We are now reduced to parsing whether links to other reviews is part of my own commentary. A reader writes:
Argh, stop it!! Everytime I see that guy on tv I can't turn it off fast enough, but you are really arguing in bad faith here. The fact is, you had far too many references to and posts about his book without reading it. Everything else is beside the point. If anyone wrote about your book over and over again without reading it you'd be pissed. And you'd be right.
If you think that mentioning other reviews of a book approvingly or otherwise is itself commentary on the contents of a book, then Ponnuru and Goldberg and my reader are correct. I don't see it that way; and don't see a blog that way. I went out of my way to reserve comment on Ponnuru's book, while criticizing its inflammatory title and Coulter cover-blurb. (I should say that any book that has Ann Coulter's advance blurb on its cover is demanding not to be taken seriously.) My minor point is that, unlike Mark Steyn who actually quoted a passage from a book he hasn't read to make a point about its general thesis, I have restricted myself to criticizing the title and blurb of a book, which in themselves bespeak a partisanship and extremism that make me reluctant to read any of it. Yes, I've linked to other commentary, but again, I think readers can tell the difference between linking to other reviews and writing my own. Still, the split hairs are getting mighty thin. I guess I should now vow never to mention the book again. With any luck, Ponnuru will return the favor with respect to mine.
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