Toilet-Based Promotion

Jeff digs up this mysterious Craig’s List job listing, which involves a $100,000 all-expenses paid duty to drive across the country with a toilet seat on his head to promote Toilet: the Novel (a book written by the the maybe late, maybe alive Michael Szymczyk and published by the vanity outfit Authorhouse). There are apparently three positions available. This would seem out of step with previous Toilet-centric lucre. A previous ad placed on the Washington D.C. Craig’s List paid out a meager 35 dollars for an afternoon’s work.

Now when we were at BEA, we observed a gentleman with a toilet seat on his head who was walking the floor. He was essentially ignored by all concerned. It was remarked by one of our colleagues that this gentleman had appeared the previous year and had received some local newspaper notice and a quick mention in Publishers Weekly. He’s even sneaked onto the Wikipedia “existentialism” page.

If someone has so much money to burn, we’re wondering why they would go to all this trouble. After all, $300,000 (assuming Szymcyzk has it) can probably buy more than a few TV spots, newspaper ads, and probably set the Vidlit folks up for a good clip. When we see a toilet seat, we don’t exactly think “literary novel.” We think toilet reading. Is this some Masonic conspiracy or the result of an out-of-control, Howard Hughes-like eccentric?

Some casual Googling reveals Szynczyk as a rambling philosopher who has received blurbs from the likes of Stephen King, Will Smith and Quentin Tarantino (who can say if these are real or illusory or kindly boiler-plate responses?). Further, Szymczyk was apparently banned from the Frankfurt Book Fair for an anti-Bush presentation.

Szymczyk might be an able activist, but we’re wondering if he’s either a crank or a misunderstood genius — perhaps attempting to upstage Gerard Jones. Of course, if Szymczyk wants to send a copy of his book to our PO Box, we’ll be happy to offer a careful report. He’ll still have to learn the difference between an “advanced copy” and an advance copy.

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