New Frontiers in Nasty Book Reviews

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I see that the hounds have been let loose on Amazon today. Matt Yglesias has a new eBook out, The Rent is Too Damn High, and according to the chart accompanying the Amazon page it’s already garnered 24 one-star reviews. Not bad! This reviewer explains what’s up:

If you purchase this book, you’ll be putting money in the pocked of a ghoul who revels in the deaths of people he disagrees with politically. Of course, if this is your intention, you’re no better than he.

A few days ago Matt tweeted something nasty about Andrew Breitbart after his death, so now Breitbart’s fans — who obviously haven’t read the book and don’t care about it — are surging into Amazon to take their revenge. Isn’t the internet wonderful?

I haven’t read the book myself because I’m swamped with other stuff, so I can’t say anything in particular about it. However, I’m familiar with Matt’s general argument that the high price of city living is an obvious sign that there’s high demand for housing in cities, which means that we ought to loosen up zoning and construction regulations and allow more housing to be built. Since cities are engines of economic growth, and bigger cities are even bigger engines, this would be good for everyone. If you want to read his full argument, which I imagine is pretty cogent, it will only set you back $3.99 thanks to the marvel of the Kindle eBook publishing model.

But none of this matters at Amazon itself. Their review section is merely a place to piss on your political enemies. I suppose that’s nothing new, but this is certainly a starker example than usual. Caveat lector.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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