Bob Edwards Fired by NPR

At the risk of coming out of the radio junkie closet, “natural evolution,” my ass! Canning Bob Edwards is like pissing on the pontiff’s robe. You just don’t do it.

[UPDATE: If you’d like to write a letter, NPR’s address is 635 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001. Letters, by way of being physical objects, are more likely to be read than email. So get at it, folks.]

The Liz Penn/Dana Stevens Reader

Because, beyond the usual spot, well, someone had to do it. If there are any more, please advise.

Surface Beauty (Slate, Oct. 31, 2003)
These Are a Few of My Favorite Things (Slate, Nov. 20, 2003)
Antiques Gone Wild (Slate, Dec. 10, 2003)
The $3.77 Million Wedding (Slate, Dec. 11, 2003)
Laughter in the Workplace (Slate, Dec. 19, 2003)
Global Domination (Slate, Dec. 30, 2003)
Idol Pleasures (Slate, Jan. 2, 2004)
Dysfunctional Family Values (Slate, Jan. 7, 2004)
Terminal Boredom (Slate, Jan. 13, 2004)
Going Postal (Slate, Jan. 19, 2004)
Creature Feature (Slate, Jan. 29, 2004)
Primary Colors (Slate, Feb. 4, 2004)
Mr. Nice Guy (Slate, Feb. 5, 2004)
I’m With the Bland (Slate, Feb. 9, 2004)
Little Women in the City (Slate, Feb. 23, 2004)
Fallen Star (Slate, March 2, 2004)
Insignificant Others (Slate, March 10, 2004)
Sister Act (Washington Post, March 14, 2004)

Status Report

Uninstalled all useless programs and needless diversions. Ruthless rigor maintains through various threads of life. Urban detritus cleared and disposed of almost but just how the hell did I get that National Review? Was I drunk? Ah, roommate’s. Returned.

Dawning conclusion: there are too many uncompleted textual snippets on my computer. Something close to four hundred generated in the last six months. This is wrong. The mark of a failure. Oh stop. Now with gigabytes to spare, this will change. A lot of these, much like these blog entries, could use editing, as the kind people here have commented. Or even completion. Further: there was a frightening number of bottlecaps collected and placed into one spot over several months. Enough to stop any man from drinking.

The book system has become managable. I have disposed of endless magazines. No fear. One can move forward without reading everything. It doesn’t have to hurt.

And now the ultimate steering of the vessel. Sure repeats won’t get me down. Sudden rise in evening socials! The play! Impetus baby thank you folks who kicked at opportune moments.

(Bueno/mal)practice works both ways.

A daring thought: should I get rid of my television? It’s never on.

Generalizations Work Several Ways


That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a traitor. He may be an idiot, a maroon, a 33rd degree moonbat, but heís still a traitor. That is a man who celebrates the death of Americans (and others) and supports the people who killed them. Oh, sure, heís nuts. But he fits right in. So what were all these people against, exactly?

500 soldiers dead?
9,000 total dead in Iraq?


That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a traitor. He may be an idiot, a maroon, a 33rd degree moonbat, but heís still a traitor. That is a man who celebrates the death of Americans (and others) and supports the people who killed them. Oh, sure, heís nuts. But he fits right in. So what were all these people against, exactly?

Ron Brown? Vince Foster? Waco? Oklahoma City? 2,000 bombed in Yugoslavia?


That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a traitor. He may be an idiot, a maroon, a 33rd degree moonbat, but heís still a traitor. That is a man who celebrates the death of Americans (and others) and supports the people who killed them. Oh, sure, heís nuts. But he fits right in. So what were all these people against, exactly?

Lebanon? El Salvador? Nicaragua?

CONCLUSION: It is impossible to write about politics without sounding Manichean. That won’t stop the angry.

Feminism and Motherhood

I’m just as mystified (and as unfortunately gendered) as Tim Kevin, but I also have to ask: What’s so wrong about taking a look at women who want to be stay-at-home moms or to have kids before the biological clock? I’ve read the Daphne de Marneffe interview twice and, from what I can see, it looks like de Marneffe’s simply trying to get inside basic child care issues, at least as they apply to the stay-at-home mom or the aspiring mom: how much time is enough, how do you balance various attentions, and the like.

What’s particularly interesting is that de Marneffe’s assessing how societal norms influence stay-at-home mothers, and whether these norms are compatible with the realities. In addition, de Marneffe’s taken an interesting position: feminism and psychoanalysis have looked upon the childrearing role as somehow regressive or limiting, and have sometimes failed to account for it or integrate it with the empowered woman.

By no means does this condemn or dismiss feminism. But it does point out one of its potential limitations. (And this is, interestingly enough, where Betty Friedan was roasted.) In fact, back in 1997, Anne Roiphe wrote Fruitful: A Real Mother in the Modern World, a book dealing with this very issue: how do you balance feminism and motherhood? Are they so antipodal? (Jim Lehrer interview here.)

I’d have a real problem if de Marneffe was suggesting that being a mother was the only option for a woman. But she’s not. She’s not categorizing men as hunter-gatherers or women as nurturers. She’s looking into women who want to exercise responsibility, albeit in a maternal role. That’s certainly a wider swath than the Caitlin who shall remain unnamed.

Honestly, I don’t get the anger here. If the Third Wave is to advance, then these things do need to be addressed. Outside of a classist argument (which would preclude the desire and certainly limits de Marneffe’s scope), would Jessa or some other person explain to my addled Y-chromosome ass why looking into this issue is bad?

[3/23/04 UPDATE: Jessa clarifies her position, which arises from books she’s currently reading. I understand. Right now, I’m reading Eric Kraft’s Peter Leroy books. While they’ve proven to be fun, the constant references to clams really annoy me. To the point where I’ve avoided clam chowder, clam salad, and anything relating to clams. Plus, I inadvertently referred to Kevin as Tim, demonstrating that I’m irrevocably addled. I promise to befriend more Kevins in the next six months.]

[3/23/04 PM UPDATE: And another interview with de Marneffe is up at the NYT. Patricia Cohen does a better job clarifying the conundrum than Salon did. Ayelet Waldman also weighs in, whereby she quibbles over the universal application of motherhood. And more from Liz Kolbert.]

Literary Smut

This is London: “Publisher Vintage calls its new Blue edition of 12 modern titillating novels ‘sexed-up classics’ – they are effectively using sexual content to sell literature.” (via Sarah)

Return of the Reluctant has obtained an exclusive Vintage Blue book cover for a forthcoming edition of Portnoy’s Complaint:


Confessions of a Useless Complainer — A Special Guest Column by Jane Austen Powers Doe

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Jane Austen Powers Doe, now in therapy, had several additional things she hoped to say after her Salon article. Since I was still on hiatus, and since Ms. Doe threatened to send me a new email every hour, complaining about some new inanity, until I published her followup article, and since I’ve had absolutely no luck with any spamblock software, the only solution was to get her to shut up by posting her followup. Also, at Ms. Doe’s request, I have added a second middle name. Apparently, the Salon staff wanted to narrow it down to one bad cultural joke. Unfortunately, here at RotR, we have to live with two. I hereby post the followup article and continue my hiatus.]

“Midlist authors are, quite frankly, people who should shut their traps. Most of them realize this and maintain a quiet indignity. Many of them are understandably annoyed by their failure to break through into commercial markets, but they are so far involved with the writing racket that they realize it’s ineluctable, and a lot better than working at Starbucks to boot. Which is not to suggest that they’re not working part-time jobs. The worst cases, however, not only fail to appreciate their privilege (notwithstanding lack of lucre), but feel the need to write about it in a whiny anonymous essay.” — David Armstrong, “How Not to Quote Me Out of Context,” 2004, unpublished.

Reader Advisory: Perhaps I did not warn you enough in the other article, but it is my hope to caution you sufficiently this time around. Be forewarned. This essay is worthless to almost anyone outside of reading and writing circles. I’ve broken every unspoken law of decency. I’m complaining about a life just outside every failed or unpublished writer’s reach. I’m also going through a midlife crisis right now and I’m on the brink of a divorce. And Salon didn’t quite understand that publishing a Dave Eggers political satire isn’t the way to revive interest. So they were looking for any sign of misery they could muster.

Unfortunately, they rejected my followup article. They figured that two articles by me were enough. Fortunately, my blackmail scheme has worked and you will hear my complaints, sans sotto voce.

Still with me? Great. I can see you enjoy reading the memoirs of self-absorbed dormice.

I won’t dare reveal who I am. But let’s just say that trying to proposition Michael Chabon was a bad idea. How was I supposed to know that he was happily married? And to a nice attorney-turned-writer to boot! He was actually quite nice about it, and gave me the names of a few authors who would be interested in a quid pro quo that would help my career. At least I think it was Michael. It might have been that scruffy guy who asked me for a smoke just after Michael kicked me out of his house. Of course, Michael was nice about that too. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Think you can figure me out? I’m pretty confident you won’t. Of course, this raises a conundrum. If I’m trying to be candid about the publishing industry and my history as a writer, how can you separate the truth from the fabricated details? We all know the old axiom that writers are, by their very nature, liars. On what imprimatur can a case be made that I’m even a novelist?

Interlude: Edward Champion Emails Me Back

“Will you stop emailing me Word files of your unpublished manuscript and naked JPEGs of yourself? Especially those shots of you at the Colma cemetery. Really! I’m flattered, but I’m not interested. Sorry. I have very specific ways to take care of this part of my life. Besides, don’t you have a marriage to save? Would it help matters if I published your addendum? THEN will you leave me alone?”

The Story

Well, as you all know, Mr. Champion published me. The closest thing to oral sex that I could get from the guy.

Beyond that, there’s the history of the article. I tried to pitch Talbot on an article for their sex section. How does a midlist writer kill time when her husband’s away? What are the many thing she does to not write? And how does her relentless kvetching alienate her from the other people in her life?

Talbot thought it would be better if I narrowed in on more “writerly” things, and suggested the “confessions” approach, seeing as how the Who is Belle de Jour? thing was really big right now. And so here we are.

First off, there’s the David Armstrong quote to address. When I quoted Armstrong initially, it was with the idea that more people would purchase copies of Less than Kind. But even Armstrong had to confess that his book-length confession was more of a deft publishing scam than anything else. In one single stroke, he could draw attention to his previous books and sell a publisher on a niche book.

I decided to approach Armstrong for the article. But Chabon had contacted him and told him a number of deceptions and vicious lies. Furthermore, Armstrong’s name was not on the list that Michael the guy outside of Michael’s house had given me. So he was dead set against seeing me.

What more could I do then but quote his book?

Another thing: Salon hoped that the other anonymous writers would get you to buy into my mostly fictitious story. Well, I made them up too. Never mind the recent news of Jack Kelley, whose fabrications make Jayson Blair look like a harmless cub reporter.

There is, of course, no way to corroborate all this. Lies in a mainstream publication are okay when you’re anonymous.

When they say: “Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair’s books haven’t sold.”

What that means: “They haven’t heard from a novelist.”

When they say: “Aren’t these longass articles detracting from your writing?”

What that means: “Come on, the media environment is self-referential ad nauseam.”

There Was a Time

There was a time, just a decade ago, when articles dealing with the publishing industry would be devoted to more substantial topics. There was a time when the self-entitlement and the collective narcissism of a nation didn’t spill over into the world of writers, when most writers understood that they weren’t in this for the cash and they wouldn’t become rich doing what they loved.

Those times are over.

I’m happy to have done my job and burned a few more bridges in the process.

I Prefer Another, Subtler Scotsman

Those crazed tartan-wearing journalists are at it again. The link between terrorism and fiction certainly deserves to be addressed, but there are better ways to go about it than this:

The one fictional insight into terrorism everyone knows or at least everyone claims as authority is Joseph Conradís The Secret Agent. Itís not Conradís subtlest book but sadly just one line has been lifted from it and waved about as if it were a profound truth: “The terrorist and the policeman both come from the same basket”. Taken out of context, itís one of the most dangerous ideas ever to travel from a novelistís mind and into the collective (semi) consciousness. Even allowing for the oddity of “basket”, which might be Conradís Polish-English idiom faltering when he meant “nest” or “cradle”, or might be his shrewd economistís mind recognising that ideologies can be shopped for, even allowing for all of that, itís a dangerous idea to take as your text.

Yo, Bagpipes! Conrad learned his English when he was 21 by reading the London Times and Shakespare. And he was 50 when he wrote those words. I’m pretty sure he knew what he was writing when he wrote down “basket.”

(via Moorish Girl)

mercredi 17 mars

The people who have been “outed” as me aren’t me, nor are they you, BdJ, Free to Be, You and Me, Edward Champion, or Dr. Mabuse. Furthermore, these people have attracted attention that is neither wanted by you nor unwanted by me, or anywhere within the twain. For those who wanted the attention, or who mistakenly believed they were loved, or for those who believed that they were “outed,” or for those who are convinced that they have a book deal, are you mad? There are only a few people who should really care and who can be loved, or who believe that this is a big deal, or who hope to stroke BdJ’s leg on the mantle.

To the critics “working” in anonymity, who have not yet been “outed” or who secretly hope to be “outed.” You have too much time on your hands, and it is quite possible you want to believe that you have “outed” yourselves. Failing that, there’s the red lipstick, the graveside bukkake, the book deal, and of course the fact that your “outing” isn’t necessarily wanted or unwanted by those who have “outed” or who are “working” to be wanted.

I quote a cynical stalker: Please. Give me strength. My life is empty. I want to fuck people for money too. To them I say, there’s a Frederick’s of Hollywood at your local mall. Whip out your credit card and begone! We need more whores in Bakersfield.

This is rubbish that has been “outed” and is not “working” and far too meta for my taste. I want to write to those who’ve been fucked (i.e., not “outed” and “working”) at least three times, preferably through their own charm and initiative. Let us return to lots of fucking, “outing,” and other things that are “working,” so that everyone can more or less be wanted, shall we?

Failing that, a public viewing of Paul Verhoeven’s Business is Business (1973) will do.

Racking Up Deceit One Day at a Time

Amazon reviews, blurbs, and now Lit Idol is tainted.

“I cheated,” Losada admitted. “I voted four times.” There were some empty chairs in the room, and each chair had a voting machine. She scooped up a few extra and voted again. “I was very concerned that the best writer win. I only had four votes. I suspect he would have won anyway.”

(via Publisher’s Lunch)

Our Books, Our Times

Publishers are prepared. Hot on the heels of the Nancy Drew update, several new offerings are in the works.

Encylopedia Brown and the Case of the Fixed Election: Encyclopedia Brown and Sally Kimball are asked by a cowering Democrat to investigate tampered votes. The Democrat, afraid of taking a stand, bolts to Europe. Bugs Meany, paid off by Kathleen Harris, kidnaps Sally and throws her into a den of whores. Encyclopedia Brown attempts to use logic to get Sally out. But despite Brown’s carefully crafted solution, Bugs (along with Jeb’s other hired thugs) beat him to a bloody pulp. Brown gets a job at Arby’s, moving into a warren with other failed child detectives. The answers at the back of the book have been replaced by an unemployment insurance application.

Anne of Green Parties: Anne and Gilbert move from Avonlea to Berkeley, where the two become involved in the 2000 Ralph Nader campaign and open up a Canadian Vegan restaurant (complete with organic coffee). A greedy property developer hoping to franchise the idea across the nation attempts to buy Anne and Glbert out. While getting into a brawl with Gore supporters, Gilbert decides on a whim that he’s a carnivore and that he can’t in all good conscience vote for Ralph, let alone operate a restaurant. Fracas over dietary habits ensues, along with a climactic courtroom battle.

The Littles Go to Hollywood: The Littles, tired of dealing with domestic squabbles with the Biggs, decide to move to Hollywood and sow their wild oats. In search of Michael J. Anderson, a man who they have seen on HBO, the Littles must contend with cracked vials and used syringes deposited in their home, along with a cruel plastic surgeon who hopes to remove all the Littles’ tails and use them for scientific research.

Dorothy and the Transient in Oz: A shaggy unshowered man shows up in the East. Aunt Em and Dorothy build a halfway house next to the Emerald City to service this man and others like him who may arrive. But Dorothy doesn’t count on Aunt Em leaving Uncle Henry for a clandestine affair involving the transient and a winged monkey.

Snail Mail Update

Ladies and gentlemen, there are still slots left in the Snail Mail Experiment! And burgeoning interest. So come one, come all! Until of course the number hits fifteen! Email address and sentences to

On Pen Names

[3-18-04 UPDATE: The grandiloquent Crabwalk was mistakenly referred to in this post as “Crabtree.” This was, of course, unpardonable. I only note that, at the time I had posted this entry, I had just come back from lunch, where I had walked past Lotta’s Fountain, a majestic landmark that almost nobody notices. I wasn’t really cognizant of the walking. It was wandering, really. I was also reading Eric Kraft, and Kraft kept referring to sea life in unusual situations, with quirky characters and delightful comic situations to boot. I had also been thinking about eucalyptus trees — no tree in particular. But put two and two together, and you begin to see the many factors that allowed me to screw up this post. I leave “Crabtree” in this post for the record, but this preface should make it abundantly clear that it was Crabwalk, and nothing but the Crabwalk. The sin remains unchanged, and I permit Josh Benton to flog me at some future unspecified date. Preferably with an audience to laugh and point.]

The Post‘s book coverage continues to impress me. And not just because of Jonathan Yardley’s retro recommendations, or the fact that they’ve grown wise to the lit blogging community covering books. This review of The Bronte Myth, for example, is written by “Dana Stevens,” the cheeky pseudonym of Liz Penn (and I suspect that “Penn,” by way of its sound, is a pen name, rather than a real one). But it’s also a cheeky reference to the subjects of the bio. The Bronte sisters, as we all know, took the Bell name because, as women, they felt they wouldn’t be taken seriously as novelists.

But according to Crabtree, it looks like Dana Stevens is someone just having fun, for the same reasons that Donald Westlake’s Richard Stark persona allowed him to write additional novels in a gritter style. Sometimes, the circumstances are not so insouciant, as was the case for screenwriters who submitted their scripts through other people during the dark days of McCarthyism (a situation captured well in Martin Ritt’s excellent film, The Front).

I just don’t understand why anyone would be offended by it. An author has his or her own reasons for maintaining a pseudonym and, if it harms no one, then what is there to get upset about? Part of the fun is respecting an author’s right to pen something in whatever style or name he chooses. Ultimately though, regardless of an author’s name or alias, it’s the work that matters most of all.

(via JC)

Orange Longlist

I’d be sadly remiss if I neglected to mention the Orange longlist, which has been covered in full on several other blogs. Not only can these ladies write, but (and this has been kept on the q.t.) they can also eat more oranges in a single sitting than Andrew Sean Greer or Mark Hadon at their most robust.

Almost all of the nominees are sui generis, and nearly all of give me some kind of tingly feeling. With the exception of Anne Tyler, an appearance tantamount to John Wayne winning an Oscar for True Grit.

Because Everyone Needs a Hired Lapdog

The Flood Bowl: “Dear E, Thank you for your email. I’m sorry to say that I found your response disappointing. I specifically asked you to suggest time and dates to meet. Your response did not answer my question, and, in fact, ultimately made more work for me. Again, I’m sorry, but thank you for your time, but you won’t be right for this position. Best, R.” (via Maud)

Link Dump

Norwegian novelist Finn Carling has passed on. Carling specialized in alienation and misfits ignored by mainstream society. Book & Writers has a profile on the man.

The film rights for Clive Woodall’s One for Sorrow: Two for Joy have been sold to Disney for $1 million. But the incredible thing is that Woodall still hasn’t quit his day job at the supermarket. What’s the matter, Clive? You can’t honestly tell me that there a shortage of supermarket managers in the UK.

The Times is on the ball this morning with those snappy headlines.

Shakespeare’s will is now available online (PDF). Unfortunately, there’s nothing left of his estate to distribute. However, fortune hunters hoping to score some loot are advised to pursue a bride-to-be in the Hamptons and, as a general practice, consider more recent family lineage.

An Arthur Conan Doyle archive has landed at a London law firm. There are 3,000 items, many of them previously disappeared into protracted legal disputes from forty years ago. But more importantly, there’s a treasure trove of manuscripts (80% of which have never been published), including an early sketch of A Study in Scarlet. Also making its appearance in the collection is the first known piece of Holmes/Watson slash fiction. Who knew that Doyle penned this himself?

HarperCollins has attacked Soft Skull‘s How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office. They claim the title’s too close to Michael Moore’s book. Meanwhile, the fate of the soon-to-be-published How to Prevent Stupid White Men (Who Are Also Quite Rich) from Selling Lots of Fulminating, Unreadable Political Books Clutched by Undergrads and Packed with Generalizations remains undetermined.

Franck Le Calvez has lost his Finding Nemo suit. The judge noted that the two disputed fictional fish have different smiles. Moreover, Le Calvez’s fish is French and, thus, frightening to American children.

Alex Beam revisits the myth of Deborah Skinner, B.F.’s daughter, who was, as the legend goes, purportedly locked in a box for several years. Lauren Slater has a new book, Opening Skinner’s Box, that attempted to determine the truth behind the abuse. Slater never found her. But Beam apparently did. And Skinner is now hopping mad with libel. Slater claims that “she didn’t have access to an electronic database.”

In 2000? Yeah, right.

Beyond that, there’s a little something called the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature. Beyond that, even in the early 1990s, one could find CD-ROM archives of newspapers in such hicktowns as Sacramento. (And I say that from personal experience.)

Skinner herself responded in the Guardian last week, stating that she was not a lab rat.

Whatever the outcome of the Skinner imbroglio, the Beam story illustrates the importance of being thorough with the facts. And it’s advice that might be beneficial to blogs. If lit blogs are to grow and develeop, then this also demonstrates the importance of tracking sources, which means trying to acknowledge who first found the links whenever possible. Beyond simple courtesy, there’s also the consideration that the person genuinely interested in the topic might have done additional work or have additional expertise not publicly posted.

A Belgian museum is hosting an Alan Moore exhibition, but Moore won’t be going. The Independent has the usual Moore biographical background, but does have some additional news about Hollywood and future work.

And there’s more comparative info on the new Nancy Drew, addressed in letter and infographic.

One Wonders How the Advice Applies to Link Poaching

How to Write Good: “If placed in a situation where you must quote another author, always write ‘[sic]’ after any word that may be misspelled or looks the least bit questionable in any way. If there are no misspellings or curious words, toss in a few ‘[sic]’s just to break up the flow. By doing this, you will appear to be knowledgeable and ‘on your toes,’ while the one quoted will seem suspect and vaguely discredited.”

(via Beautiful Stuff)

The Snail Mail Experiment

Back in the early 1990s, there was this really great thing called the mail. You wrote some words, had the entire day to reflect upon them, and then sent off your letter. And what was really nifty was that you got letters back from people.

But with the rise of email, the care and thought that people put into these letters disappeared, along with that small cushion of time. Communication became instantneous, which was certainly handy for getting feedback or immediate input. But something was lost in the haste.

Perhaps the biggest crime involved the transformation of the mailbox to a depository for bills and junk mail.

The time has come to take our mailboxes back. The time has come to recalibrate our expectations. No longer shall we lust after the latest Cosmopolitan or Netflix DVD. I call for a return to the mailboxes of lore, whereby lovely letters were nestled within their bastard brethren.

So here’s what I’d like to try.

The Snail Mail Experiment

I’m looking for 15 people who are dedicated to writing and sending letters to three people each. Doesn’t matter where you are or who you are.

The first 15 people to send an email to with their name, address and three separate sentences, and who intend to actually write and send letters, will become part of The Snail Mail Experiment.

I’ll mix the sentences up and assign each person three other people to write to, with a topical sentence in place to comment upon.

A bit like a mix CD swap, but the emphasis here is on the words, drawings and/or personal offerings that one can send by mail.

After all this, I’ll follow up with everyone, see how their assorted mailing went (possibly comparing it against communicating by email), and post their comments here.

But in order to make this work, I’m going to need fifteen hardy souls.

So if you’re interested in becoming part of this kooky sociological experiment, you know what to do.

The Sordid Depths of Blurb Quoting

As widely reported by almost everybody on the lit blog scene, authors have finally revealed that the blurb-quoting culture is one big circlejerk. “We really don’t get enough sex in our lives. We’re too busy writing, hoping to sell our books,” said one bestselling author, who refused to reveal his name. “But I know it gives me a thrill to stroke my peers. And we’re not just talking egos. Who needs to read a book when you can fantasize about an author?”

While the connection between authors and relentlessly cheery blurbs is nothing new, the connection between blurbs and the upsurge in sex (literal or imagined) has now come very close to addressing a long standing problem: namely, the lonely lives of writers which often go unobserved.

If the authors are pretending to read these books, hiding behind the modifier of “unreadable,” then I also suggest that readers are also pretending. In fact, chances are that nobody is reading these books at all, save only the irrecoverably dedicated or others of unsound mind. It is also likely that these book buyers and galley collectors are buying these books and stocking them away for a nuclear winter.

Furthermore, there is lots of sex going on, until now unmentioned, possibly with the blurbs written immediately after orgasm and cleanup.

This pretending has reached such a disgusting level of influence that the time has come to demand a chart which compares the timing and number of orgasms a writer has per year, against the timing and number of positive blurbs a writer gives to the world per annum. Are these writers really reading? Or are they reading these books while having sex? Or are these books a replacement for sex? Is finishing a book akin to a postcoital rush of relief that leaves the blurb quoter in a delicate, relaxed and unqualified position to write a blurb?

A shareware developer has tried to take advantage of this intricate problem by marketing BlurbMe 2.5 specifically to A-list writers. The application is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, and will generate a positive blurb in 9 seconds. Or roughly the amount of time it takes to peel off a Lifestyles. Here are some BlurbMe examples:

“Fascinating, compelling. I felt the urge to walk the dog.”

“Compelling, fasciating, a riveting read. I’ll walk the dog.”

“Compellingly fascinating and riveting. I felt the urge to walk the dog in a compelling way. Great read.”

Sven Gorgias, the developer and programmer of BlurbMe, reports that he hopes to expand the limited adjectives in future versions. Since Mr. Gorgias is an animal lover and walking his dog is his only respite from staring at code all day, he has tried to rid the database of references to his constitutionals.

But in light of the depravities unearthed by the Telegraph, Mr. Gorgias now knows that his work is going to be trickier than he thought.