November 27, 2013

A rash of 1-star reviews for Scott Walker's book "Unintimidated."

At Amazon. Samples:

1. "Wow, this is not a book. it is a 'selfie' by Scott Walker. He has tanked Wisconsin with his corrupt leadership and this book is so poorly written, I'd give it a zero if I could. Don't waist [sic] your money on this advertisement."

2. "This book is a piece of crap written by the most self-serving narcissist to ever come down the pike. This book should be filed under fiction on the shelves....."

3. "Gah. What a terrible person. There should be a zero stars option. Good god. The man is a narcissist....."

4. "Dear dear Scooter's sad attempt to make himself feel important. Scott walkers lies and unabashed disrespect for the state of Wisconsin and the union workers is a waste of your time and money. Shouldn't he be writing a book on 'How to snake your way into Politics'?"

5. "Written by a 10th grader doing their first 'paper.' that sums up the writing style and lack of references. The introduction should have had at least 50-60 references. Non-fiction requires extensive referencing for credibility. Therefore, this book lacks credibility because it is not properly referenced. As I was reading it, I kept waiting for the hallelujah choruses to break out through my Kindle. via the writing it is abundantly clear that the author hates blue collar workers and would like to open sweat shops."

6. "Governor Walker is completely off the deep end! He wrote: 'In other words, if you're a teacher, police officer, fire fighter, snow plow driver or any other kind public servant, you're not only lazy, overpaid and corrupt, but you're also not a church goer... in fact, you're probably a damn Muslim!'--There is so much wrong with this statement I don't even know where to begin...."

Well, you might begin by Googling that quote to find out if Governor Walker really did write that. I found that quote at Uppity Wisconsin/Progressive News from the Cheddarsphere, which was humorously paraphrasing a list of "Top Ten Ways to tell if you Might be a Member of a public sector union." The list of "Top Ten Ways" really does appear in the book. It was a David-Letterman-style comic list that had appeared in The Daily Caller, and Walker tells of reading it to his "nervous" staff to "lighten the mood" during the 2011 protests.  He doesn't restate the list with a punchline — that's Uppity Wisconsin's doing. He just says: "It did the trick, putting them at ease again."

The list does include the item "4. You know by having a copy of the Holy Koran on your desk your job is 100% safe." Why is that supposed to be funny? Why does it belong with things like "2. You have a Democratic congressman’s lips permanently attached to your butt"? I mean, I see how it would belong on a list with the title "Top Ten 'Jokes' that Prove The Daily Caller Should Not Attempt Humor." But other than that.... We can see that Walker thought it was funny enough to use to cheer up the staff and to tell us about in the book, but let's not substitute the Walker-hater's paraphrase!

ADDED: There are 5-star reviews too, but more than twice as many 1-star reviews. Guess how many 4-, 3-, and 2-star reviews? Right: almost none. The current tally:
5 star: 48
4 star: 3
3 star: 1
2 star: 2
1 star: 133
I'd like to see the numbers on how many of these people actually read the book, but then, in some ways a book like this isn't designed to be read. It's designed to be an occasion for interviews about the book and articles that cherry pick excerpts from the book. I'm actually reading the book myself... in large part because I'm a writer who is looking for things to pick and excerpt.

AND: By the way, Uppity Wisconsin's post title — "Walker 'Joke': Teachers, Public Servants are Lazy, Overpaid Heathens" — inadvertently insults Muslims. Neither The Daily Caller nor Scott Walker referred to Muslims as "Heathens." That's Uppity Wisconsin's term, and it is an insult.

ALSO: The (unlinkable) OED gives as the first definition of the noun "heathen": "One who holds a religious belief which is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim; a pagan." And for the adjective: "Of an individual or people: holding religious beliefs of a sort that are considered unenlightened, now esp. ones of a primitive or polytheistic nature; spec. not of the Christian, Jewish, or Muslim faiths."

From the historical quotes, my favorites:
1726 Swift Gulliver II. iii. i. 6, I was sorry to find more Mercy in a Heathen, than in a Brother Christian.
1852 H. B. Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin II. xxviii. 139 It would certainly be a greater self-denial to receive heathen among us, than to send missionaries to them.

55 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Can a slew of negative yelp reviews be far behind?

Come on Union Members! Get busy!

Here's a template: I had such nice expectations of the Capitol, but then I saw the jack-booted thugs that run the place under direct orders from the Koch Brothers and their college-dropout lackey Scott Walker.

Jeff said...

Another example of those on the left who don't just disagree with those on the right. Those on the left must find that those they disagree with are immoral, selfish, and evil incarnate.

Phil 3:14 said...

Well, you must admit, he didn't go to Harvard.

Dan from Madison said...

Good Lord. I just spent ten minutes reading a bunch of those "reviews". I really do feel sorry for those folks. Clearly none of them have anything to say about the book, nor have read it. Not only that, many of them have the time and stones to attack those giving the book a good review. Shame indeed.

Curious George said...

Sounds like the free wifi is back on at garage's local cafe.

Bob said...

Amazon is just another battlefield in the war between Left and Right in this country, the 1-and 5-star reviews the chosen weapons.

Beta Rube said...

If only Scott had a black marxist anti-colonial father who'd abandoned him as a small child. Best seller baby!

campy said...

the most self-serving narcissist to ever come down the pike

Hilarious, considering these micro-brains probably admire Obama.

gerry said...

Wisconsin is tanking? Whoda thought?

Marshal said...

I'd like to see the numbers on how many of these people actually read the book

I'd like to see comparable numbers for Obama and other leftist political books.

And Althouse has a regular commenter who did exactly this to another commenter's book. Perhaps she'll share whether she actually read the book and what motivated her.

PB Reader said...

If only there were a way to ensure that reviewers actually read the book.

I wonder how many people bought Obama's book and actually read it, or merely set it out on their coffee table?

Levi Starks said...

Why he's practically Ayn Rand....

The Drill SGT said...

What amazon needs is a filter for "verified purchaser"

I noticed the four stars review ybought and te one stars had not

betamax3000 said...

Book.
Reviewers.
Reviewer of reviewers.
Reviewer of reviewers is reviewed.
Reviewers of reviewer-reviewer are reviewed.
Book written to review this dynamic.
Repeat.

Illuninati said...

Althouse said:
"The list does include the item "4. You know by having a copy of the Holy Koran on your desk your job is 100% safe." Why is that supposed to be funny?"

You're right. It isn't funny. The Democrats love affair with Islam is far too dangerous to be funny.

Is it true? Would a copy of the Koran on the desk protect a marginal employee? My brother has been an active member of the SEIU in California for many years. Based on our conversations over the years, I'd say definitely true.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Packing discussion groups is much like the one-star tactic employed by union foot soldiers in this book review. We see it in comments to Seattle Times articles, where the OFA true believers suddenly sign up (you can tell by their low comment numbers) and spout the Party line, or introduce red herrings and personal insults against non-leftist commenters.

Rusty said...

That was interesting Gerry. Thanks.

It's good to see liberals finally learning that economic growth is based on increased confidence in the private sector. A rising tide does lift all boats.

Writ Small said...

Union hate does not negatively affect moderates and energizes conservatives. Win win win.

Peter said...

It's generally true that any book with significant political content will get negative reviews that appear to be based solely on its perceived politics and not at all on how well the political content is presented. Sorta like the revision wars on Wikipedia.

BUT it might be a minor improvement if Amazon asked reviewers, "Have you read this book carefully and completely?" and required an affirmative answer before allowing the reviewer to continue.

(No doubt a short quiz on the book's content would be even better, but who would create them?)

RecChief said...

hmm looks like astroturfed projection.

good thing I rarely read reviews.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Ignoring Major Hasan or other Muslims--or anyone else--who openly want to kill Americans is absurd and funny.

Mark Steyn has made numerous hillarious jokes about topics like this. The Daily Caller was probably using their joke as a reference to actual humor via wit. The illusion of humor via references is the funniest most people can be most of the time.

It is about politically correct fear in our culture. Many people would rather die by a bomb (e.g. Boston Bombing Muslims who were overlooked by cops when their "friends" were beheaded on Sept. 11; it was blamed on weed and the top cops said the victims had it coming for smoking marijuana. In the end they had it coming by being "friends" with psychopathic killers egged on by leftists and their religion.) or gunfire than kill their career by observing and telling the truth in an unbiased manner.

Sorry for my shitty writing I am hurried.

Michael K said...

Amazon has had this problem for years. When I reviewed Sarah Palin's book, from a preorder copy, it took four days for my review (positive) to appear while one star reviews from non-purchasers were up the first day. One problem s that Amazon has a bunch of minimum wage Seattle lefties working there. They hacked a book cover a few years ago,. I forget which one.

However, I wrote a three star review of a Bill O'Reilly book (Killing Lincoln) that my left wing daughter had given me for Christmas. I got lots of angry comments accusing me of not having read it. The lunacy can be bipartisan. I haven't read his other books because the Lincoln book, supposedly history, had lots of invented conversations in it. They call that fiction.

Renee said...

Even though we all know the one star reviews is just political spam, it does affect Amazon's algorithm. It does do damage.

Ralph Hyatt said...

Online reviews by people you don't know are useless.

In this case it is obvious that the reviewers (five and one stars) have an agenda, but that is not always the case.

There is no way to know if the reviewer has an ulterior motive.

And even if they don't, how do you know that their priorities match yours?

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Unusual bifurcated spread. Says a lot.

Birches said...

@ Curious George

lol

Seriously, who has the time to write fake reviews? Do you really hate someone that much? Talking politics is one thing; seeking out someone's book to disparage it in completely different territory.

I bet most of those 1 star reviews didn't even come from Wisconsin. (my money's on California and DC area--maybe Michigan too).

elkh1 said...

"Wow, this is not a book. it is a 'selfie' by Scott Walker...." so much inferior to the autobiographies written by our brilliant Dear Leader to introduce himself to us, the undeserving masses. Those are the books that you should internalize and will give you peace when right wingers attack us.

Carnifex said...

I figure most autobiographers are narcissist by definition. So the only ones I actually read are those done by admitted narcissist, actors.

The rest I put down as "I had some trouble in my life"

As John McClain famously sez, "Welcome to the party, pal."

lemondog said...

Impressive. Book published Nov 19, 2013 and already 190 reviews.

chuck said...

I usually go to the three star reviews. They tend to be the most serious and are most likely to give me the information I want before a purchase. So far, there is just one three star review...

elkh1 said...

Fake workers to protest Walmart, fake readers to write fake reviews, fake enrollees to boost Obamacare, fake journalists (aka journolistas) to sing his praise, are all fake jobs "created" for progressives to fake the employment number. They are all covered by earned income credits, welfare and disability checks, and free Obamacare premiums.

MadisonMan said...

it does affect Amazon's algorithm. It does do damage.

Oh come on. Does anyone decide not to purchase a book based on some stranger's opinion?

Admittedly, I get all my books at the library.

Original Mike said...

"Wow, this is not a book. it is a 'selfie' by Scott Walker. He has tanked Wisconsin with his corrupt leadership..."

Personally, I don't feel tanked. It's early in the day, however.

Original Mike said...

"Does anyone decide not to purchase a book based on some stranger's opinion?"

I do. I read the reviews. But then, I'm almost always buying science books, so the reviews often have concrete information on the contents.

Michael K said...

"There is no way to know if the reviewer has an ulterior motive. "

You look at the reviewer's other reviews. If there are none, or as in one case, are all old obscure union books, you know the answer.

I ordered the book after glancing at some of the reviews.

Henry said...

I don't suppose any of those one star reviews are of the "I ordered it and FedEx left the package in the rain" variety.

Alcuria said...

Just a quick look through the reviews and I noted that many of them are NOT showing "Amazon Verified Purchase".

I usually skip over reviews where the reviewer has not purchased the product in the Amazon network. I've often pondered why Amazon does not make that a requirement (purchasing in their network) in order to submit a review.

garage mahal said...

I ordered the book after glancing at some of the reviews

Only accept the original "Unintimidated". Real people versus someone who scurries around through tunnels.

Michael said...

Bought the book as well based on the one star reviews.

Funny how that works.

William said...

There are novels by Tolstoy that I haven't read yet. I'm sympathetic to Walker as a governor, but as a writer not so much. I just don't think he's got any great new insights about the human condition. Coloring books are properly compared to other coloring books. Political memoirs belong to the genre best described as press release and should be compared to other press releases........I read Churchill's book about his life as a young man. It was pretty good. He had more adventures than Indiana Jones. I can't think of any other memoir written by a politician that I've ever read. I read the first chapter or two of Obama's book. It was professionally written but I didn't get through it.

The Genius Savant said...

I just KNOW that those "reviewers" who call Walker a "narcissist" are two-time Obama voters, using the word without a trace of irony in their tiny little leftist brains.

Michael K said...

Just a quick look through the reviews and I noted that many of them are NOT showing "Amazon Verified Purchase".

I usually skip over reviews where the reviewer has not purchased the product in the Amazon network. I've often pondered why Amazon does not make that a requirement (purchasing in their network) in order to submit a review.

11/27/13, 10:44 AM
Blogger garage mahal said...

I ordered the book after glancing at some of the reviews

Only accept the original "Unintimidated". Real people versus someone who scurries around through tunnels.

11/27/13, 10:46 AM

Which one of those fake reviews did you write, garage?

I publish reviews on Amazonand have for years. People do read the reviews and buy books so Amazon should try to clean up the fakes. Usually, by the second or third month, the one star reviews are mostly gone but they have done their damage.

If I read a book and don't like it, I usually don't write a review. I've written a couple of reviews pointing out the politics of a book yo warn potential readers but sometimes I like the book anyway.

William said...

I don't live in Wisconsin and don't know much about Scott Walker. I get the impression that he's safe, sane, and predictable. Those are worthy qualities in a politician, but not in a writer. Why would anyone be interested in his pensees?

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't live in Wisconsin and don't know much about Scott Walker. I get the impression that he's safe, sane, and predictable. Those are worthy qualities in a politician, but not in a writer. Why would anyone be interested in his pensees?"

He has a co-writer, and the prose is just fine. It's not a fancy memoir that's meant to feel like literature. (It's not, that is, "Dreams From My Father.")

It tells the story of Act 10 from Walker's perspective, including some introspection and respect for the positions of the other side. It has some good analysis of what Republicans need to do to win. I'd like to do a post on his argument that Republicans need to have a "fairness" argument (and not just scoff at it as Rush Limbaugh in fact does and Ayn Randish people do).

Michael K said...

"his argument that Republicans need to have a "fairness" argument (and not just scoff at it as Rush Limbaugh in fact does and Ayn Randish people do)."

The problem is that those of us "Ayn Randish" types understand the problem and some of the solutions but you will never get the 47% to read and understand. That's why I think we are doomed to an existential crisis. After that, who knows ? Germany found Hitler.

Now, I am off to the desert for the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Marshal said...

Michael K said...
Which one of those fake reviews did you write, garage?


All of them.

Gahrie said...

I'd like to do a post on his argument that Republicans need to have a "fairness" argument

"Life isn't fair...get over it." always worked for me.

garage mahal said...

Which one of those fake reviews did you write, garage?

None. I don't have an Amazon account, nor would I ever read this book.

hombre said...

The ratios may be different, but books by prominent conservatives always attract one star reviews from lefty nitwits who haven't bothered to buy or read the book.

By now, the Democrat base doesn't read much of anything but romance novels and only one segment reads those.

Anthony said...

Reminds me of the prank a few years ago when someone put excerpts of one of Obama's books up and said it was by Sarah Palin. It got near-universal panning before the joke was revealed.

FullMoon said...

I like to check "see my other reveiws". Sometimes you can get an interesting mental picture of the person.
I have looked at reveiws for electronic stuff which led to alot of really personal stuff about the reveiwer, books read, pet owner, size clothes they wear, children , married, medicines, sex toys, geographical location, etc.
Amazing how lax people are with personal info.
Also, alot of people reveiw stuff they apparantly have not actually purchased. Maybe they get paid for reveiwng.

Freeman Hunt said...

Garage, you don't have an Amazon account?! Unpossible.

RecChief said...

including some introspection and respect for the positions of the other side. It has some good analysis of what Republicans need to do to win.

That's one thing I don't get from the liberals that I know. They talk about being open-minded, but they never acknowledge that anyone can have a rational, principled difference of opinion with them.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Freeman Hunt,

Garage, you don't have an Amazon account?! Unpossible.

Seconded. Why ever not? I didn't have you pegged as someone who would fear online transactions as such.

As for not wanting to read things whose ideological positions you reject ... well, that's a good part of the reason I read Althouse (and McArdle, and Volokh). I want to hear intelligent push-back.

It's the same reason that the first stuff I read when I got interested in constitutional law was mainly Tribe and Dworkin. I wanted someone to try to convince me. About Roe in particular, but about a lot of other things as well.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

[Apologies if some variant of this shows up twice: one just vanished without trace.]

Freeman Hunt,

Garage, you don't have an Amazon account?! Unpossible.

Seconded. I never had you pegged, garage, as someone who'd fear online commerce as such. Is Amazon just extra-special-icky, or what?

As to not wanting to read the book, I had assumed that you were here to encounter opinions different from your own. That's why I'm here, and at a couple of other blogs (McArdle, Volokh): because there's intelligent push-back against my instinctive opinions.

It's the same reason that when I got interested in constitutional law, I started off with Tribe and Dworkin, who went against my instinctive grain.