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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Amazonian Review Power

I pretty much know I should never read the reviews or comments for anything, particularly something I care about. I remember how, after Hurricane Katrina had wiped out my home and sent my family reeling, I would see comments on news articles about how people had to stop complaining about it, or "they should know better," or, worst of all, that somehow poor people, families, and fishermen (who experienced the worst of it), "deserved it." [Actually, that's probably a good place for an aside--when some people heard that New Orleans was being destroyed by an act of God, they assumed the modern-day Sodom was being smote. In fact, the kind of debauchery that warrants the title "modern-day Sodom" is fairly limited, geographically, and that part of the city remained relatively unscathed. The suburbs (hot beds of sin!), lower income neighborhoods, and small towns supported by fishing industries suffered substantial damage.]

I also can't listen to radio call-in shows. I used to wake up to some kind of C-SPAN call-in show, during the 2008 election, and it made me want to tear the alarm clock to pieces--not a good feeling, especially when it's something you kind of hate anyway.

I know there's no shortage of opinions when it comes to people being hateful while hiding behind anonymity, but this is actually something else:

I frequently read Amazon product reviews. I figure it's part of my consumer due diligence for shopping online. I generally don't read them for books, because of the aforementioned hatefulness. I wanted to get some feedback on one book I had heard was "controversial," and I was pleasantly shocked by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the reviewers. It read more like genuine literary criticism (my least favorite class in college) than the rantings of crazy idiots. Anyway, in case you're curious--the reviews of Rob Bell's Love Wins are worth skimming.

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