Friday, July 22, 2011
I did not compose the title of this post or the words copied and pasted below from Amazon. This is certainly one of the best reviews I have received for any of my six books. I shall not mention the review author's name here, in case she would prefer to remain anonymous, but you know who you are and I thank you very much!
If you'd like to have a clear understanding of how we as a nation got from Christopher Columbus (or even the Beatles) to Sarah Palin, you will devour this book. Floyd Orr explains, among many other things, why we felt unsettled when the tone of TV commercials seemed to change in the 1970's, and how and why the corporate and religious forces were fueling the changes.
I once described the author as, "Having the ability to soar high above us in his multicolored balloon, observe the ants (us) scurrying around on the ground below, and able to project the whole societal picture as it will unfold years from now". This book reveals prescience, starting from a historical base, and continuing with a logical progression of facts, leading up to our current "idiocracy".
This is far from a dry read about a heavy subject. Mr. Orr's writing seems a dance upon the piano keys, with a few low notes for impact; an absolute delight that will have you grinning and laughing out loud. An inspired riff on a hypothetical episode of "Designing Women" is brilliant. He runs the gamut of pop culture, therein opening our eyes to what we all sensed was happening, yet couldn't quite put to voice.
But then, a dangerous political chimera in the form of Sarah Palin reared its head. In the most thorough compilation of dated facts, quotes, and interviews, the author presents us with "Babygate": the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American public, wherein Palin's "pregnancy" with a Down Syndrome child was a total fabrication, devised solely for political gain. Floyd Orr gives us the facts - it is up to us to form our own opinions. The accuracy and completeness of the "Babygate Timeline" has never been equalled anywhere.
To sum up: a fun and eye-opening read, suffused with pop culture, explaining how we got to our current situation. An opus of clear thinking, written in an inimitable style. If life is indeed a box of chocolates, each one of the author's chapters has a nougat center.
Monday, July 4, 2011
Remember this guy, ladies? Before Cherilyn Sarkisian, before Madonna Louise Ciccone, there was Fabiano Anthony Forte Bonaparte, discovered by Frankie Avalon and known simply as Fabian to his fans, mostly teenage girls of The Fifties. I must admit that when there was little else to hear on the radio other than Elvis, Ricky, and a little Chuck Berry, even I liked Fabian's "Turn Me Loose", "Tiger", and a few other notable teenybopper hits. In fact, you could probably say that Fabian was the first corporate teenybopper heartthrob, a voice on the radio unaccompanied by the wild live shows of Elvis the Pelvis or the sugar-coated sitcom pioneered by Ricky's parents. Fabian was at one time a screaming success, but it all fell apart when he fired his talented songwriting team and left Chancellor Records. It wasn't long after that that Congress sought his testimony in the big record industry payola scandal of the era. The singer admitted under oath that his voice on his records had been electronically modified to sound better. This event lessened the impact of Fabian's future singing career, but it was likely most affected by the loss of quality songwriters, combined with the personal attention provided by a small record label. Like Elvis, Fabian really wanted to be an actor. His first 1958 album, Hound Dog Man, led to a movie script of the same name released in 1959. He had another lead role in Ride the Wild Surf in 1964, and you can figure out what that masterpiece was about. Probably the most important film in which Fabian had high billing was playing fourth banana to John Wayne, Stewart Granger, and Ernie Kovacs in 1960 in North to Alaska.
The flash in the pan had reached his flashpoint. Fabian continued to record, make more movies, and even appear live with Frankie Avalon. You could see him at The Dick Clark Theater in Branson MO, if you really want to visit Hee-Haw Land, but Fabian's glory days were clearly in 1958-60. Unfortunately, he set the stage for decades of corporate teenybopper trash music to continue assaulting our ears, and wallop our wallets if we have had teenyboppers of our own.
I was wrong! I was wrong! I was wrong! Sarah and her handlers really disappointed me at the Mall of America last week. I thought they knew better than to schedule a flop like that one. Now I don't know what to expect. Some people expected her to declare her official campaign today, but all I hear are crickets and fireworks. My expectation for some time has been that she would declare the tenth anniversary of 9/11 to be renamed Sarah Palin is Queen of the USA Day, but now I just don't know anymore. Bristol has really hit a bump in her road to fame and fortune, and she seems to have her mom along for the ride. Bristol has sold 238 copies of her book in hardback and 26 in Kindle at Amazon. Keith Olberman quoted on his program an industry report of 1497 the first week of release. The Mall of America signing on 6/29/11 netted the sale of 700 books, according to various sources, however I seriously doubt that more than 400 were of Bristol's childish memoir. The rule was that no one could get a copy of either of Sarah's fictional, ghostwritten books signed unless Not Afraid of Life had been purchased, also too. Reports from the mall seemed to settle on a figure of about 350-400 in attendance. The question is, how many morons were actually herded through the empty corral and how many people were there just to watch the circus? Previous events at the same location included 1200 for Sarah's signing of Going Rogue two years earlier and 4000 for Hillary Clinton back in 2003. The final tally for Bristol's ghostwriter seems to be about 2161 that we can verify, plus whatever copies have been sold nationwide outside Amazon since its release on Monday, 6/20/11. Although this figure seems woefully low, I expect that there have been substantial sales at Barnes & Noble and Wally-World stores over the past two weeks, and I cannot express the delight I, or many other authors I know, would experience if we could sell even forty copies at a single book signing. I was wrong in thinking and saying that Sarah and her marketing team were better at this game.
About twenty teenage twerps were present at the 5 a.m. opening bell for wrist bands at the Bristol/Sarah event. These young clowns had twelve hours to wait in the empty corral for their heroines of Christian Crazy Abstinence from doing the doo-dah to show up. Only then could they purchase a copy of lost virginity and other tales of lost grandeur at full price and have their favorite Moron Queens scribble a name on the title pages. The flashpoint has been reached, ladies and gentlemen. The cat has escaped from the bag, the clown car is full and no other morons may enter the car. The dark-haired Queen of Minnesota has taken the Scepter of Craziness away from the Alaskan Snow Queen and her progeny. I was wrong. I was wrong. I was wrong.
Follow-up: Bristol had her second book signing late yesterday (7/5/11) at the Books-a-Million in Homewood AL, a suburb of Birmingham, a city of 1.2 million with a 24% white demographic. Homewood, however, is a tiny suburb of 24,000 that happens to be 80% white. Now isn't that a coincidence, something Bristol's mom insists does not exist? According to the Birmingham News, about fifty idiots were lined up for the signing beginning at 7 p.m. This is how we swirl down the drain, swirl down the drain....