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Misleading movie and book reviews...

Kathy Sierra
Cowgirl and Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 10, 2002
Posts: 1572
We all know that review quotes are often taken out of context... like a movie ad might say:
"... amazing..."
Yet the full quote was something like, "It's amazing that such a good cast could make such a horrible movie..."
But what about the quotes that are *supposed* to mean something good. Do they really?
For example, what does the classic, "Leaves you wanting more..." really mean?
I wonder if clever authors, when asked to quote on someone else's book that they do NOT like, use word play to say what they REALLY mean while making it sound somehow OK...
Some of the ones I've seen that look good on the surface but at second glance might not be so good are:
(with what I imagine might be the author's *true* thougts in parens)
"Best first novel on this subject this year." (and only novel on this subject this year, and with luck, any year in the future)
"Bone-chilling." (sucks the life essence out of you)
"An important message." (note to authors: never use this plot or storyline ever again)
"In the tradition of <insert author you've never heard of>"
(and since that author pretty much SUCKED...)
So what do YOU think the reviewer means when he/she says:
"I couldn't get to sleep after reading it."
__________________________________________
"Truly memorable."

__________________________________________
"Like a rollercoaster!"

__________________________________________
"You'll never be the same!"

------------------------------------
Look at some of the novels you have handy. Or computer books and see if you can imagine something other than what the publisher intended.
-Kathy
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24185
    
  34

I've been pressured into writing personal letters of recommendation that I'd rather not write. No-one wants to write a negative letter to someone's prospective employer, but you don't want to praise someone unpraiseworthy, either. One way out is to say
"I just can't say enough good things about Susie!"


[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
"Paulos gives (what he calls a charming) example of an ambiguous letter that may have been written by a meek professor who couldn't turn down an importunate request for a recommendation:
You write to ask me for my opinion of X, who has applied for a position in your department. I cannot recommend him too highly nor say enough good things about him. There is no other student of mine with whom I can adequately compare him. His thesis is the sort of work you don't expect to see nowadays and in it he has clearly demonstrated his complete capabilities. The amount of material he knows will surprise you. You will indeed be fortunate if you can get him to work for you."
Deliberate Ambiguities


Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Kathy Sierra
Cowgirl and Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 10, 2002
Posts: 1572
Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:
"I just can't say enough good things about Susie!"

I like that one.
There was an old Saturday Night Live where Dan Akroyd, I think, was leaving someone else in charge of a nuclear power plant for the weekend, and he leaves saying, "And remember... you can never have too much water in the reactor."
And the guy left behind agonizes over what he meant..."Does he mean never as in, 'You can never have too much of Aunt Sally's delicious cherry pie' or does he mean never as in 'You can NEVER have too much of that sushi--you'll be sick for a week.'"
You can always say, "I'd like to recommend her."
(but don't)
Tony Alicea
Desperado
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 3222
    
    5
Misleading is one thing, completely invented, together with the name of the "critic", another...
About a year ago one of the network news reporters decided to research the who and where of glowing "comments" by "critics" about B-grade movies just coming out.
It turned out that about two or three of them were invented by (in this case) Sony pictures right out of thin air. The "critics" and their comments! Pure fiction!
When confronted, they admitted it and promised not to do it again. :roll:
Alan Labout
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 25, 2003
Posts: 100
"...a thought-provoking book!"
Okay, but which thought did it provoke?
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8815
    
    5
"This book / movie / whatever, fills a much needed gap"


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Alan: Okay, but which thought did it provoke?
"Boys, this book really sucks!"
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
I just calculated that 83% of participants of this thread are themselves authors!
This thread is officially nominated for "most densely authors-populated thread" award.
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Sheriff

Joined: Jun 27, 2002
Posts: 4118
That's a roller coaster ride of an observation, Map!
M


Java Regular Expressions
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
85,7%!
Alan Labout
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 25, 2003
Posts: 100
Just saw another one. Here the reviewer referred to the author as:
"a unique talent...(who) has a voice all her own!"
Alan
Alan Labout
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 25, 2003
Posts: 100
Another example of blurb-speak (Is it me or is the publishing industry infested with them?):
This book..."doles out amazement and delight in equal measure."

That is to say, sparingly?

Alan
 
permaculture playing cards
 
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