In which I hate on Caroline Glick’s new book and send the Amazon editorial staff to their fainting couches.

Monday, March 24th, 2008

When I signed up for Library Thing Early Reviewer program a few months ago, one of the first books I received was Caroline Glick’s Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad. Coulda woulda shoulda done my research; had I known that Glick writes for the likes of The National Review, I wouldn’t have wasted my time on this piece of right-wing neocon trash. Lazy trash, at that: it’s just a collection of previously published columns, with no original content to speak of. Weak.

Anyway, Amazon has this gobawful new policy wherein they don’t allow customers to review products (books, at least) prior to the release date. Which is all fine and good, until you consider that publishers hand out advance reading copies of books to, you know, create some buzz. Like, before the release date. Whatevs.

So come March 20 (the release date), I submit my review, and…nothing. After emailing customer service, come to find out that they rejected my review because

your comments in large part focused on authors and their intentions, rather than reviewing the item itself.

Our guidelines do not allow discussions that criticize authors or their intentions. We encourage all voices to respond openly in our store, both positive and negative. However, we do exert some editorial control over our customer reviews.

As such, your review cannot be posted on in its current format. What I can suggest is that you resubmit your review, restricting your comments to critically analyzing the content of the item.

Oh mahs! I unleashed such slanderous bile as “Like most neoconservatives, Ms. Glick has yet to advance beyond Piaget’s concrete operational stage of cognitive development” and “she seems incapable of anything but dichotomous thinking”! I hope I didn’t drive our fearless heroine to the brink of despair with such uncouth language and personal attacks.

Fucking pearl clutchers.

Firstly, there are only three direct criticisms of Glick the person; the entire second paragraph, basically. The rest of the review either centers on quotations pulled directly from the book, the reasoning employed within, or arguments posited throughout. In other words, I reviewed the goddamn item.

Secondly, an author’s intentions in writing something, be it a book, a column, or a lowly blog post, most certainly are relevant to the discussion. Glick is a Zionist – she’s even received the Zionist Organization of America’s Ben Hecht award for Outstanding Journalism – so don’t tell me she doesn’t have a stake in the war on terror. Clearly an author’s intentions and biases color how they view, interpret and analyze a situation. All of which is totally fucking relevant.

And for thirds, what is a book if not a reflection of its author? Should I dismiss everything written in The Shackled Warrior as not truly representative of what Glick really thinks? She displays black-or-white thinking throughout a decade’s worth of columns, yet it’s a “personal attack” to call her a dichotomous thinker? It’s not as though I used racial, ethnic, or gender slurs – all of which Amazon would be correct in disallowing. Rather, I simply inferred that the personality exhibited in her book is indeed her personality. Silly me. Do you really mean to tell me that I can’t call Ann Coulter a right-wing hack based on the things she’s written and said? For reals?

If I offend her delicate sensibilities (or any neocon Amazonian, for that matter), she can always skewer me in the comments. I mean really, does she need Jeff Bezos to protect her from the mean peoples on the internets?

Besides, I want to know where the fuck Amazon gets off acting all offended by this relatively tame review (the most naughtiest word I used is probably “homosexual”, which is probably how my review got flagged to begin with) when they trade in atrocities such as shark fin soup and cockfighting mags. Wankers.

On the plus side, I hope this means that “neocon” is finally considered an insult. Because it is.

Anyway, being the compulsive personality I am, I revised the review so that the more global, “personal” “attacks” are now directed solely at the book and not the author herself. Let’s see if this salt brings the Amazon editorial staff out of their spell. If not, fuck ’em.

Both reviews are copied after the jump (the original appears first, followed by the revision). If the tittybaby version is ever accepted, I’ll link to it below.

The Shackled Warrior by Caroline Glick (2008)

(More below the fold…)