02 April, 2007

Breaking Stories

...You say smile I say cheese/ Cartier I say please/ Income tax I say Jesus/ I don't wanna be a candidate / For Vietnam or Watergate....

I recently finished Stephen King's Cell, which, for Stephen King, was somewhat sub-standard. It reminded me a bit of The Stand, and I felt as though the characters were shallow. However, I do love King's ability to take something innocuous and turn it into an object of horror. Snarling dog? Check. Poster of Rita Hayworth? Check. Pet graveyard? Check. High school prom? Check. Still, reading sub-par King provides better entertainment than reading the top-notch efforts of many other current fiction authors. Good ones, such as Orson Scott Card, CJ Cherryh and Christopher Moore don't write quickly enough to satisfy me.

Here's a puzzle: Is this art?

(from my NetZero homepage.)

I am wending my way through David Frost's I Gave Them A Sword, which is a behind-the scenes account of the famous Frost/Nixon interviews. These interviews have been made into a successful stage show, which played to sold-out crowds in West End, and is now coming to the Jacobs Theater on Broadway. Ron Howard has already secured the movie rights. Keep me away? Not likely.

I Gave Them A Sword has the honor of being the most hook-y Watergate read I've picked up since Tony Ulasewicz's The President's Private Eye. Now, Tony, by all accounts, was quite the character during the hearings, and his voice was nicely preserved with the help of Stuart McKeever, and so this was an entertaining read in a way that John Dean's Blind Ambition was not.

Maureen Dean's book, Mo, was an annoying piece of fluff, and Judge Sirica's book, while well-written, was not terribly engaging. I picked up Jim McCord's OOP book, A Piece Of Tape, (great title) from Half.com at a real bargain. (I think I got it for under fifty bucks, while dealers who knew what they had were selling it at over $100.00.) After repeated attempts at reading it, I've given up for the time being.

Liddy's Will was fun, if you can laugh at the G-Man's pompous, bombastic style, but I did wonder how much factual information was included. Tricia's book on Pat, again, not bad, but again, not engaging. And okay, yes, All The President's Men was a compelling read, partly because of its immediacy and intimate involvement, but the readablity was Bernstein's doing, I'm convinced, since I haven't made it through a single one of Woodward's solo offerings.

Silent Coup, by Len Colodny, was a dense piece of highly-contested propaganda, but it had a great bibliography, which led me to the incredibly fun- and questionable- Secret Agenda, by Jim Hougan. [Aside: Oliver Stone's film, Nixon is wonderful to watch, but hardly a documentary or even dramatization. 'Heavily slanted' is what I'll call it, for lack of something stronger.]

I Gave Them A Sword , writing-wise, leaves all my Watergate reads in the dust.

...we would make annual requests for the President to appear on the program. The annual White House response had an almost ritual quality to it. It would be signed by Mr. Nixon's press secretary, Ronald Ziegler. Always Ziegler would begin by saying, "I accept your invitation for the President to appear on a show with you." And, always, after "accepting" the invitation, Ziegler would state that the question of if and when to actually make the appearnace on the show would be taken up with the President, with further information to be provided should Mr. Nixon actually agreee to be interviewed.

This touching little habit of accepting pieces of paper on which invitations were written without responding affirmatively to the invitations themselves, I came to accept as wholly innocent indications of Ziegler's ability to render the English language inoperative, even in matters not involving alleged presidential culpability.

I'm not saying you should run out and get this book from the dusty shelf of your local used bookstore. I'm not saying you need to bid on one from eBay, that massive commercial monster who seduces me on a near-daily basis. I'm not saying you should ever read David Frost, watch the interviews, or hear his name ever again. As you know, I'm not so big on 'shoulds.'

But that's some damned fine writing. That's what I'm saying.

I think I know a bunch of kids who (once I forward this link) will clamor to adopt a new religion.

(Thank you to Wil Wheaton.)

I picked up a copy of Stumbling on Happiness, by "renowned Harvard psychologist" Daniel Gilbert(so says the cover flap) because the front cover said this:

"If you have even the slightest curiosity about the human condition, you ought to read it. Trust me."

Usually, I do not find the words 'trust me' remotely reassuring, unlike the words Don't Panic, which always make me smile. In fact, 'trust me' often raises the same kind of red flag that 'you've got to believe me!' does, the red flag of dishonesty, deception, and overacting.

The quote, however, was attributed to Malcolm Gladwell, which changes everything.

And an update: gallery turns chickenshit; no surprise there, really. Exactly where does the Christian doctrine endorse death threats?

Finally, something so silly it stretches credibility.

Find out your peculiar aristocratic title.

This premise is so absurd that it of necessity must become a theme for an upcoming event.

(Bicycle Race; Queen)


Pyllgrum said...

The chocolate Jesus would be art if it had a Cadbury egg creme filling.

Cybele said...

Oh, sweet christ on a stick, I almost coughed up a lung laughing at that. You're so bad you're delicious.