Jersey Shore Book Tours

This is the second installment in the Jersey Shore Satire Series. The first installment was posted on Dec. 4th.

With Jersey Shore becoming the new hotbed of the American Literary scene, it’s inevitable that conflicts will arise as book tours compete for media attention. The following is a fictitious scenario in which the JS cast discuss book publicity tours.

SNOOKI: My book signings are going to be huge theatrical events. I’m going to dress up as Cleopatra and be carried in on a litter borne by hot Nubian slaves.

THE SITCH: Nubian? You’re just making up words again.

SNOOKI: Nubia’s in Africa Sitchy.

JWOW: Whoah. That Nubian slave stuff’s not going to fly.

THE SITCH: Yeah. We don’t need the National African American people raggin on the Guidos for being racist pricks.

JWOW: You know it Sitchy.

SNOOKI: Okay okay. They’ll be Nubian attendants, not slaves, but they’ll still be hot, all ripped and stuff.

THE SITCH: You mean like this?

The Sitch pulls up his shirt revealing his trademark abs.

SNOOKI: Yeah except that these guys will be a lot smarter than you.

The Sitch looks peeved. He points his finger forcefully at Snooki.

THE SITCH: You’ve been Snookin for trouble all day and you’re going to find it pretty soon bee eye to the tch.

SNOOKI: I’m thinking that my next book will be a children’s story called, Snooki and the Sitch. A story about a beautiful princess and her simple-minded foot-servant, Sitch.

THE SITCH: That’s funny because I was going to write a children’s book called, The Sitch and the Bitch. A story about a ripped super-stud and a skanky bitch who thinks she’s so smart, but she ain’t.

SNOOKI: I’ve already got the opening verse of my book written:

      Check out the Sitch
      He lives in a ditch.
      He’s got an itch.
      Poor little Sitch.

THE SITCH: I like my book better. It goes like this.

      Check out l’ll Snooki.
      She looks like a Wookie.
      She ain’t no lookie.
      Not even good nookie.

SNOOKI: Lookie? Oh Sitchy. Words are so confusing to you aren’t they? So many different sounds and meanings and all those rules about how to put them together so they make some sense.

THE SITCH: My agent warned me about this. He told me that having a bestselling book would come at a price – haters jealous of my success.

ANGELINA: Hey where’s the love? We’re Jersey Shore not the Sopranos. We’re not here to whack each other. Why can’t both of you get a Putzer Prize?

Snooki thinks about this seriously for a few seconds.

SNOOKI: We could you know because my book’s fiction and his isn’t, so we’re in separate categories.

ANGELINA: Alright then, Putzer prizes for both of you.

JWOW: I’ll fist pump to that. Who’s with me?

The entire cast starts fist-pumping and chanting.

CAST: Putzer prize, Putzer prize, Putzer prize.

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That Globafuckated Feeling

“That globafuckated feeling” – this is the most abstract phrase in my book. Here’s how I try to describe it. It’s a sense of betrayal. It’s a loss of faith. It’s a degradation of our sense of being special. It’s being cast out of the clan for sins we didn’t commit. It’s the feeling of having been deceived and exploited. It’s a sense that those we trusted are not going to deliver our rewards as promised. It’s the feeling that the timetable for those rewards will continue to be pushed back until eventually they don’t arrive until the afterlife. It’s realizing that we’ve been set up for a letdown, like a child going out on Halloween to collect candy and coming home instead with a bag of turnips. That globafuckated feeling – it’s a bag of turnips on Halloween

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Groundhog Day

These are some comments on the book Wealth and Democracy by Kevin Phillips.

Obviously this book resonates with me and that’s why I referred to it in my book under the thin disguise of the title Wealth And Dupe-ocracy.

The key point of this book is that the pattern of speculative bubbles followed by economic dislocation is nothing new. We’ve been here before. The Gilded Age produced a huge recession just as the bubblicious 1920’s produced the Great Depression. The current bubble-cum-bust follows the same pattern – first there is corruption of the political ideology, followed by corruption of the political process, leading to wanton speculation and then a crash. The key point to take from these earlier examples is the fact that the problem didn’t just go away. Something had to change and it did.

In the first case the trust-busters led the charge to enact reforms. In the 1930’s it was the New Dealers who provided the reforms that produced sixty years of real economic growth. The lesson from history is clear – clean up the mess and a return to prosperity is possible. The first step to doing so will be to build public support for reforms. The gutting of the financial reform bill is the primary evidence that support for reform hasn’t yet reached the point where it can actually happen..

America’s past success has been based on its capacity for self-renewal and that capacity remains in a nation where people are still free to communicate ideas.

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Fast Fiction Update

This post is a clarification of some of the earlier comments I made about fast fiction. I want to make it clear that the “fast” in fast fiction doesn’t pertain to the writing of it. The point of it is to enable fast reading for time-constrained readers. The process of writing fast fiction is actually slower than it is for conventional fiction, because the writer can’t ramble on and the editing process is far more ruthless. Fast fiction is based on the premise that reading should be more like it was when we were children. It should be more about eating ice-cream than eating your vegetables. Fast fiction isn’t intended as a replacement for conventional styles of fiction, but rather as an addition that will provide another alternative to readers.

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The Illusion Of Inclusion

These are some comments about the book  Empire Of Illusion by Chris Hedges.

The central thesis of this book is that we have as a society become so detached from reality that we’ve lost any ability to influence our political or economic destiny. The author asserts that this detachment is no accident. It’s a product of corporate efforts to alter the culture in such a way as to enhance their short-term interests. Various tactics are employed including: mis-directing the anger of the economically alienated; distracting the public with celebrity obsession; manipulating the educational process so as to encourage compliance and discourage debate; brainwashing employees under the guise of “positive psychology” training techniques; corrupting the political process through campaign financing abuse, blitzkrieg lobbying, and lucrative post-government employment; and domination of the political dialogue through the use of “expert” news commentators. All of these efforts combine to create a disempowered public too distracted, apathetic, cynical or deluded to resist expansion of corporate power, even when that power is being used to drag down the standard-of-living of most American citizens.

Hedges maintains that the loss of the critical skills of literacy have led us to become incapable of thinking for ourselves. We have become as malleable as children. In his effort to convince readers of the severity of the problem of low literacy, Hedges employs a dramatic style that some might call hyperbole. Others might accuse him of mucking about in the sewers to dig up the worst aspects of society in professional wrestling and the porn industry. There’s no question that Hedges is calling our attention to all sorts of unpleasant realities. He believes in the necessity of dealing with reality, despite its unpleasantness. He also understands our reluctance to do so. He writes, “The worse reality becomes, the less a beleaguered population wants to hear about it …”

I’d say that I’ve arrived at similar conclusions as Mr. Hedges regarding the issue of literacy. However, my concept of “marketing literacy” is less grandiose than what he’s advocating. Mine is a more functional literacy with no need for references to dead philosophers. Marketing literacy is something that could be taught in high schools, junior colleges, or the local learning annex. Students don’t need much in the way of pre-requisites to be able to inoculate themselves against deceptive marketing techniques. The main obstacle is one of overcoming the tradition of “exploitive leadership” in which charlatans try to build their own credibility by decrying other charlatans. I believe that capable followship is possible provided we start with some honest leadership.

To the list of illusions that Mr. Hedges provides, I’d like to add one more: the illusion of inclusion. This is the illusion that we all have whereby we believe that we will be included among the fortunate few because misfortune happens only to those who deserve it. There are plenty of people who understand that the corporate model is one in which there are squeezers and those who are to be squeezed. This model requires a plantation economy morality that exalts the insiders and denigrates the outsiders. Those content with this arrangement obviously view themselves as insiders even when they work for companies that are actively shedding employees. Many of these people are happy to be making good money for digging shallow graves, never stopping to wonder if maybe someday one of those graves might be their own.

This is a disconcerting book and Mr. Hedges seems to believe that we have good reason to be disconcerted. I tend to agree although he may have painted a picture that’s gloomier than the reality it’s meant to depict. There are still millions of people actively critiquing the politico-economic culture of this country and this book is a valuable tool to help in doing so.

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Jersey Shore Writers Retreat

 While the announcement of Snooki’s book deal with Simon & Schuster caught the world by surprise, no-one will be surprised to see her cast-mates lend their celebrity status to her promotional efforts. Jersey Shore Writers Retreat would be the ultimate promotional vehicle. The idea would be to have the cast collaborate on the upcoming novel, “Jersey Bitch DTR”. Here’s a sampler:

All the cast members are seated in high-back chairs in a private library in an English-style country house. They’re all in their normal attire except for The Situation. He’s in a writerly outfit of corduroy pants, an oxford shirt with a tweed jacket, and a pipe in his mouth.

SNOOKI: C’mon bitches we need a motivation thing to get Jersey Bitch down to read.

THE SITCH: Motivation? You want motivation?

The Sitch sets his pipe down and stands up. He removes his jacket and sets it on his chair.

THE SITCH: How’s this for motivation?           

The Sitch rips open his shirt and starts gyrating his hips while flexing his abs. The rest of the cast, except for Snooki, cheers.

THE SITCH: Is that enough motivation to get Jersey Bitch DTR?

Snooki bolts out of her chair, throws her iPad to the floor, and storms out of the room.

CUT TO: The Sitch talking to the camera.

THE SITCH: Fact is I’m the idea guy for this mofo operation. Everybody thinks Snooki’s all the brains around here just because she’s read a couple books all by herself. That bitch needs to get off her high horse.

CUT TO: Snooki talking to the camera.

SNOOKI: Jersey Bitch DTR was my idea and now the Sitch’s trying to act like he’s all the writer genius because he’s got cut abs. He makes me sick. I feel like getting drunk and puking all over him.

CUT TO: The cast all seated on the floor in front of a chair in which Snooki is seated with a book from which she’s reading.

SNOOKI: … and then the teacher said, “Congratulations Jersey Bitch. You’ve learned how to read. Jersey Bitch smiled. She was happy because now she would be able to read stories to all her illiterate friends, and they’d all live happily ever after.

Snooki closes the book. The rest of the cast cheers and claps.

THE CAST: Again Again Again Again.

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