Double negation and the art of reviews

I would like to read more. I have piles of books that I’ve purchased over the past few years (many with bookmarks buried inside) and very few that I’ve actually read. Yet I am still looking for more to buy. Most recently I’ve been considering Al Franken’s liberal-minded Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them and possibly even Ann Coulter’s freak fest for a look at the other side (and a good laugh). For some odd reason I decided to read a few reviews. We all know my general take on Internet reviews, so I’m not sure why I thought this would be any different. I don’t see a way to link directly to the reviews on, so I’ll simply quote them.

First up comes this brilliant bit of logic which demonstrates the average Bush-supporter’s cranial capacity:

One StarA prime example of liberal “logic”, October 9, 2003
Reviewer: aztec276 from Fort Worth, Texas United States
The title “lying liar” implies that conservatives are telling the truth. Franken’s logically challenged viewpoint represents liberalism quite well.

Hey genius, lying liar isn’t a double negative. Neither lying nor liar negate another word. It is, in fact, redundant. Would a blinking turn signal mean that it’s off? This isn’t advanced logic here, and yet this moron (not too surprisingly from Texas) manages to botch his attack on Franken showing his true colors as an educationally-challenged redneck.

But this reviewer (armed with a Thesaurus) takes the cake:

One StarPablum for pampered neolibs, September 16, 2003
Reviewer: marylincoln (see more about me) from Springfield IL
The author is clearly diathetic, in this case premature prevarication, his brain addled by massive doses of silicic acid. Conservatives enjoy a Saturnian life, while liberals reckon with their isochronal bouts of nascent humanitarianism, moonstricken by Schadenfreude. I suspect that the author is an archanthropine and a budding Black Shirt. If not, then he should investigate the fistula to his brain.

Huh? What kind of a jackass would write like that? Probably a high school kid who thinks it sounds intelligent to merely insert big words wherever possible. The biggest problem here is that she picks the mainly obscure words that don’t even make sense if you know what they mean. The first sentence claims that Al Franken must have a genetic disorder predisposing himself to disease, in this case lying too soon. Is that an insult? If anything it shows what an idiot the reviewer is. The second sentence appears to be claiming that conservatives live in an ideal intellectual paradise, while liberals have difficulty dealing with their unfulfilled desires to help others while rejoicing in their suffering. I think. See isochronal is a temporal term describing equal time segments. It doesn’t make any sense where it is used. She also decides to insult him by calling him the names of a relatively unknown and unverified human ancestor and an obscure group of fascists. It’s all concluded with the only possible witty line comparing his mouth to an abnormal cavity that connects to a purportedly empty head.

For the record, I’m interested in what both books have to say, but I seriously doubt I’d support Al Franken much more than Ann Coulter. Franken has a way of going over the edge and putting his foot in his mouth when he really doesn’t have any evidence. His heart is in the right place, but he tends to jump in head first and hope no one notices. The two represent some of the biggest problems on both sides of the board, and I can tolerate Franken a bit more simply because we have somewhat similar views. But there is probably a good reason why a number of liberals gave his book 1 or 2 stars.