Fiske-Harrison’s second suggestion seems to be that, as the recipient of an unfavorable review from him, I should not be allowed to review his book. I find this charge puzzling. First, on a purely factual matter, I do not remember his review being especially unfavourable. He said some nice things, and some rather less nice things – with the latter admittedly more numerous. But I have had much worse. I did think his objections were curiously off target, and this was almost certainly the result of his not understanding the claims I made in that book. But I sensed he had put a lot of thought into the review, and had done his best. And that is all one can ask of a reviewer. I did feel a little guilty that I was dispensing such a negative review – never something one likes to do anyway – to an author who had been kinder to my own work. However, when I am commissioned, and paid, by a publication like the TLS to review a book, I take on an obligation to do so as honestly and impartially as I can. My negative review of his book was not the result of personal animus, but of the fact that, in my view, the book is not very good.
Of course, this assessment is not something I plucked from nowhere and left undefended. I supported it by arguing that Fiske-Harrison’s arguments in defence of bullfighting were not very convincing because they fell victim to numerous, serious, logical fallacies. My five minutes are up. More on this at some future date – possibly, if I don’t get too bored.
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