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  1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    A market for right wing bullshittery

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by GingerCoffee, May 23, 2014.

    My neighbor is friends with an author and we've discussed the friend's book (he's writing more now), "An Act of Self Defense", so I took a look at it. It's a Libertarian political thriller she thinks is great and it's supposedly doing well with sales. I could barely get through the Kindle preview.

    The writing is average, not the worst I've read and also not draw-you-in-right-away good. But OMG I could not get past the ludicrous political premise and the BS in the first few pages. The opening contains an information dump, whining about the liberal government taking away people's freedom, the incompetent federal government, and resentment for lack of term limits (I might agree with that part). Right after the Congress is threatened with murdering incumbents that have been in office too long, one politician claims he will see to it guns are banned.

    Give me a break! No liberals are threatening the Second Amendment, and the government is not that competent (to get guns banned) or incompetent that they couldn't prevent the daily assassinations threatened.

    I expected at least some bad reviews. If I had to just critique the writing I'd have pages to say about what's wrong with that alone. But all 295 customer reviews rave about the book. All I can figure is this is a Libertarian's wet dream. Or maybe the target market is so narrow, only people who side with this kind of belief system are reading this book.

    There has to be a huge market out there, like Rush Limbaugh's and Glenn Beck's incomprehensible following.

    I don't necessarily want to argue the politics here, it's like arguing god beliefs, people will never see the other's POV. So my apologies ahead of time for all the Ayn Rand Objectivism type Libertarianism badmouthing. I am a dyed in the wool capitalist. I have nothing against small government. I just don't believe the government is all bad or the free market is all good.

    What piqued my curiosity about this book was its apparent commercial success. From the Kindle preview, the writing and thriller aspect cannot possibly be the reason. That only leaves a loyal following of 'believers' to explain almost 300 5-star reviews.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Niche market? I can remember when I first started finding LGBT books on the shelves at regular bookstores in suburbia (I'm sure those growing up in large metro centers will report differently), the books themselves weren't exactly spectacular. But they were there. I bought them on principle because they were there to be bought, having not been there to even be seen just months earlier. Now a story with LGBT characters or premise or storyline or whatever is not so uncommon, so I demand quality, the same quality I expect from any book.

    But there was a time when it just had to be there, and I would have given 5 stars (if such things even applied back then) even if only 1 or 2 were merited, just to make sure that the books would still be there.
     
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  3. CatFace
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    eurgh, sounds dreadful, I could not stand to read a book that was written with such a transparent political agenda, whatever those politics were. I think you're right, it must be the fact that the only people who have sought out and read this book are those who already share his political beliefs, and wanted to have those beliefs validated, and have not been disappointed.
     
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  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Yeah, I stay away from books like that. I'd much rather read the entire Twilight series three times than books with political agendas behind them.

    I suppose there's always a market for something. It's like Rule 42 for the internet. It if it exists, there's a market for it.
     
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  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I judge a book by its writing, not by the politics it argues for or against. So either the 295 people thought the writing was amazing or they're sympathetic to the political cause mentioned in the book. I think you're right: it's probably the latter. But then again, this is exactly what I would expect from a review from your average reader. I've rarely seen reviews discussing the use of style and language in the book, which to me are the most important things.
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Here I was thinking it would be about UKIP. Ah well.

    Wow, Libertarians are really getting a bad press of late.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Not a surprise. The right wing has been dominating a lot of talk radio (with some notable exceptions) for decades.

    There are even people who think Ayn Rand wrote well. :wtf: No accounting for tastes.
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I remember a user on this forum who tried to tell me Ayn Rand was a really good writer. I wish I could find that thread again, because it was hilarious. Honestly, who with good literary taste got through the first 200 pages of Atlas Shrugged without a part of their soul dying?
     
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  9. GingerCoffee
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    If you read through the Kindle preview (it's short) I believe you would agree the writing is well short of outstanding.

    My review:
    There are too many cliché plot devices used in the attempt to build initial tension. I neither felt the tension nor did I see any reason to care about the character that is delivering letters to Congressional members. There's some sense of danger as the character risks being caught with letters that are part of a terrorist plot, but the passage fails to make her journey past the Capital guards feel dangerous.

    The significance of getting some letters past the federal postal filters is overrated. I don't think the Congress would feel that violated to find letters that look like they are from postal system but aren't. It was already revealed that bringing the letters in included an anthrax check. So the premise was lacking credulity from the start.

    I already mentioned the reader is hit over the head with the political view of the story to come. But if it weren't for the fact the whole story premise was nonsense, the writing is still mediocre at best, certainly not 5-star.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    I should take a look at Atlas Shrugged. I have a first edition I found for a buck at a used book store but I've never been interested in reading it. I did read an unauthorized biography of Rand that held my interest, and I've sought out some of her interview clips on YouTube. Fascinating stuff. The biography mentioned the speech Galt gives in Atlas Shrugged got poor literary reviews, too long if I recall.
     
  11. Xueqin-II
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    I know that I have to at least try Ayn Rand before I hate her immeasurably, but I really do not look forward to it. It'll sit even less well with me considering I'm not fully on board with the systems it glorifies. I'll get it from the library, or for a dollar. Not a day that I look forward to.

    Oh, but I tried to read one of Glenn Beck's thrillers recently. I couldn't make it past the first paragraph. Oddly, the second I put it down an old couple took it up, and grabbed a second.
     
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  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    That was something else I thought of when I started this thread, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and any number of other crazy people have best sellers and popular radio programs that one can only wonder what that target market must be like. :eek:
     
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  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    John Galt's speech is a part a large number of the books fans admit to skipping. I've read it all, I'm not sure why, but after the first 10 pages I was just looking at the words rather than reading them. If parts of her philosophy make sense to you then that is honestly fine. It gets weird, though, when you become some want-to-be John Galt.

    The comment you quoted was just me commenting that I thought from the title this thread might have had something to do with UKIP, and commented on how the whole Libertarian movement has been getting a bad press because of these Randian nits. Nothing more,
     
  14. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I am part of Beck's target audience and I took his attempt at fiction back to the library after a few pages, for the reason @GingerCoffee described in her OP. Every bit of dialogue was a political screed. Right wing, left wing, I don't care, but real people don't talk that way.
     
  15. EdFromNY
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    I read Atlas Shrugged when I was in college, drifting rightward after having drifted leftward in high school, so her philosophy (if you can call it that) kinda sorta appealed to me at least at the outset. I had found it in hardcover in my late grandfather's collections of books, and I respected the bejeezus out of Grandpa, so I read it. I was still at the age when I was loathe to put down anything I'd started without finishing, so I plowed on to the end. But it was obvious to me before I was even half way through it that she'd said whatever she had to say, and the "story" that remained was garbage.

    It was several years later that I read William F. Buckley's ripping of her in an essay in The Jeweler's Eye, and it's a measure of how clueless today's so-called conservatives are that so many embrace her "philosophy" (which is little more than the "gimme gimme gimme" of a typical three-year-old).
     
  16. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I think the reason why so many young people like Rand's philosophy is that that's the only philosophy they know. What young man or woman is going to read the likes of Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Hume, etc. in their spare time? Rand is much more accessible. (Well, Camus' L'Etranger is a fairly easy read, but you don't truly appreciate it until you read his essays.)
     
  17. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    It's also self-assertive, without detailing why it needs to be, and I suppose it's strange enough to be interesting to fools. In short, it's kind of like Nietzsche's philosophy, only dumb and trying desperately to hide the nihilist undertones.
     
  18. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    I honestly would have a hard time going into any of their books with an open mind. I really try and be objective but when it comes to politics we're all going to gravitate more towards beliefs we hold already I think, whether we're actively seeking validation or not. I actually have an easier time picking apart and finding fault with a book (or ideas) by someone I respect or generally agree with compared to being able to praise a book or ideas by someone I have a preconceived dislike for. It's a personal flaw. Take that Rush Limbaugh children's book...it might be the most fantastic read ever but I'd never be able to give it a fair chance because of what he stands for in contrast to my own ideals. I struggle with finding that separation. It's probably similar to those religious fanatics who hated Harry Potter and thought it would corrupt the youth through some anti-Christian proselytization of magic. It's hard to see clearly through blind passion.
     
  19. Wreybies
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    For my generation it was the Smurfs. The same extremists balked at the "clearly communist" ideal the show was selling where a "clearly homosexual" community was engaging in "ritual magic" for the everyday toils of life. So, you know, basically the Devil on Channel 2, 8:30 am, every Saturday morning. :rolleyes: It's silly now, but back in the day Smurfs got some people frothing at the mouth. The American Mythos has some strange corners to it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Commandante Lemming
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    As a card carrying conservative activist in real life, I've never heard of that author - and there are authors that have big followings in the conservative movement and sell tons of books, but not a lot that are huge in fiction. The two that come to mind are Brad Thor and Vince Flynn - neither of which I've read just because thrillers aren't really my cup of tea - but I'd pick them out as exemplars of conservative fiction just based on their penetration into the market.

    Personally, as a conservative writing a pretty political piece of fiction, I shop all of my stuff through a group that is mostly composed of leftists for a reason....because at the end of the day I want them to like it too. And while we may not agree on everything, I would hope that in fiction we reflect our values, but get at deeper truths than are expressed in the political debate. Andrew Breitbart of all people was constantly noting that "politics is downstream from culture" - and while a lot of conservatives are trying to get into cultural areas for that reason, a lot of conservatives will admit that a lot of "conservative art" is crap...because you have people starting with politics and trying to influence culture for their "side"...which is totally backwards. Start with truth and make good art without thinking about politics, otherwise you're doomed to write something bad.
     
  21. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    All I know of Ann Rynd is that one of her characters gave what was probably the longest speech in the history of literature.
     
  22. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    It's 79 freaking pages in my edition! I know people who took three days to read it! The common joke about it is that 'Who is John Galt?' becomes 'When will John Galt shut the hell up?'
     
  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Jeez that's ridiculous. The most my 'love-to-make-speeches' characters can do is maybe a page or two, but even then they're very rare. Most of them either hate speeches or quickly sum things up in a paragraph.

    I remember a book I borrowed from the library that was supposedly a historical mystery set during the American Civil War. The guy spent ten pages waxing lyrical about how war is a messy, hellish business. Ten pages. Last thing I want in a fictional book is to feel like I'm being lectured by a fictional character. If I wanted to be lectured at, I'll look elsewhere. If you have a point, show it through the plot and the actions of the characters. Having one character stop the action to wax lyrical for pages upon pages is just...urgh...
     
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  24. GingerCoffee
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    You wouldn't. He's a local author and not one that is known in any larger circles. But apparently 300 people have read his book. My neighbor thought the book was good, she's been acting as his beta reader from what I'm gathering. I don't think she's particularly Libertarian, but I haven't talked much politics with her even though I've known her more than 20 years.

    I could have enjoyed this book as a crime thriller even if it espoused a view I don't. My neighbor made it sound like it was well written. But the premise was just not credible.

    So as a conservative, do you really believe the government is coming for your guns? I'm not asking if you like or don't like whatever the latest gun control law is being proposed or passed, but rather do you really think we're just a step or two away from the government trying to collect all the guns in circulation?

    Because the way I see it, the gun manufacturers are just as much up there influencing/running the government as are the other large corporations. No one is coming for anyone's guns as long as huge profits are being made selling them to people.
     
  25. minstrel
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    I read Atlas Shrugged ten times when I was in high school and first-year university. (I only read the radio speech once, though - I'm not crazy.) I was absolutely sold on Objectivism. I tried to live my life by Ayn Rand's principles and it just made me miserable. I thought, "Why am I so unhappy when I'm following this obviously-correct philosophy?" It took me a while to realize that Rand was the problem and not the solution. The world she wrote about bears only a superficial resemblance to the actual world; her heroes and villains don't really exist. Also, she assumes her world is infinite and inexhaustible, and that the actions of humans cannot possibly harm it in any way.

    It may be that my attempt to extricate myself from Rand's influence is what brought me to write my first novel. I was trying to explore a more positive vision; I wanted to put myself into a world of my own creation that made me happy. It worked. I had to use my writing to teach myself to be normal - or, to put it another way, to be the kind of person I could be happy being, and proud of being. Politically, I moved leftward.

    I got into many arguments with people who've stayed Randian, and I always end with a sigh. My idea of heaven is their idea of hell, and vice versa, and never the twain shall meet. Oh, well. I'm glad I read her, and I'm glad I cleaned myself off and carried on afterwards.
     
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