Context is King and Nevermind about that

Today I have two thoughts, the second of which completely undermines the first.

The first is that context is king. What I hate about the joubiquitous five star rating system is that it doesn’t take context into account. If what you are rating fits neatly into the category of “things you rate” than fine. If all you do is eat at Chinese restaurants in San Francisco then you’re rating of a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco is well within the context. But if you hate Chinese food and never eat in Chinese restaurants anywhere, I don’t want to see your one star rating of Yuet Lee on Broadway and Vallejo!

The same thing goes for books, of course, and sometimes people simply mistake the context. They believe that something belongs to a particular category when in fact it doesn’t. For example, “101 Uses for a Dead Cat” is not a cat care book. You can keep your one star rating to yourself, Mister Cat Lover. And did I really just see three stars for 1984 because she didn’t like the love story part? Yes, I did

Writers should never look at reviews of their work, partly because it happens that people completely mistake the context and say stupid things and it can drive you crazy. Like when people read my zombie satire and complain that it’s not a real zombie book like they thought it would be, with massacres and riots and such. Sigh. But I had to learn this (again) from the Stanford University men’s basketball coach, a former college and NBA player who said, in an interview, that his father taught him never to read anything anybody writes about you or your performance. It is none of their business.

So I am embarking on a new mission, to forget about context and never look at another review!

well, at least not for the rest of today


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