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I’ve been quote-mined!

April 21, 2011

Well now I know I’ve made it.

Particularly popular in pseudoscience and politics, a quote-mine is when you take a small portion of what someone has said and remove it from the surrounding context to make it sound like that person has said something dramatically different, even diametrically opposed, to what they were actually saying.

When a creationist busts out a Darwin quote appearing to say that he believed the eye was too complex to have evolved, that’s a quote mine. Last election cycle, Democrat Alan Grayson ran an ad showing his opponent appearing to say that he believed his wife should submit to his authority as prescribed in the Bible; that too was a quote mine.

Hell, even movie posters do this, or potentially can. If you see a blurb on a poster of someone calling a film “…a shining example of the genre,” for all you know what the critic actually said was “If flinging shit against a wall can be considered a genre of film, then this movie is a shining example of the genre.”

Typically this is used because the person being quoted is perceived as giving some weight of authority to the matter at hand. So like I said, I can tell I’ve truly made it now that I’ve been quote mined for my opinion on The Hunger Games. Down towards the bottom, under “reviews,” the only entry is the single most positive sentence from my post on the subject.

I love me a good theme party, so despite my overall personal distaste for the Hunger Games series (or rather the bad taste it left in my mouth), I certainly don’t begrudge any interested folks from having themselves a Hunger Games party — although I am amused by the irony of throwing a dinner party themed around a book series which devotes a great deal of time condemning the privileged class for throwing frivolous parties. It’s a bit like having a book club party for Sinclair’s The Jungle by throwing a barbecue. (Which I’d totally do, but I’m fucked up like that.) I will say, in fairness, there are very clever ideas for the theme party and the menu looks both tasty and on-theme.

I’m just surprised that, despite all the other people raving about the books across the web, and despite positive reviews in the New Yorker and one by Stephen King, they chose only to take a portion of my not-totally-negative-but-distinctly-non-raving review out of context. Apparently someone has decided my opinion is so authoritative, it’s worth excerpting on a website even if they have to twist its arm a little.

Suck it, King!

UPDATE: They’ve updated the page with additional reviews now, but mine is still at the top. Go me!

In all seriousness, I think it is kind of cool that this website completely unrelated to me took notice of my review enough to share it with their readers, and as has been pointed out in the comments they are linking back here, so in no way obscuring the context from those who care to look. I think it’s a neat site and I wish them well.

From → humor

  1. well with a quote like that it’s not surprising they mined it.

  2. damn, forgot to click the “notify me of follow-up comments” option. can’t you just make that the default?

  3. To their credit though, they have the quote linked directly to your actual review for the diligent person to check.
    All the examples you mention, more often than not, also obscure the origin of the quote as to not make it easily available to the discerning reader.

  4. Dorkmanscott – want to apologize for my alleged quote-mining. In the middle of updating all our posts with reviews, which we try to include snippets of 3-4, and this post got past me. I have included additional reviews in the post but yours is still at the top of the list and a link back to your site so readers can read your complete review. ~ Marilyn

    • dorkmanscott permalink

      Thank you for the clarification, but no real apology is necessary. I was really more amused than anything. I apologize myself if this post alarmed you, it’s all tongue in cheek.

      Your site seems like a very cool resource. If I ever do a book club party — not out of the question, like I said I’m into theme parties — now I’ll know where to look!

      • No apologies needed on your end either – I enjoy the tongue in cheek. Just want to be sure I don’t misrepresent anyone. I did enjoy your review – loved “The Good, The Meh, The Ugly” titles. ~ Marilyn

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