At the risk of flogging a thoroughly deceased equine, there's a loose end or two to tie up regarding Intelligent Design proponent Denyse O'Leary and her obsessive self-promotion. Apparently (and against all logic), Denyse has actually won a pair of awards for her earlier ID book, "By Design or By Chance?", to which the only possible response has to be, "How the fuck did that happen?" And therein lies a bit of a story, with a lesson to pay attention lest you miss the crucial details.
As an example of O'Leary's constant reminder that she's a winner, we have the following bit of text that appears anywhere O'Leary can find the room to cram it in, like here:
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).
Yes, that does sound impressive, particularly if you don't know what "CBA" stands for. See, up here in Canada, we have a serious outfit called the "Canadian Booksellers Association", who do in fact have their own awards. And if you weren't paying full attention, you might draw the reasonably logical conclusion that that's who we were talking about here.
And you'd be wrong.
Because, in the prose above, O'Leary is actually referring to something called "CBA Canada," which is in fact the Canadian affiliate of the Christian Booksellers Association, which you wouldn't have known since O'Leary conveniently doesn't explain that part of it. You actually have to hunt around to track down the details:
Toronto author Denyse O’Leary has been busy putting Canadian Christian authors on the map this year. The author of two award-winning books was named “Recommended Canadian Author of the Year” by the Christian Booksellers Association Canada in August.
Her latest book, By Design or By Chance?, an overview of the intelligent design controversy, was a double-winner at The Word Guild 2005 Canadian Christian Writing Awards in June.
Yeah, that kind of makes a world of difference, doesn't it? But it's not something O'Leary is keen on sharing with you, as you can tell from a quick Google of the combination of O'Leary's name and the phrase "recommended author of the year" demonstrates.
Notice anything missing in that Google output? Why, yes -- a single mention of the word "Christian" anywhere. How convenient. But we're not quite done.
Perhaps it's just cruel, but I can't help but point out what's happened with CBA Canada lately:
CBA Canada Disbands, Cancels Trade Shows
by Cindy Crosby, Religion BookLine -- Publishers Weekly, 4/25/2007
After more than a quarter of a century, CBA Canada, an independent nonprofit association for Christian booksellers and suppliers, will lock its doors and dissolve its association on April 30.
"The marketplace is tired here," said executive director Marlene Coghlin, who has been with CBA Canada for a dozen years. Membership in the association is down to 186 stores from around 250 in the 1980s, she said. "We're not in a financial crisis," she said, "but it's always better to dissolve when you're not in a bad place." Still, Coghlin admits, "We essentially got pushed by our year-end financials."
Yes, they're dead, Jim. Which really sort of takes the lustre off of those awards. But it sure sounds impressive if you're not paying attention, doesn't it?
BONUS TRACK: If you truly want a reason to claw your eyes out in frustration, you can read this review of O'Leary's magnum dopus. Just don't say you weren't warned.