Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Just for the record, again

Hollywood, Interrupted is a bad, bad book.

At first glance, it’s a trash piece about Hollywood excess: an embarrassing, but still deliciously fluffy, read. But no: it’s really a prolonged right-wing rant about how Hollywood liberals are corrupting both themselves and us.

And it’s written in the standard tone of such rants: polemical, condescending towards the reader, and packed with “you know I’m right” rhetoric. Take this one as an example:

“Hollywood thinks it’s cute to glamorize illegitimacy. Hollywood doesn’t get it,” Vice President Dan Quayle railed in 1992. “It doesn’t help matters when prime time TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly symbolizes today’s intelligent, highly paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another lifestyle choice.” […]

Anyone with a smidgen of common sense knows that Quayle was, in essence, right.
So, if you disagree, you’re an idiot, right? Prejudicial language at its best.

Five pages later, this gem, in response to Angelina Jolie’s decision to raise her adopted child alone:

Why is there no concern whatsoever on placing a full-time male role model permanently in his life? Didn’t Anthony Perkin’s star turn as Norman Bates lay out the inevitable ending of that horror story line?

So their model for the “inevitable” consequences is Psycho — a work of fiction? Two inductive fallacies for the price of one: a hasty generalisation from an unrepresentative sample.

Regardless of the politics: this reasoning is so bad, and so gratuitously lazy, that it’s insulting. Do people really believe this crap?

Back to the library you go. And a mental note made. An Ann Coulter blurb on the back cover: a good marker of poor rhetoric within.


I can't remember if you're a sci-fi nut, but I recommend checking out "A Deepness in the Sky" by Vernor Vinge.

Absolutely cracking read, and probably the best sci-fi book I have read.