Friday, October 16, 2009

The Professor and the Hurt Ego

If you've been reading my blog from the beginning (which is only a small fraction of you), you'll be familiar with my book review of the Professor and the Dominatrix. For the confused, I typed up a review of what can easily be labeled as the worst atheist book ever written. The writing was poor, the story was uninteresting, the sex scenes ranged from boring to ludicrous, and the author managed to inadvertently offend pretty much every minority group I can think of (this description is pretty much the understatement of the century, and I encourage you to read my original review). I say inadvertently because Professor John Harrigan (yes, it's a bit of a Gary Stu) is not a Poe. How do I know? Well, he's replied to me multiple times, very upset that someone dare not fall in love with his novel. That was in April/May.

Guess who just left another comment? For full disclosure, here you go*:
This is from John Harrigan, alive and well, and you might say still uncomfortably cranky. I remain surprised that the bright people who totally accepted Purdue Jen’s roiling words ignored the introduction to The Professor and the Dominatrix by Roy P. Fairfield, for thirteen years an editor of the Humanist along with Paul Kurtz, the person who established Free Inquiry, Skeptical Inquirer, Prometheus Books, and CFI.. Doesn’t it seem unlikely that Fairfield would praise a poorly written, homophobic, anti-fem, and anti-black book?

The current issue of The American Rationalist contains a review of my book by G. Richard Bozarth, an experienced reviewer for free-thought publications (see Reviewer’s Bookwatch Sept.1). Some quotes: “The sexuality is pure vanilla, though I suppose a prude would be very offended . . . The cultural analyses, since they are based on Freethought and Secular Humanist philosophy, are often better than what is offered by many contemporary crime investigation authors . . . Chapter 4, Critical Thinking 101 succinctly hits many different Freethought and Secular Humanist nails squarely on the head . . . The Professor and the Dominatrix should be supported by us, and I’m certain many will be very glad they did.”

The publisher has corrected the sixteen typos and is by my request reducing the price to $21.95, effective in early November.
Oh, John Harrigan. While I'm glad I didn't give you an aneurysm, I don't think you quite understand how every time you say something, it just amuses me even more. I'm going to keep this short and sweet, since I've already spent far too much time and effort talking about your horrible book. Books can receive mixed reviews. In fact, that's the norm. Just because you have received good (not glowing, notice) reviews from two middle aged white males does not mean your book, as a whole, is an excellent piece of fiction. This is especially true when your target audience is the young and impressionable - and they are the ones who dislike your book the most. Or, the succinct version:

I thought your book sucked. So did others. Get over it.

Though I do have to thank you - that book review helped make my blog popular! I went from about 10 to 100 subscribers in a day thanks to a link at Pharyngula, and now I'm at 500 and counting. Thanks again!

Now, act your age and stop feeling threatened by some outspoken 21 year old on the internet.

*I tried to find Mr. Bozarth's review and failed, but if anyone can secure a copy, let me know.


  1. I have to admit, I'm rather grateful to John Harrigan and very glad he wrote that book.

    ...why? Because it caused me to find your blog. That's probably not the effect Harrigan wanted his book to have.

    I honestly don't understand this man. How exactly can he be unable to comprehend that your criticisms of his book were reasonable, and how can he be so touchy as to be continually offended by the fact that (oh, no!) somebody exists who doesn't care for his writing?

  2. I came across your blog in a completely different manner, Jen, but I did read that particular entry. And this guy is an idiot.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I’m another one who found ya via your review (though I came via Google, not the Pharyngula linky). I haven’t read the book, although the little I have heard about it has thoroughly convinced me I never wish to, either. But regardless of whether the book itself is good or bad, Harrigan’s behavior is just … amusing and juvenile. (And not the good amusing. Amusing, as in it makes us snicker in derision.)

    Seriously, Professor, you really are that offended that a college student didn’t like your book, and dared to spread her opinions on a blog? Holy hell. And I thought Glenn Beck had thin skin.

    P.S., Jen – Fearing Internet-dwelling 21yos is a perfectly rational thing, considering they are the voice and way of the future. ;-)

  5. Oh....telling me how bad it is just makes me want to read it to see if it really is all that bad! Not reading it is like not scratching an agonizing itch. But from the sounds of it, reading it would make my head explode. Curses!

  6. G. Richard Bozarth's review:

  7. Yea, I only started reading your blog cause that review was just golden.

    This guy really seems to want your praise. Doesn't he know you're supposed to send an iPod touch or psp with the free copy if you want a good review of a terrible book?

  8. I thought all college students were supposed to acccept all professors' words without question?

    Oh, wait; I'm thinking of Liberty U. Nevermind...

  9. The King of Lineland scoffed at the very idea of worlds greater than his, even while arguing with Mr. Square! And all good agnostics scoff at all reports by thousands who saw. the dance of the sun at Fatima.. In 1883 'Flatland' made it easy to understand contiguous geometric worlds. Now 'Techie Worlds' looks at Christian ideas like Trinity, Resurrection, Judgment, soul, showing that they make sense in such worlds. 'Techie Worlds' follows the practice of science, testing phenomena to see if they make sense in the light of theory. They do.
    'Techie Worlds' available from, shows that Christian ideas based on love are logical, explain the real worlds, make mechanistic sense, and that believers are using their intelligence. What a surprise for Moslems and pagans, who now can accept a religion that treasures all mankind.

  10. I found your blag because of that review, as well. It was utterly hilarious, and a few more visits for other things just drew me in.

    When I'm done with my atrocious novel, I'll have to throw it your way, just to see what you think of it. (It probably won't be -that- bad, but still.)

  11. Which is more likely GeorgeSpam, that the people of Fatima were seeing a completely different sun to the rest of the world, or that they were mistaken in what they thought they saw? As far as I've been able to tell, we've only got one sun, and it's always been right where I left it before now.

  12. I have no idea how long I've been reading your web log, or how I stumbled onto it, but I do remember that review--though I'm sorry to say I'd forgotten it was yours. It introduced me to the term "Mary Sue", which I've found useful since.

    I read G. Richard Bozarth's review (thanks to the link given above) and the main thing I got out of it was that if we buy this novel (which he seemed pretty lukewarm about) maybe publishers will put out more "Freethought and Secular Humanist fiction". I'll take my chances. I'm not a big fan of modern crime fiction, and your description of the televised debate with two evangelists left me with no desire to know more--it seemed like something that would have come from the other side, frankly.

  13. Yeah the book review is how I first heard of your blog.

  14. That was and still is... absolutely hilarious!

  15. Just went and read that review and it was . . . superb.

    Almost makes me want to read the book, but unfortunately I haven't got time because . . . er . . . my cat . . . needs electrolysis.

    Yeah, that'll do . . .

  16. You link to your Amazon review in the post above. There is something worth noting about the Amazon review page. There are 5 reviews, 4 of them 1-star. There is only 1 5-star review, and the first paragraph namechecks the Fairfield review.

    So does the first paragraph of the comment the author sent you.

    Overall, the comment and the review are strickingly similar. Click on the reviewer's name, and Amazon reveals they have only been moved to review one book - this one.

    Fair bet Harrigan's pumping up his Amazon rating.

    P.S. I found your blog through PZ's link to the review, too! And I'm not even a subscriber - I just have a short list of blogs I hit every day, and I depend on auto-complete to get me there (keeps me from overloading my feed and spending too much time reading blogs)

  17. I found this blog when PZ linked to your Creation "museum" report. Then I read your whole archive, including the book review.

  18. That was the first entry I read, too. He's been very kind to you indeed.

    Didn't start reading regularly till the 'museum' kerfluffle, though.

  19. I never understood why someone would be so offended by someone not liking what they do? I have had a lot of debate recently over, well, debate. I am a soldier, and some feel that blindly following orders is the way to get things done. I have risen through the ranks in a fairly short amount of time, earning the title fast tracker, for my outspoken views AGAINST the rigid school of thought in the military. People are in the military are wondering why President Obama is hesitating on sending troops to Afghanistan. Luckily there are a few soldiers that understand the democratic process and encourage the healthy debate...Even General McChrystal wants Washington to have a full debate.

    I am sorry, I feel like I inadvertently backdoor'ed an issue here.

    My point is that IF this guy was a free thinker he would rather have a scathing criticism that he could learn from rather than the hero worship that he undoubtedly receives from most people he comes into contact with

  20. WAY off topic, but grats on that Purdue win over Ohio state. Hope you celebrate it.

  21. I'm yet another person initially linked to your blog by PZ on that review, and again, I'm glad that the good Professor wrote his book because it's lead to your blog being part of my daily read list.

    As with Echoecho, I don't subscribe - I just have a bookmark pointing to the blog which, as in his case, I visit daily.

    You never fail to entertain - particularly when someone like the Professor or Pastor Tom tries to match wits with you!

  22. Those positive reviewers should be taken out and shot.

    Do you think its possible that he's taking the piss? I mean, someone couldn't be this deluded. Maybe this whole time its been a satire.

  23. Yeah the book review got me here also. He is a friggin tard. This has been most definitely worth the lulz. You hardly had to do anything.