I get leery of places and things which have to tell you up front how good they are in order for you to partake.
I first noticed this back in the mid-90s, when I was working for a gay newspaper and was asked to review a novel (Iowa, by Patrick Moore). Unlike those which have pull quotes on the back touting how ground-breaking and fantastic the novel is, for this one the publisher put a quote on the front, which implied that they didn’t think that the title, author’s name, and photo of a hunky farmboy would sell the book. (Instead, they needed a quote by someone I had never heard of, like that would help sell it?)
Later in the decade, I started noticing a motel chain called Quality Inn. If it’s good, quality should be expected, so if you have to tell me that it is “quality”, I’m inclined to disbelieve. (This went a step further a few years later when I chanced upon a small restaurant in Kansas City, the Quality Diner. Er, no thanks!)
And now for the latest: the DVD of Eddie Murphy’s film Norbit just came out, and it touts “Hysterically funny!” in huge letters on the cover, nearly as prominent as the title. Was this the best review line they got for the film? Heck, by the whopping 9% rating it garnered at Rotten Tomatoes, it may be the only good review line they got.
Updated on December 21, 2009
I now see that the pull quote on that Patrick Moore book was from Karen Finley, apparently one of the NEA Four. That should help sell a novel how?