Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rewards for Stupidity

Some of us like to pretend that books offer a more intelligent form of media, existing on a higher plane than dvds or cds or online news, above the sensationalism of some blogs that run on gossip fumes. If nothing else, the long production time should minimize the book publishing industry's ability to benefit from tawdry subjects in a big way.

And then you see news like this, from an article by Tony Allen-Mills as reported in the Sunday Times (UK): "Literary agents are queueing up to sign her to a book deal that could earn her up to $7m. " Who, you ask? Sarah Palin, of course! The article suggests some think she could "emerge as the saviour of the American publishing industry." Now *that's* hype, I believe.

I mean honestly.
With publishers as nervous as everyone else about next year’s economic prospects, Palin’s popularity has become a boon. “Nobody is waiting for George W Bush’s memoirs,” one New York agent noted.

Well fair enough, but any book by Palin would have to be ghost-written within an inch of its life. I don't think she is necessarily stupid, but I refuse to believe she is intelligent or thoughtful. She's all presentation, clearly, and quite frankly, she has a bad attitude. Any book by her would be a defensive tirade against the media, most likely. There are endless things to criticize about American media, but she would most likely skate by each useful critique and instead land punches that offer soundbites at best.

But lest we overlook one brave woman's opinion...
Camille Paglia, the radical feminist, declared that she had “heartily enjoyed [Palin’s] arrival on the national stage”. She had been subjected to “an atrocious and sometimes delusional level of defamation”, Paglia added. “I can see how smart she is and, quite frankly, I think the people who don’t see it are the stupid ones.”

I sometimes enjoy the provocations of Paglia, but I think she's off here. Palin was subjected to serious defamation, but I do not think she's smart. If anything, she's a heck of an actor.

So do us a favor, Palin, and just skip the book idea. Make an inspirational dvd or something, but leave books out of it!

As I type that, though, I'm aware of the money that could go to independent booksellers if such junk was published, which gives me pause. Also, maybe she'll hang herself by her own rope - metaphorically speaking. Hell - put those thoughts together and you have my hearty support - gulp - for a book by one Ms. Sarah Palin.

Books are as low as any form of media, folks. It just saddens me to envision such a stupid book with a cover of her and her glasses trying to look smart sitting on a used bookshelf 3 years after pub, with 5 other copies, all marked down to $1. In the longterm, does this devalue all books?

To answer, here's a comment on the article posted by E. Joyce Moore of Indianapolis:
This will rank right up there with Monica Lewinski's, and the future Joe the Plumber books. No wonder the publishing industry is in trouble. Millions of dollars for books to be returned from the bookstores unsold. You could have had at least ten really good writers/books for the same investment.


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