“God, No!”: a book contest!

This last year I have been asked to review several books, but I have failed.  First, if I don’t enjoy a book, I have no problem putting it down and not finishing it.  I am easily distracted and love procrastinating when more pleasant times call me.  Second, as some readers may have noticed, like many bloggers I have no trouble finding criticisms which a publisher/author probably won’t be fond of.  Both of my brothers are very successful salesman and in the past when I envied their incomes and explored jumping into business, they kindly advised me that I would be very bad in sales because I am “too honest”. Oh well — I will stick to medicine, I guess.

Eight months ago, Simon & Shuster sent me a free copy of “God, No!” by Penn Jillette and requested a review.  I don’t know how they found me, but I was a little excited and flew into reading it but I only got to page 48 when I gave up on the book. I had never heard of Jillette until I was sent the book.  I looked him up, found out he was a comedian, and watched several YouTube episodes of his show: Penn and Teller: Bullshit!

His show and his book are full of vulgarity — the kind of vulgarity I don’t like. His crass style was a complete turn off for me. His personality was too full of himself. He seemed like one big embarrassment.  And to top that off, I found the book rather empty of significant substance.

Don’t get me wrong, I swear more than I’d like to and I sometimes enjoy vulgarity as a wonderful rhetorical tool. It wasn’t just his swearing but his style and his personality.

Simon & Shuster asked me to tell them when I write my review, so out of courtesy I will send them the link to this post. But I am sure that it will be the last Simon & Shuster book I receive. Oh well, my brothers appear to be right.  So beware if you are considering asking me for a book review.

But who knows, maybe someone who reads this post will say: Wow, if Sabio hated it so much, I’ve got to read that book!”   So, as a first time offer on Triangulations, I propose a contest: Write a short post on your own blog on the theme of cursing or vulgarity.  Send me the link to your post by March 1st, and I will do a follow-up post where post links to all contestants posts, along with a poll where readers can vote on their favorite essay.  The poll will run for one week, and I will then, for free, send the winning essayist my copy of “God, No!”.

Oh yes, take a look at the links below:

Related Links:


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

6 responses to ““God, No!”: a book contest!

  1. The problem I have with vulgarity is that it can turn off your audience in a hurry. When I have something to say I try to make sure the message is delivered.

    Now personally I don’t offend easily and I can enjoy comedians who use vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake. But when it comes to just being mean and hateful I tend to zone out and stop listening. I read the link about Penn Jillette and that just struck me as a good example of my above point.

  2. Ian

    This book is not endearing him to many, it has to be said. So far I’m only seeing bad reviews.

    I suspect there’s a strong narcissistic thread that goes through quite a few of the alpha males of the skeptical movement. As there is in some churches, of course.

    “I looked him up, found out he was a comedian”

    Made me laugh. Like calling Einstein a famous lecturer. Sure, its part of what he does, but quite what he’s best known for…🙂 I love several of Penn + Teller’s routines. I love magic generally. I hated Bullshit. But I always figured it was a bit of a vanity side-project. Its a shame if that’ what he’s becoming most known for. Waste of his real talent.

  3. Oh, I agree. The in-your-face and cursing probably works with low attention span teenage boys, but I hope they’re not expecting a sophisticated audience. This also goes back to the arrogance of some atheists; many of them are like this, sadly. I saw an interview with Jillette and he pretended to care what other people were saying, but you could just tell he was nodding his head and waiting for the other person to finish so he could lambast them.

  4. @ Doug B :
    Couldn’t agree more. Looking forward to your post.

    @ Ian :
    Well said, as always. They should have asked you to review the book — even a critical review would have been instructive. Are you going to give us a creative spin on “vulgarity” on your blog?

    @ amelie :
    “Arrogance” is a human trait which can be displayed by Christians, Atheists, Muslim, Buddhists and all. Arrogance does not respect belief boundaries, it seems.

    I hope you take the challenge and write a short post on vulgarity.

  5. You asked us to send a link to vulgarity by February 1. However, since you posted this on February 10th, unless Penn Jillette found a way to go backward in time in the final 200 pages of the book, I figured you might want to let us know when you’d like to see them.

    Incidentally, I’ve been mistaken for Penn Jillette before. Apparently we are both arrogant and douchy.


  6. Ooops, thanx bjanecarp – I’ll fix that. Looking forward to your essay! It ought to be a natural for you — full of expletives!

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