Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pointing Out the Emperor's (lack of) Clothes

Say you're reading a new non-fiction book. Say you've met the author. Say the topic is a special subject of yours. Not that you, like, obsess over it.


Not enough to make your relatives worried.

You've just read every single piece of primary source material that you can find. Sat long hours in archives. Bothered librarians to fetch out dusty tomes that cannot leave the room and you really should be using gloves to handle.


You Know about this subject. And in reading this book, you realize that it's...umm.... Not Entirely Free of Errors. Yes. Let's put it like that.

Now, say you have been thinking about writing something on this very same topic. Because you have knowledge to share.

Should you address these errors in your work? In case anyone has read the other book and thinks they're true? Or should you ignore the other book's existence?

In academia, it's fine to politely disprove other people's theories, etc. Or point out sloppy research. But with popular (non-scholarly) non-fiction, would doing so seem like sour grapes?

What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment