#ASMSG Deconstruction of A Criminal Book Review (Written by Vell “The Old Wizard” Bruixot) #IAN1

I have never responded directly to any Amazon book reviewer. I believe the person who has bought a book exercises a legitimate option when they decide to write a book review. More people should be encouraged to do this, in a responsible manner. The irresponsible and in this case, criminal, book reviewer, however, should not be encouraged.

How does Amazon determine responsible behaviour versus irresponsible behaviour? Amazon gives the following General Review Creation Guidelines to reviewers:

Who can create customer reviews?
Anyone who has purchased items from Amazon.com. All we ask is that you follow a few simple rules (see “What’s not allowed” below).

Tips on writing a great review

Include the “why”: The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product, but also why. Feel free to talk about related products and how this item compares to them.
Be specific: Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. For video reviews, we recommend that you write a brief introduction.
Not too short, not too long: Written reviews must be at least 20 words and are limited to 5,000 words. The ideal length is 75 to 500 words. Video reviews have a 10-minute limit, but we recommend 2 to 5 minutes to keep your audience engaged.
Be sincere: We welcome your honest opinion about the product–positive or negative. We do not remove reviews because they are critical. We believe all helpful information can inform our customers’ buying decisions.
Full disclosure: If you received a free product in exchange for your review, please clearly and conspicuously disclose that that you received the product free of charge.

What’s not allowed

Amazon is pleased to provide this forum for you to share your opinions on products. While we appreciate your time and comments, we … reserve the right to remove reviews that include any of the following:

Objectionable material:
Obscene or distasteful content
Profanity or spiteful remarks
Promotion of illegal or immoral conduct

Source: Amazon – General Review Creation Guidelines


Now let’s pivot to our deconstruction of a criminal book review. Let us be clear right from the very beginning. My definition of the term, “criminal book review” is: “Any book review that violates the general review creation guidelines Amazon has established as well as the existing laws in the country of origin of the review about defamation of character.”

It is therefore an evident criminal act to violate laws meant to safeguard the honor and dignity of an author.

If you wish your voice to be heard, and have your opinion respected, you must as a minimum follow Amazon’s guidelines. Breaking the basic guidelines puts you on the road to criminal liability, and prevents your legitimate voice from being heard.

Next, the scene is now set to take a look at a criminal book review. I now present, “Exhibit A” below. If you click on the screenshot, the image will enlarge, and you will be able to read it easily.

Prize for the silliest book ever written about Chile

Deconstruction of a Criminal Book Review

1. The book review covers only the FREE portion of the book which Amazon makes available with its “Look Inside The Book Program“. This allows prospective buyers to sample pages from the book. The reviewer has written a book review after sampling only the free pages of the book.

Let me repeat this: The reviewer did NOT read the book.

Yet the reviewer has written a fraudulent, dishonest review that deliberately and deceitfully leads the unsuspecting reader to believe that the book review was written after reading the entire book…

2. The reviewer states, (quote) “After living in Chile for many years” (end of quote).

This opening phrase (after living in Chile for many years), is designed to gain credibility in the eyes of the unsuspecting reader. To be clear: the reviewer has made an assertion and offered no evidence, nothing to substantiate this claim. We are given no facts which can be checked out, no dates of arrival, no places of work, no city, town or residence, no employment, no employer, no occupation, no family ties are named.

In short, this reviewer exists in our imagination. Even the reviewer’s name is a figment of the imagination: Vell Bruixot.

It is not the reviewer’s real name, and Amazon has not confirmed his/her residence status in Chile. This person is as unreal as they come in the virtual world.

Further, when one introduces the name “Vell Bruixot” into the Google search engine, we find no clue that might help us to determine if Vell Bruixot actually has been living in Chile for the “many years” that was claimed.

Curiously, we do find that Vell Bruixot has made it a habit to review books on Chile quite harshly, leaving a 1 Star review for so many books on Chile that the rare exception can only be understood as a tactic of deceit (Example: Look! I gave that book 3 stars, that one 4 stars, and the other one even got 5 stars! – while the overwhelming majority are 1 star reviews). The aim is to trick the reader into thinking that Vell Bruixot’s reviews are legitimate.

The reviews written by Vell Bruixot speak for themselves. They are rarely positive, consistently harsh, and when not, inconsistent, as comments which justified 1 star reviews are found on 3 star, 4 star and even 5 star reviews. This pattern of behaviour is clearly evident with reviews written by Vell Bruixot.

Even on the few positive reviews, one must search diligently to find a lack of bias. Below are book reviews by Vell Bruxiot that you can examine for evidence of Vell Bruixot’s approach to writing book reviews:

Chile: The Expat’s Guide: An Insider’s Guide to Living, Working & Traveling in Chile

Speaking Chileno: A Guide to Spanish from Chile (Jared Romey’s Speaking Latino)

The Gringo’s Culture Guide to Chile: What you should know before arriving in Chile

Startup Chile 101: Everything You Wanted to Know About Living, Working and Doing Business in Chile

Allende’s Chile: An Inside View

My Invented Country: A Memoir by Isabel Allende

Reviews Written by Vell Bruixot

3. (Quote) “…after having read almost every little self-published piece of tripe related to living here” (end of quote).

This phrase is again intended to gain credibility. Vell Bruixot is saying: “You can trust me, you can believe my words.” But there is no evidence of truth, just words, nothing can be fact checked. With Vell Bruixot, it would be wise to ask for evidence of truth in every assertion s/he makes.

But for the sake of this exercise, let’s go along with Vell Bruixot. Let’s close our minds and pretend we believe him/her.

Let’s pretend we believe s/he actually read my book (s/he obviously did not).

Let’s overlook the part about Vell Bruixot living many years in Chile (how many years is s/he referring to, by saying, “many years”? 2? 5? 10? 20? We do not know, nor do we have any way of checking on the truth of this assertion. So let’s pretend we believe everything.

Let’s pretend we totally believe him/her.

After all, surely, we can believe such a person who is writing “after living for many years in Chile” and who reads “almost every little self-published piece of tripe related to living here”? (How much is “almost every”? One book? 5 books? 10 books? 100 books? One Thousand books? Hmmm….

It is better if we simply pretend to believe Vell Bruixot when s/he says, “almost every little self-published piece of tripe”….

Wait a moment please. Tripe? T-R-I-P-E

What is tripe? According to the Oxford Dictionary, “Tripe” is defined as: “The first or second stomach of a cow or other ruminant used as food.”

This book review stinks already. “Something wicked this way comes.” ( Macbeth: Act 4, Scene 1) Let us continue.

We quote Vell Bruixot once again. (quote) “…I think it is safe to award this one the title of Silliest Book Ever Written About Chile.” (end of quote)

Hmm. Once again the reviewer is deceitful.

We are asked to believe we are in the hands of an expert, although we are provided with no information, no evidence, no book title is named, not even one of the many books about Chile which Vell Bruixot has given 1 star reviews in the past.

Again, we are simply supposed to blindly believe Vell Bruixot, so let’s go along with it.

We close our minds, stop thinking, and believe Vell Bruixot knows what s/he is talking about (although his/her book review only covers the FREE portion of the book s/he is supposedly awarding the title of “Silliest Book Ever Written About Chile”).

The smell of this book review is getting worse. It stinks, very badly, and we are still in the first paragraph. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4).

What else does Vell Bruixot say in this first paragraph?

Vell Bruixot: (quote) “The criteria for this award include (1) errors of fact, (2) a childlike writing style that suggests heavy indulgence in dangerous drugs or severe closed-head injury, and (3) a lack of useful content.” (end of quote)

Let’s go ahead and laugh. Ha ha ha. Let’s get it out of our system. So we laugh first, all the while holding our noses to keep the stench of this filth from entering our nostrils. This statement made by Vell Bruixot about using dangerous drugs is beyond rotten, it’s sewage unfit for the gutter.

Vell Bruixot, who has asked for the readers to place blind faith and trust in his/her expertise, has now resorted to an ad hominem attack on the writer.

Ad Hominem is defined, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made.

After reading this distasteful, inappropriate and abusive language from Vell Bruixot, no sane person could remotely consider neither this book review, nor Vell Bruixot (the person) as legitimate. Vell Bruixot is illegitimate.

We can no longer pretend to believe him/her, as s/he has proven himself/herself to be unacceptable and indecent, not to mention deceitful, and unscrupulous.

Shame on you, Vell Bruixot!

You clearly violate Amazon’s General Review Creation Guidelines. It is incomprehensible to think that Amazon is willing to let the kind of review you have written be the standard for book reviews on Amazon. Can you imagine the lawsuits if people would write book reviews the way Vell Bruixot has written his/her book review? It would lead to a class action law suit that could potentially break amazon financially.

As a minimum, Vell Bruixot should be required to have your “reading” monitored electronically, like a criminal, to ensure that you at least do “read” the books you review. Read?

Read, yes read, but also that you only read books that you can understand.

You may have “read” the free portion of the book, but you clearly misunderstood it. Here is your most prominent example of your lack of reading comprehension:

Vell Bruixot: (Quote) “The writer claims that the language spoken here is the purest form of “Castilian Spanish.” (end of quote)

For the record, here are my exact words (from the FREE portion of the book) which anyone can read for themselves. Now, I quote the book itself, directly:

I Live In Chile, page 11: (quote) “…due to our isolation from the rest of the world, we have evolved the Spanish language to a state of perfection. We speak it so purely, Castilian Spanish (Castellano), that at times, even we do not understand one another…” (end of quote)

Vell Bruixot, does not the clearly evident contradiction JUMP OUT at you? If the language spoken here is so “pure”, then it makes absolutely no sense that we can not understand each other!

How could you misinterpret something so simple? How could you even for a second think that the meaning was literal?

I can think of 2 reasons.

One, you are unable to comprehend what you read, or,

Two, you deliberately set out to deceive, to make readers think something is true, although in reality, you know that it is totally false. Either way, Vell Bruixot is either a poor reader, or someone that behaves in a criminal manner.

But Vell Bruixot’s problems do not end here. In Chile, the crimes of calumny and slanderous allegation (injurias) are covered by Articles 412 to 431 of the Penal Code. Vell Bruixot has broken the law.

If Vell Bruixot has been “living in Chile for many years”, as s/he claims, then ignorance of the laws of Chile will not be an acceptable defense. You have committed defamation of character, and you havce done it quite cheaply, in writing, totally ignorant (?) that you were breaking the law.

Or maybe you wrongly & simply hoped that I was ignorant, with no knowledge that in Chile (as it is in many other nations) it is against the law to behave as you have in writing this review.

Let me refer you to the Penal Code of Chile:

(Quote) Art. 416 Es injuria toda expresión proferida o acción ejecutada en deshonra, descrédito o menosprecio de otra persona. (end of quote)

Under Article 416 of the penal code of Chile, the review you wrote is a criminal act, and the proof of your crime is your very own words: (quote) “…a childlike writing style that suggests heavy indulgence in dangerous drugs or severe closed-head injury…” (end of quote)

Those words of yours is a crime, that is, if you truly do live in Chile. If you don’t live in Chile, then of course Chilean laws about defamation of character can not possibly apply to you. Where did you say you have been living for many years??? Chile???

Vell Bruixot, please understand that Amazon will not protect your identity, because you alone are responsible for your words, not Amazon.

Oh, one final point about language, since you seem to know a great deal about grammar, at least, prescriptive grammar. You show a total lack of knowledge about descriptive grammar, and no comprehension of the distinction between language in use, nor the evolutionary nature of language. No language is static, it is a dynamic, living, breathing entity that evolves with its speakers, regardless of all attempts at standardization.

A bit of humility would go a long way for you, Vell Bruixot.

To finish, I must give you some options before I consider legal proceedings against you for defamation of character. It is called a “remedy”, a chance to resolve the issue of your defamatory book review out of court. Here are your options:

Option 1: Vell Bruixot, if you are living in Chile, I require you to revise your review (one more time, since you have already rewritten it 5 times now). Revise your review with an apology that you ever said, that I have a (quote) “childlike writing style that suggests heavy indulgence in dangerous drugs or severe closed-head injury.” (end of quote)

Option 2: See you in court. (Vell Bruixot, you decide which alternative you prefer, Option 1 or Option 2).

Keep this in mind: (Quote) Art. 416 Es injuria toda expresión proferida o acción ejecutada en deshonra, descrédito o menosprecio de otra persona. (end of quote)

That’s the law in Chile, the country where you have supposedly been living for “many years.”

About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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