Remember back in the day, when Amazon first turned on their personal reviews feature, and people started commenting on books? Most people just gushed about their favorites. Some people wrote these admirable essays that were pretty thoughtful and you only passingly thought, "Wow, they've got some time on their hands..."
But now! It's become an underground forum of personal attacks and secret logrolling for author friends. It's all pretty entertaining. Here's a recent book that seems to have attracted it all.
We've thought about turning this feature on for the Atomic site...but why? It just takes up space, and frankly, none of the reviews are reliable.
And it makes me wonder what people think reviews are supposed to be these days? People seem to think nothing of just saying, "------- sucks. He's an asshole." as a valid critique. Is it related to the explosion of blogs and zines, where everyone fancies themselves a writer/critic? Or is it just that it's all out there, just more outlets for people to post their opinions and poison letters?
It's not as if critics since the beginning of time haven't had their own biases or axes to grind. I guess many a NYT Review boils down to, "-----sucks. He's an asshole."