Literary Offenses

I've been thinking about the Microsoft TDD travesty article -- Alan has a good aggregation of various TDD community responses, so I'll refer you to him, as I have nothing to add that hasn't already been well said elsewhere (Also see James Shore's rebuttal, if you need more than what Alan is linking to) -- and the unfortunate fact that someone somewhere will believe its a good work simply because its published under the name "Microsoft." This reminded me of one of my all time favorite flame/rebuttals of an appeal to authority.

I am referring of course to the Mark Twain essay: James Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses. One of the funniest literary critques I've ever read (and a model for those who seek to perfect the art of flaming).

Classic -- although perhaps a bit much in light of the current "If you can't say nothin' nice..." censorship sensibilities of mainstream America these days. Regardless, this has always been one of my favorites -- and while I don't think the Microsoft article is quite as far-fetched as Cooper Indians missing that 4 foot drop onto the 90 foot boat house moving 1 mile per hour under their sapling, it wouldn't shock me to find out that Cooper was an inspiration for the article's author.

I realize that this entry points in two different directions: one leads to a classic essay of American literature, the other to a terrible article with a hopefully short lifetime.

If you have time to read only one, choose the essay.