Her comments begin strangely, with the admission that she's "in the middle" of the book. Note the urgency to condemn it publicly, even before reading the damned thing!Oh, blah! I hate this criticism. McArdle is blogging, not doing the official book review for the Atlantic. A rule against criticizing books you haven't finished would overprotect authors, since you shouldn't finish a bad book, and it would also underprotect authors, since the critics wouldn't disclose that they hadn't read the whole thing.
But bloggers... bloggers can open a book to a random page, read one sentence, cogitate furiously, then open up their laptops — maybe right there at Borders, where they picked up the book they didn't buy — and tap out a free-association blog post saying anything that occurs to them and publish — using the WiFi they didn't pay for either. It's not the slightest bit strange. And it's not unfair either. It is what it is, and we know what it is. It's blogging.
And boy, does she lash out:
• "It reads like horsefeathers . . . like an undergraduate thesis,"
• "breathless rather than scientific"
• "cherry-picked evidence stretched far out of shape to support their theory,"
• "they don't even attempt to paper over the enormous holes in their theory."
Ouch! And that's just the first paragraph.Eh! There are only 4 paragraphs. By the way, "their theory" — if I can trust McArdle — is that "people are naturally polyamorous." The dispute continues with McArdle and the author (Christopher Ryan) throwing shit at each other in a fight about whether people are like bonobos. I'm just saying "throwing shit at each other" because that's how bonobos fight, and people are like bonobos, right? Not right? Advantage McArdle!!!!!
Anyway, as you've probably figured out by now, the book is not about sex at dawn — the practice of having sex upon first awakening in the morning — but sex and evolution — "dawn" in the sense of "the dawn of man."
So where am I going with this? It's a blog post. I'm a blogger. I'll go where I want, which is where I always go when this subject comes up, and I don't feel safe in this conversation no more...