Thursday, October 25, 2007

but seriously now

So this karfuffle clearly begs the question: should reviewers review books about cultures they're not intimately familiar with? If we say no, that leaves such a tidy excuse for mainstream media to ignore books that aren't mainstream. And it's a very hard line to draw in some cases.

I apparently wasn't clear enough in my last post, so let me state directly that I feel very uncomfortable about having unwittingly promoted a book that makes a serious and offensive error, and I have to take responsibility for not knowing enough to recognize that error. But I'm not entirely sure how.

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Blogger Alkelda the Gleeful bligged...

I share your frustration. There have been times when I've caught inconsistencies and times when I haven't. Debbie Reese implies that the SLJ reviewer was just as culpable as everyone else, and I wonder, should the reviewer have looked up every single item on the list? When I reviewed Peter Pan in Scarlet, I did note that the author was writing in a way that was evocative of Barrie's Peter Pan, but I didn't note in my review that yeah, the "Red Indians" show up again, so I was culpable there. While there is the push to be multicultural after so much literature has been predominantly white-toned it's bad to get it wrong.

At a certain point, I am tempted to throw in the towel. It's not a solution, though. I'd like to be able to talk to people who are experts in their fields and good resources for reviewers to talk to.

10/25/2007 5:15 PM  
Blogger web bligged...

In the case of a journal as influential on purchases as SLJ, I think you could argue that they have a responsiblity to asssign review books very carefully and that their reviewers should be particularly knowledgable.

I haven't read PPiS, but I'm guessing the author chose to be faithful to the source material. I can see that as a choice, albeit a difficult one.

10/25/2007 5:32 PM  
Blogger web bligged...

BTW, thank for alerting me to Debbie's post in the first place.

10/25/2007 5:33 PM  

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