AUTHORS: Do You Have What It Takes?

It’s the ultimate reality series, the ultimate game show and the ultimate half-hour of intriguing storylines. The Ultimate Author is an awesome television program packed with entertaining, engaging and interesting events. Each week, contestants go toe-to-toe in a writing competition that tests their ability to develop attention-grabbing content.

Casting Call: June 16, 2007. Fort Lauderdale, FL.

[via gawker.]

Dale Peck: PR Poster Boy?

Rake points to this press release for “Peck’s Last Negative Review Ever.” There’s a phone number there for some guy named Peter McFarlane, if anyone’s curious. McFarlane notes that he “scored” the Peck review. Well, certainly, if anyone wishes to compare acquiring an essay called “The Man Who Would Be Sven” to a midnight run for a dime bag, then the metaphor is apt. We here at Return of the Reluctant, however, prefer publicity in a more abrasive form:


Ad Hom to Ad Hom

maxbarry.jpgDale Peck isn’t just a bitch, but he’s an hubric mofo who compares his Moody blues to both Edmund Wilson and Virginia Woolf. (And, of course, the standard Coleridge line.)

Judy Blume is on the defensive. Her book, Deenie, deals in part with masturbation. But Hernando County elementary schools are pulling the book from their shelves.

Chica has a nice roundup of author photos. Me? I’m still squirming over Max Barry’s photo on Jennifer Government (see right). The book, which was so bad that I gave up on it (and I rarely do this), is terrible enough with its amateurish prose and failure to live up its central idea. But Barry himself looks instinctively like a new fraternity pledge who barely made it into the house. And I’d say the photo has helped me to hate the book more. Which isn’t good. Because I’d prefer to just erase the book out of my mind and reclaim the time I invested.

Dale Peck Statistics

Number of times the word “gay” is mentioned in the profile:

Salon: 3
James Atlas’s NYT Profile: 3
The Guardian: 2
Gawker: 0

Word Count of Profiles:

Salon: 2,629
James Atlas’s NYT Profile: 4,123
The Guardian: 3,288
Gawker: 2,379

Comparatively, Approximate Word Counts for Classic Short Stories:

O. Henry, “The Gift of the Magi”: 2,000
James Thurber, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”: 2,050
Ray Bradbury, “A Sound of Thunder”: 4,300
Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”: 6,200

A Sure Way to Keep Dale Peck from Manhattan: “For the next year I am working for Howard Dean or whatever Democrat gets the nomination or whenever Hillary decides to enter the race, I guess. And if a Democrat wins, I will be far more prone to stay, but if George W. Bush is reelected I think I really want to leave and just get the hell out of Dodge.”

Dale Flexing His Wit : “I am not sure if you can print this. But they are a bunch of pussies.”

If You Disagree With Peck, You’re…: “ditch-dirty stupid” or “homophobic.”

The James Atlas Memorial Brown Nose Generalization Award: “This really is a man writing, as the cliché has it, for his life: Domestic violence is a gift and postmodernism is the religion through which he interprets it.”

Dubious Peck Prose Sample: Zoetrope, “Making Book”: “‘Fuck off!’ I yelled at the TV in general and at Ace’s ass in particular, but with the video paused and the television suddenly silent–there had been a bass track, courtesy of these two like totally obnoxious dudes who’d been next to us on the beach, but it disappeared when I paused the video–I could almost see my words carry past the television to my door, and then push on through to my mom at the top of the stairs.”

Better Peck Prose Sample: Zoetrope, “Bliss”: “The shapeless clouds, the crisp diamond lattice of the chain-link fence through which I saw them, the fat gate guard, his uniform stretched so taut across the gelid curves of his body that it seemed to cry out for the pierce of bullet or knife. Black eye-shaped puddles reflected the limestone walls of the prison and rendered them hollow, insubstantial, penetrable, until a car traveling the length of the parking lot spat grit into them, causing the walls to disappear momentarily. Then the water stilled, revealing the image of Shenandoah Manson. He was dressed in stiff jeans and a chambray shirt faded nearly white, the sleeves rolled up over arms nearly as faded, and etched by pale blue veins and razor-blade-and-Bic-ink tattoos of Jesus, Mary, and a snarling Ford pickup.”