writes stuff that you don't agree with or that even offends you, you've seriously chosen the wrong career. Wrong society. Wrong species, while I'm at it.

... And that's all for now because Leno's about to start.

(Mean enough?)

(via Blag Hag)


Post a Comment

You can post any sort of feedback or questions you like, just as long as you abide by the rules detailed in the About section. =)