Friday, March 4, 2011

Books for Idiots

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Books were once literary achievements penned by intellectual giants.  People like Jack London, Edith Wharton, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, and Mark Twain told us tales and eternal truths of the human condition that challenged us to recognize the plight of others and work to make society a better place for all.

Today there are still some fine authors carefully crafting their thoughts into tomorrow's masterpieces, but there are also quite a few typists out there pounding crap into cheap paperbacks with the sole intent of shameless self-promotion.  This is especially true of the political classes.  When a politician has his or her eye on the Presidency, for example, a book on the market serves several purposes.  It puts his name on the book shelves, gets him invited onto talk shows to peddle his bound pages, provides a ticket and a reason for going into places that might otherwise be hard to justify - like New Hampshire or Iowa - and lets him fashion a printed philosophy designed purely to incite the rubes.

Yes, Democrats are almost as likely as Republicans to suddenly claim to be authors, but they are very unlikely to be invited onto Fox News, by each other, to plug their lame efforts.  Republicans have turned cranking out nonsense cloaked as books into an art form.

As a case in point, let's look at the five Fox news personalities that I mentioned yesterday:  Gingrich, Santorum, Bolton, Huckabee, and Palin.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is actually a history professor (of sorts) who has written a couple of historical volumes - primarily about George Washington and the Second World War.  But Newt is currently focused on politics.  Here is a sampler of what he has been grinding out over the past five years:  Rediscovering God in America:  Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation's History (2006), Real Change:  The Fight for America's Future (2009), and  To Save America:  Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine (2011).  Notice how the author manages to squeeze the entire thrust of his message into the title?  Most of the following use the same technique - a short, crisp title, followed by a colon and a colorful harangue.

Little Ricky Santorum, former Senator from Pennsylvania, hasn't had a book on the market since 2006, but he wants to be President in the worst way - the only way he could possibly be President - so I would expect that he has something about ready to go to press.   Santorum's three most recent print endeavors appear to be:  It Takes a Family:  Conservatism and the Common Good (2005), Rick Santorum (2005), and Darwin's Nemesis:  Phillip Johnson and the Intelligent Design Movement (2006) which he wrote with William A. Dembski.  So, in case you have any doubts, Little Ricky is a conservative Catholic with a houseful of kids who doesn't believe in any of that evolutionary crap.  And, by authoring a book in which his name is the entire title, one might also suppose that he has a bit of an ego!

John Bolton, former Ambassador to the United Nations - the one appointed by George Bush but never confirmed by the Senate - has put out two titles in the past four years:  Surrender is not an Option:  Defending America at the United Nations (2007), and How Barack Obama is Endangering our National Sovereignty (2010).   How sad that we as a nation had to have someone of Bolton's limited world view representing us at the United Nations.   Fortunately, the President gaveth and the Senate tooketh away!

Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, like Gingrich, had a career outside of politics, albeit a very similar career.  He was a minister where, like a politician, his survival was dependent upon being able to root his way up to the public trough where he was supported by the kindness of others.  So Huckabee has a couple of books out on things like Christmas and religion, but he is also focused on keeping his face before the redneck public.  Huckabee's four most recent political diatribes are:  From Hope to Higher Ground:  12 Steps to Restoring America's Greatness (2007), Do the Right Thing:  Inside the Movement that's Bringing Common Sense Back to America (2008), Character Makes a Difference:  Where I'm From, Where I've Been, and What I Believe (2009), and A Simple Government:  Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington (and a Trillion that We Don't! (2011).  Obviously the Reverend Mister Huckabee has some sort of hangup (or history) with 12-step programs.  And, for those who didn't make the connection with the first title, he is from the town of Hope, Arkansas, the same small community that foisted Bubba Clinton on an unsuspecting world.

Then there's Sarah.  The former half-term Governor of Alaska who commented recently on the "country" of Africa, is probably not a great consumer of books -  to state the obvious - but she has authored two with the able assistance of ghostwriters.  Sarah's contribution to American literature include:  Going Rogue:  An American Life (2009) and America by Heart:  Reflections of Family, Faith, and Flag (2010).  Sarah, being Sarah, probably has somebody chained to the keyboard at this very moment writing her third magnum opus.

And speaking of Alaska's most famous family of grifters:  Bristol Palin also has her own book deal.  She is too young to run for President, or even Congress, but the new Arizona resident knows the value of getting her name out before the public.  And who knows, she may even decide to run for Congress from Arizona in a couple of years - when she tires of the tedious college party circuit.   She dances almost as well as Tom DeLay, and has almost as much political gravitas as Ben Quayle!  What a natural!

Happy reading!


Don said...

I don't think we need worry about Palin running for president. She can make far too much money in appearance fees and television.

It's hard to believe that she'd want to go through another Katie Couric-type snafu.

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

I agree, Don. But if she doesn't at least act like she is going to run, she loses her relevance. No relevance, no easy income.