Sunday, February 17, 2013

When Is Reviewing an Unread Book Okay?

When it's done by somebody who criticizes others for doing exactly the same thing he's doing.
"... it is amusing that the author of this blog entry admits he hasn’t read the book …  and I think you can judge for yourself someone who assesses a book he hasn’t even read."  ~Brooks D. Simpson, Crossroads Blog, February 17, 2013
Judge for myself? You bet I can...

I note the following "assessments" made by Brooks Simpson about my books (and, not incidentally, about me), which "he hasn't even read...."
*Observing the color of the cast of characters in Connie’s writing (which she admitted, because I haven’t read what she’s written … I’ve just read what she writes about what she has written) is just that: an observation. That you may take it as a criticism is your business. However, it is a bit of a stretch to say one is writing “pro-southern” literature if the South one imagines lacks people of color.
(Note: Not a good idea to judge a book by its cover or your own bigotry.
Men as victims, falsely accused. Evil feminists. In Chastain’s fictional world, women are the protagonists, men simply objects upon which women project much (good or evil). And there’s a strong sexual undercurrent in them, sometimes veering toward the strange, as in the oft-promised Sweet Southern Boys.
(Note: in Southern Man, Troy Stevenson -- a man, a real man, not a formulaic romance hero -- is the protagonist, the male lead, the real hero, the focus, the central element and the story's raison d'etre, from Prologue to Epilogue...)
No wonder your “books” have not captured the imagination of the Southern heritage folks. They’re simply not very good.
As for your writings... Perhaps you aren’t able to keep track of your ceaseless efforts to self-promote your self-published novels, which tend toward the trashy. appears that Ms. Chastain is not above showing us that she’s quite familiar with some sexually suggestive sites (which may explain some of the passages in her publications).
Apparently segregation (or outright exclusion) reigns supreme in her fictional world, too....
*(Read more about the deceit-creep of his "observations" about my characters, here: The Anti-Racist Smear MentalityI've also blogged about his  "assessments" of my books, which he hasn't read, here: Bigotry Against White Southerners On Display.)

It's interesting that people who have read my books do very different "assessments" of them. Of course, the readers of my novels tend to be Christians, or people whose worldview has been shaped by Christianity. I suspect -- no, I'm convinced -- that makes a world of difference...

Although there are only a few reviews of my books posted at, none of them are negative or overly critical.  I've also been contacted directly by people who've read my books, and who had very positive things to say about them.

Simpson's implication that sexually suggestive websites have influenced my stories, and his statement that my novels "tend to be trashy" makes me wonder if he considers sex to be dirty or trashy. Of course, it can be --  but that doesn't mean any novel with sexual themes is trashy.

Among other things, Southern Man is an indictment of the sexual revolution, a fictional look at the destructiveness it rained down on individuals and the culture. Another theme of the story is how sexual fidelity strengthens and sweetens marriage.

As for trashy -- yes, a false accusation can trash a man's reputation ... and, in fact, his whole life -- but I don't think that what Simpson meant. One wonders if he rooted for Mike Nifong, or if he agrees with feminist Catherine Comins, who argued (in Time Magazine in 2001) that men who are unjustly accused can sometimes gain from the experience.
"They have a lot of pain, but it is not a pain that I would necessarily have spared them. I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration. 'How do I see women?' 'If I didn't violate her, could I have?' 'Do I have the potential to do to her what they say I did?' Those are good questions."
Bizarre reasoning, isn't it? I mean, if men can "gain" from the hell of false accusation which initiates a process of self-exploration, maybe the entire male sex would benefit from being dragged through the false-accusation nightmare. Why go through the trouble of other methods of self-exploration -- keeping a journal, assessing your strengths and weaknesses, learning new skills, developing others?  Just get yourself falsely accused of rape or sexual harassment and reach new heights of spiritual awareness and human potential...

But if this bizarre method is actually beneficial, who is to say rape isn't an experience a woman can sometimes gain from?
Yes, they have a lot of pain, but is it pain they should necessarily be spared, if, ideally, it starts a process of self-exploration? 'Did I bring this on myself? Did I ask for it? Or is it simple get-evenism?' Those are good questions.
For the irony impaired, the comment above is irony. Before you start moon-baying, teeth-gnashing, throwing ashes on your head and screeching to every one that Connie Chastain says women can benefit from being raped, look up irony at   That is the difference between my statement and Comin's. Mine is irony, hers is not.

In any case, over the upcoming days and weeks, I'll be blogging at 180 Degrees True South (which is undergoing a gradual revamping) about the "trashiness" of my novels -- for those who are interested in the truth....
Comp image copyright by F1 Online.

1 comment :

  1. A psychologist would have a great time with Brooks Simpson, particularly his passive-aggressive jabs at individuals, show his lack or moral character on display.


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