Ah, digging in the dirt. Michael Ignatieff, sadly our best choice for ever getting rid of that beady-eyed Captain of Religious Industry, Stephen Harper, is under fire because his publisher creatively manipulated some review copy to use as jacket blurb. The horrors! The common, every-day horrors! But still…
Take this snippet from the National Post: “Plenty of scope for a rich story … Some wonderful anecdotes, particularly about George P. Grant … Well written.”
In fact, the Post review in its entirety was far from laudatory.
“True Patriot Love offers little that is new on the Grants save some wonderful anecdotes, particularly about George P. Grant,” wrote reviewer Robert L. Fraser.
“As an exploration of patriotism, it offers up clichĂ©s about modern Canada but little more.True Patriot Love is a well-written disappointment.”
Such selective and misleading editing for purposes of book jacket hype is common practice in the publishing industry.
But on Friday, Conservative MPs called the book blurbs “dishonest” and said that in Ignatieff’s case, they were evidence of his unfitness for political office.
I know this is more about the mafia-like crush on power the Conservatives are desperate to keep and will therefore sink to any level to attempt to destroy others, but it’s a good chance to talk about the jacket review blurb as a space in which morality can get naked and frolic for all to see. Is it acceptable to bend reviews around corners? I reviewed Dave Eggers’ first, HBWSG, back in 2000 and gave it a good, but reserved, review in the Globe and Mail. I was living in New York at the time and wandered in to Three Lives a year later and found a copy of the paperback. When I casually flipped through, I found my review in the first pages, among tens of others, (no byline, just “Globe and Mail”–hey, I was a nobody), but wholly altered. It was like a wee quilt, stitched together seamlessly, but not really encompassing the spirit of my review. You’d never have known though. They didn’t even use ellipses to denote the breaks from the narrative of the original.