You Do Not Want PJ O'Rourke to Review Your Book
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
In the Sunday NY Times Book Review, the conservative satirist PJ O'Rourke reviews Taylor Clark's Starbucked, an investigative and sociological look at the rise of America's most prominent coffee chain.
For Clark (a fellow Dartmouth grad) and contributor to an Oregon alternative weekly, a review at the NY Times is the much hoped for catalyst to gain attention and acclaim for his first book. Unfortunately, O'Rourke has other ideas. In the hands of the skilled satirist, the review itself emerges as much better than the book and O'Rourke lets you know it.
Back in June, I wrote about the editorial process in choosing reviews at the NY Times. In this case, Clark ends up on the losing side of both random and systematic bias.
The full review is a must read and will be full of at least a half dozen "laugh out louds," but for a taste, consider below how O'Rourke ends the essay:
I never came to like "Starbucked." But I grew very fond of its writer. Most books about social and business phenomena give the reader something to think about. This book gave the author something to think about. Reading "Starbucked" produced an odd reversal of roles and left me, at least, feeling less like a student of the subject than a teacher. Not that I mean to instruct Clark. But I experienced the pleasure a teacher must feel when he watches a kid with promise outgrowing the vagaries and muddles of immaturity (and the jitters of too many coffee-fueled all-nighters) and coming into his own as a young man of learning, reason and sense.
I lift a cup -- of something stronger than Frappuccino -- to you, Taylor Clark. Now go tackle Microsoft.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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