Friday, April 1, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

You know, I was having a real block about this post. I wanted to really think outside the box. Instead I was provided with perfect ranting material. Please forgive me for the complete departure from all knitting/crochet themes for a moment and let us roast a fool this April Fool's Day.

I have always loved the musical My Fair Lady and one of my favorite songs has always been this one:

And I'm dreadfully afraid we have another murderer of the English tongue on our hands. This one knows how to speak it well enough, but obviously has a few things left to learn.

WANTED: Jacqueline Howett
FOR THE CRIMES OF: Syntactical Sedition and Ravaging on Reviewers
Please peruse for this for full story, the comments section is where it all happens.

Where do I start?

Here is one of the sentences that was pointed out as being poorly written:
"Don and Katy watched hypnotically Gino place more coffees out at another table with supreme balance."

What I think the author was trying to express: Don and Katy are watching Gino, who is a very hypnotic person to watch, use his superior balance skill to serve coffee at a table nearby.

Actual meaning of the words in her chosen placement: Don and Katy are watching Hypnotically Gino (is this a magic act?) place more coffees out at another table with Supreme Balance (can't tell if Supreme Balance is seated at the table or helping Hypnotically Gino, it might be a double act).

How the sentence might have been better constructed: Don and Katy watched Gino hypnotically serve more coffee at another table.
Don and Katy watched the hypnotic Gino serve more coffee at another table.

WHY these sentences are better: If "hypnotically" is an adjective to describe Gino, it should be in front of his name as in the second sentence. If it's an adverb describing his service of the coffee, it needs to be with the verb as in the first sentence. Furthermore, trying to cram Gino's supreme balance skills in with his hypnotic coffee serving skills is a little too much. I would break it off into it's own sentence to make things more concise and understandable.

And you know what J. Howett had to say about that?
"Look AL, I'm not in the mood for playing snake with you, what I read above has no flaws. My writing is fine."

Yeah, you're writing is just fine. Not great, not stellar, fine. Fine may sell and get you the profit you want, but it does not make for great literature. She continues to abuse the reviewer calling his blog a snake pit and demanding he take the review down because it was "just considered abuse."

No sweetie, it's called a review. There are good ones, and bad ones, and even bland neutral ones. When someone reviews a book, they read it and talk about what they liked and didn't like. They do not wipe your ass with spun sugar. That's why you take the good ones and put them in a scrapbook and put the bad ones in the recycling bin. Privately. Without making a public fool of yourself.

Now here's my review:
I haven't read the book. I will never read the book. If anyone ever asks me to recommend them a good author, I'll tell them all about the likes of Terry Pratchett and Elizabeth Gilbert and all my other favorites, but I will never tell them about J. Howett. If anyone ever asks for a funny story about how someone made a total fool of themselves, I'll definitely tell them all about the time there was this lady who thought she was God's gift to writing.

J - Don't stop writing, don't stop learning, don't stop expanding your knowledge and your craft. Please do learn to control yourself where others can see you (and quote you, and archive you) and please do take the good and the bad with a graceful smile and a grain of salt.


  1. Some people need more than a grain--they need the whole darn salt mine. Thanks, this was amusing!

  2. I have no knowledge of Jacqueline Howett whatsoever, but that first sentence is somewhat mutilated.

    You are right about handling critisism. It may not be easy, but to rise above it is always the best way to handle it on the internet.