Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bad Reviews

There's a scathing review of a new restaurant in the paper today. The aesthete in me is laughing because the review is so funny and the restaurant sounds so ridiculous. The chef's wife in me is thinking, oh, those poor people. As S says, they are not having a good day.

I'm reading a stupid book. Actually, I'm leafing around in a stupid book, reading bits and pieces, hoping I can find something that will make it not quite so stupid as it seems. It's one of those anthologies, the kind where Jacquelyn Mitchard, Amy Bloom, and a bunch of thirtysomething women writers from Brooklyn say pretty much the same thing, with minute differences, about a shared topic. At first I was thinking I had to blog about how stupid this book was (I also had some perhaps thoughtful things to say about the nature of anthologies and the limitations of the writer's perspective on life). Then I wondered why I felt that need. Why not let stupid books lie?

S has never received a bad review. There have been negative comments in generally good reviews, and scathing attacks online by disgruntled customers, but overall, especially at this restaurant, he's been in the media's graces.

There are some books whose ideas are so wrongheaded that negative reviews are essential (obvious example: The Bell Curve). But doesn't it seem more humane to just leave the ordinary bad books, the ones that do no harm, alone to die their natural deaths? And what's the worst harm a bad restaurant can do? Serve someone a bad meal? And then they never go back, and they tell their friends not to go, and the restaurant dies its own natural death. Why publicize its badness?

If I were a benign influence on the universe, I would take this position, and I aspire to be a benign influence in the universe, really I do. Except I am a cranky, opinionated bitch who is offended by bad books, bad food, bad fashion choices, really, anything that grates at my sensibilities. I'm just going to try to remember that I don't always need to say so.

1 comment:

Phantom Scribbler said...

I couldn't resist looking the bad restaurant review up. It was awfully funny.