Saturday, February 4, 2012

Not knowing your own ignorance

If these hard days of 2010-12 (career wise speaking … or lack thereof speaking …) have taught me anything, it is that humility should be traded on the stock market, because then someone would be profiting from the rejections I (and scores of others) continually suffer.

I wish others knew that. For instead, it seems that the internet has empowered many to offer opinions where they should not. As an example, I will recount how I have just finished all but the last chapter of an "interesting" book called El Narco.  I use the work interesting in the sense that it has when asked to judge a piece of artwork produced by one's friends, that one cannot possibly affirm, but also cannot criticize.

El Narco is an informational book, if you know nothing about the history of the drug industry in Mexico.  Which I freely admit that I do not.  So I think I learned a lot from that. But it is written by a newspaper journalist who was not ready to make the transition to non-journalistic writing.  His writing is really awful.  For a Brit, his English sucks.  Maybe he's spent too much time speaking Spanish, as it is not impossible that  such an immersion in the language and culture of another would adversely affect one's own.  For example: he uses the word "nut job" many times.  Too many times.  A word to be used in informal speech, but not a serious book.  I was really interested from reading the introduction, which I suspect is the portion of the book that he spent the most time on.  It suggests that the book will show that the increase of the violence and extent of the drug trade over the last few years is a result of the accession of a less corrupt federal government (i.e., not PRI).  I think he even went so far as to say that it was a result of the movement to a more meaningful democracy in Mexico.  But this was never really shown.

At any rate, I was preparing to write some comments on, which normally I save for books that I really like (I've only reviewed two, in fact).  But as I looked through the comments, particularly to find one's that shared my own sense of the faults of this book, I found the following.

And I was flabbergasted.  And I wonder how people like this come to think that their opinions about whatever might actually be of interest to others.  As you might imagine, this literary genius has even published his/her reviews on a blog.  Most are of cheap romance novels and the like.  Which, hell, someone has to review so why not "KY bunnies"!

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