brutal book review

From Nina Strohminger’s review of philosopher Colin McGinn’s book on The Meaning of Disgust. From the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticsm:

In disgust research, there is shit, and then there is bullshit. Colin McGinn’s book belongs to the latter category.

It gets better:

The sad fact is the reader would learn more about disgust by reading Mad magazine.

For the rest of us—those who actually care about disgust, or aesthetic emotions, or scholarship at all— the book is bound to disappoint. “Who can deny the mood-destroying effect of an errant flatus just at the moment of erotic fervor?” he writes. McGinn’s book is just such a flatus, threatening to spoil an exciting intellectual moment for the rest of us. Sometimes with books, as with farts, it’s better to just hold it in.

Nina, don’t damage the fine reputation of Mad magazine.

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Written by fabiorojas

May 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

Posted in academia, fabio, philosophy

4 Responses

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  1. Breathtaking!



    May 10, 2012 at 12:30 am

  2. That review is amazing! I saw it first on Gelman’s blog. It approaches perfection.



    May 10, 2012 at 1:22 am

  3. She’s my hero.



    May 10, 2012 at 1:53 am

  4. Ummm, am I the only one who finds her review over-snarky and affected? I get the quiver of schadenfreude too when I read a harsh-ass book review (Abbot–> Wacquant, Fischer–>Sennett and Sica–> Alexander come to mind) but really, this is the heroic, breathtaking, perfect discourse we aspire to?

    Look, there are some very good, searching, substantive criticisms in what she wrote, IF you are approaching it from her social-scientific idiom (i.e., experimental, quasi-evolutionarily derived search for mechanisms) rather than the discursive, lit-crit angle McGinn seems to be taking (having not read the book). But Strohminger never seems to acknowledge the assumptions she herself is making, despite the fact her review was published in a journal called “The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.” Anyway, sentences like the one about women and jewelry are clearly stupid, but did that really need to be pointed out in a way that seems equally grandiloquent and posturing?



    May 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

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