Saturday, December 29, 2012

Here's a Helpful Nudge, Mayans

     Well, since the December 21st apocalypse turned out to be another Harold Camping-class clusterfuck and all-around disappointment, what better way to help move things along than to settle for second-best and embrace, if not the physical destruction of earth, the intellectual flatlining of western civilization? Hell, even if I can't facilitate evangelical Bible-bangers' rise to heaven like Spider Man on Broadway, the least I can do is to shoo along our inevitable transition to the stunningly prescient documentary, Idiocracy.
     One foot was put squarely in the primordial ooze with the incomprehensible publication of Christine O'Donnell's I Only Dabbled in Witchcraft But Not My Clit, discourtesy of St. Martin's Press. O'Donnell's literary agent, Trident Media CEO Daniel Strone, for unfathomable reasons, thought having a book written after O'Donnell's humiliating Senate loss in 2010 and selling the fictional property sight unseen, with no chance for either his agency nor the auction bidders to do a comprehensive P&L on it, would be a corker of an idea. Unforeseen for equally inexplicable reasons was Danny Boy's client, the perfect delineation of a sow's ear unsuccessfully turned into a silk purse that never seemed to get full, essentially violating the terms of her fast-tracked contract and walking out on Piers Morgan's show when she was supposed to be pimping her lead balloon of a book.
     Oops. Who could've possibly seen that coming as well as the sales news that even a month after its release O'Donnell's ghost-written masterpiece would sell about as well as Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in the Castro (about 2200 copies, last I heard, or an average of 44 per state)?
     The other foot was planted firmly in the ooze when the news broke last October that Random House, just prior to its merger with the Penguin Publishing Group, decided to buy the rights to HBO starlet's Lena Dunham's Oberlin-inspired opus, Not That Kind of Girl, for approximately $3.6 million (a hideously high advance that Random House, obviously and justifiably ashamed of itself, refused to confirm). God knows we need more books such as the kind Dunham sold by circulating her 66 page proposal comprised of enticing snippets and colored pie charts and whatever else she regurgitated between brass brads before using her show business connections to circulate: Naval-gazing by a child of privilege (her mother knows Meryl Streep, doncha know?)
     So I figured, since my fiction is going nowhere in a warp-driven interstellar spaceship, why not counter such chick lit (come to think of it, why don't we eschew the pararhyme and go for broke, calling it "clit-lit", since that's what it really is on a quasi intellectual level) with a blue collar, middle-aged man's advice to the lovelorn, politically dysfunctional and other various and sundry fuckups wondering where their life went after that Thanksgiving touchdown pass that won the state championship in 1976?
     What follows are extracts of a proposal that I plan on sending to Kimberly Witherspoon, Dunham's literary agent at Inkwell Management (wouldn't it be sweet if she was related to Legally Blonde star Reece Witherspoon?), the agent that negotiated the deal that put $3.6 million worth of pennies on the eyes of western culture.

     As far back as I could remember, I wanted to write and be famous and shit. I think it started when I was three when my Mom and Dad got me my first set of building blocks with the letters and numbers on them. I think the first word I spelled out was "penis", perfectly spelled, and thus began my neverending and fruitless relationship with child psychologists and therapists.

     If a man writes a perfectly spelled, formatted, punctuated and personalized proposal and it gets ignored by brain-dead, career-driven, opportunistic literary agents, was it ever really written?

     When I was 19, I sold jokes to Rodney Dangerfield, who taught me a real lesson in disrespect. Does my proximity to actual stars of actual talent to any appreciable degree rub off on me and my opus?

     If John Cook makes fun of this when I hit the big time, should I write a book about that, too, and decry class warfare and sour grapes or will my blue collar roots somehow invalidate that assumption?

     I never went to poetry camp but I did speak with Lee Camp during a podcast recently. Plus, he recently followed me on Twitter. Plus, I drop his name a lot as if I personally know him.

     I had my first orgasm at age 12. I thought I died from sheer pleasure. Is that why the orgasm is called "the little death" or does that refer to the male brain's state of enervation after the endorphins stop popping?

     Ever since I hit 40, I realized I can't stop farting when I pee. In fact, I can't stop farting at all, which means I have to soon choose between corn beef and cabbage and my love life. And what's with this shit about losing hair where I need it and liberally sprouting it where I don't?

     The best advice I ever gave my sons: Be true to who you are and you will attract the true friends who will gain your confidence and then stab you in the back with a serrated steak knife they will twist. This will serve them in good stead if and when they ever decide to become writers in their own right.

     My greatest fear is that one day we will run out of justifications for throwing wealth at those already brought up in wealth and privilege and explaining to the unwashed masses why this should always be so.

     When will we finally give up this pretense that publishing is all about literacy and publishing the best and brightest and just own up to the fact that, like Hollywood, it's all about being the first to do something second and the very first to do something stupid?

     When I reached 40, I feared I would never get another hardon again until I finally realized I'd been breading my penis with cocaine.

     Even before I sold jokes to Rodney Dangerfield, I was precocious and willful. Entirely through self-will, after years at gazing at my naval, I finally trained myself not to laugh at the phrase "belly button."

     I never went to a fancy college like Oberlin but I did get lost in Cambridge once on my way to court and passed by Harvard University. Plus I once woke up at a Holiday Inn with no recollection whatsoever of actually checking in the night before.

     Lord knows a privileged 26 year-old has accrued vast amounts of life experience to offer ersatz advice for the clueless but think of how much a man twice Dunham's age can offer to those with $10 to throw away on a trendy book for which "75% off!" stickers are already being mass-produced. For instance, when shopping around a proposal half as big as a Hollywood script, just ignore the rules that literary agencies such as Inkwell has for the rest of us whose Moms don't know Meryl Streep and ask for just a few sample pages of material. Try the salutation, "Dear Wouldbe Employee..."

     I promise if you can get me a three and a half million dollar deal, Gawker will satirize me, too, and generate lucrative negative publicity, which is infinitely a less cynical a business model than actually cultivating an actual author's career.

4 Comments:

At December 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM, Anonymous lless said...

JP Since you are in a vendetta state of mind, I know how you can save civilization and run "Not that Kind of Girl" off the rails. Call up Random House and threaten to cherry bomb the executive commode. Ask Rushdie what happened to his soft cover issue on Satanic Verses after the nutbags made noises.

 
At December 30, 2012 at 4:59 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

"the deal that put $3.6 million worth of pennies on the eyes of western culture."

Right on! 100% correct.

 
At December 31, 2012 at 10:30 AM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

JP, let me help you:

The Marketing Department of American Capitalism decided way back in the 1980s that the 18 - 24 year old segment is the only population that counts.

Since you are not writing for the 18 - 24 year old segment, the Marketing Department standing rules decree that your writing shall not be published. Quality and quantity of writing is not a consideration that the Marketing Department takes into account when considering which books to allow to be published.

"Not that kind of girl" was written by a 26 year old and is directed at the 18 - 24 year old segment. That is why she gets a solid-gold house and rocket car.

I suggest you create a persona that is about 26 years old and female, and write claptrap toward the Only Demographic That's Important, even if it's brazenly hackneyed recycled crap, because it will be 'new' to the 18 - 24 year old segment, for whom the Marketing Department has told that everything they buy is always brand new.

And why do those old rock bands always rip off songs from the Glee TV show, anyway?

 
At December 31, 2012 at 11:04 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

The ironic thing is the 18-24 demographic is likely the one that reads the LEAST. We have a vast generation of kids who know the lyrics to every Kanye West rap song but not a single line by Keats or Shakespeare.

 

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