Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Please, Kind Sir, Buy My Book

Reading between the lines, it seems that Po' Jonah Goldberg was a wee bit disappointed in his loyal and adoring fans, who did not rush the bookstores to buy his latest, The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Think They're So Smart When They're Really Not."


Some nice emails today in response to my admittedly heavy-handed G-File (though it really wasn’t intended to sound so guilt-mongering, I was just writing very, very, fast that’s what came out).
Here’s one:
Subject: Be of good cheer
I finished the Kindle edition of TOC, and immediately ordered 7 copies and gave them to the members of our high school debate team. We started discussing the book yesterday. No one has finished it yet, but we all agree that it is going to be an excellent weapon for us next year. We all had stories of encountering your examples in debate rounds (me and the other coaches while judging). The universal response was some variant of “They used that ‘one man’s terrorist’ crap on us at Princeton, and I wish I had had this answer ready!”So to your list of comforting accomplishments, you can add the fact that, thanks to J. Goldberg, the Randolph-Macon Academy Debate Team is going to kick some serious ass in the fall.
And another, from a longtime reader:

3) Good news: I touted ToC to the Face book crowd. Bad news: I did so by
sort of accusing you of intercepting my thoughts. To wit–

Jonah Goldberg’s new book arrived today, and–wow–it’s like he’s been stealing thoughts from directly inside my brain. Like  this one:
“Now when it comes to enlightenments I’ve long followed the ruleof the dad in So I Married an Axe Murderer: ‘If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap.’”
 I swear I said the exact same thing myself just the other day…

And finally, damn libraries! Here’s hoping Mitt Romney takes care of them once he’s elected!
Subject: LOVE the new book
Jonah, today’s G-File only added to the guilt I was already feeling: I checked your book out at the library rather than buying it. I know, this is awful....

I’m trying to do my part in other ways: I’ve gone to Amazon and marked the good reviews as helpful, and the ones written by people who haven’t read the book or are criticizing Amazon’s DRM as unhelpful. I’ve written emails and internet message posts recommending the book. But I haven’t yet bought the book. I was looking this morning to see if you were doing a book-signing anywhere, but I understand that so far appearing on TV shows hosted by left-wing weenies has taken up most of your time. I’ll probably end up picking it up at Costco. I know it is only one book and that won’t really move the needle, but more than anything else I want to accomplish one thing: ensure a next book by Jonah Goldberg.

Thanks, and good luck.
Goldberg was paid $1,000,000.00 to write that book. It's #43 in Amazon's ranking, above How To Be Richer, Smarter, and Better-Looking Than Your Parents in rank if not in spirit. Yet he complains that people should be buying his book more quickly?

Also, I would gladly pay per view to watch the Randolph-Macon Academy Debate Team meet Princeton armed with Jonah Goldberg's arguments, facts, and historical knowledge.


fish said...

Most of the sales are probably bulk orders from conservative book clubs, eventually to be given away for free with membership.

Anonymous said...

What the hell is a "G-file?"


Ben said...

About that debate team

I think they participate in debates held at Princeton, not compete against Princeton teams.

That's not a big mistake, though, because the thought of a debate team using Jonah's cliched book in a debate round anywhere is the funniest goddamn thing I've heard this week.

That school's debate team has participants in three different kinds of debate (yes I looked it up don't judge me it's in the service of Doughload snark): "Lincoln-Douglas", "Congress", and (I shit you not) "Ted Turner".

Lincoln-Douglas debaters compete individually using a structure kind of like lawyers presenting opposing briefs and mainly involves the interaction of intellectual concepts (as opposed to empirical evidence) to argue abstract principles. Statements which are debated are like "With respect to capital punishment a state should be guided by mercy instead of vengeance". "A government has the obligation to lessen the economic gap between its rich and poor citizens." "The United States is justified in using private military firms abroad to pursue its military objectives." Debating that stuff revolves around competing conceptions of mercy, vengeance, obligation, how an act is morally justified, etc.

I hope it's obvious how hilarious it is to imagine someone walking into a round like that and thinking that Jonah's attacks on "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" are going to do anything but reduce their opponent to laughter.

Debaters who do "Congress" participate in mock legislative sessions and propose different statements around a common theme that the body as a whole should adopt. They write short little proposals, spend a couple minutes introducing them to the group, ask and answer questions, make short speeches for and against the proposals etc. The "winners" are the ones with the best marks for speaking and those who manage to get other people to vote for their proposals.

So, I suppose as long as the people judging you are also mouth-breathing teabaggers, responding to someone's proposal to cease to refer to Hamas as a terrorist organization with Jonah's broadsides against "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" will probably meet with success. Under other conditions, probably not.

Finally, "Ted Turner" debate. I don't think I have to say much here. This type of debate was explicitly modeled on the show Crossfire (the same one Jon Stewart got cancelled by appearing on it and pointing out it was stupid). Competitors debate in teams of two, and at one point there's a Grand Cluster Fuck where all four people shout at each other. I am not joking.

Points for speaking ability are awarded according to how well the debaters would be understood by the common person with no previous knowledge of the topic, and how well they use words and concepts that even the most uninformed and uneducated person can understand.

In this type of debate I imagine Jonah's book is quite useful.

(I can't help myself from making fun of recent Ted Turner debate topics. "State mandated administration of childhood vaccinations is justified." "Birthright citizenship should be abolished in the United States." "The costs of a college education outweigh the benefits." If these were the topics in types of debate that weren't modeled on Tucker Carlson yelling at Paul Begala, the same side would win every time. That this type of debate results in each side of "state mandate vaccinations are unjustified" having an equal chance to win is . . . stupid. Godspeed, Jonah. I think we can all agree that one man's intellectual cesspool is another man's arena of invigorating intellectual disagreement.)

Anonymous said...

"Ted Turner" debate - Wow. That's just ... incredibly stupid.

It's not even in the Wikipedia article atm.


Ben said...

Oh and the topic that Jonah's emailer was claiming could be enriched by Pantload's screed against "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" is probably "targeted killing is a morally permissible foreign policy tool."

So someone gets up and says "foreign policy acts by governments are morally permissible when they reduce unnecessary suffering. Any operation in which targeted killing is used increases unnecessary suffering, because in all cases the objective could be reached with less suffering if bombs were not used. Additionally, targeted killing itself increases unnecessary suffering by inevitably killing ten times as many innocent civilians as terrorists. For these reasons targeted killing is not morally permissible."

Then Jonah's Champion gets up there and starts ranting about how "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" is morally relativistic and dumb and we can still totally kill people even if they call themselves freedom fighters right?


Ben said...

Yeah when they first created a new style of debate in the late aughts Ted Turner was involved in its creation, and it was modeled on Crossfire and all, so they just went ahead and called it "Ted Turner debate".

Of course it was mocked ruthlessly, and few can mock as hard as snotty high school nerds can mock, so I think within like two months of when it was launched they changed it to "Public Forum debate".

Marci Kiser said...

Everytime I see "best-selling author" Jonah Goldberg's smug self-satisfaction, I dream of having two minutes to remind him how ridiculous he looks.

"Look Jona... Jonah! Over here. Stop being distracted by that Simpsons rerun. Yes, the fourth season was awesome. Now look. This 'best-seller' thing. You know it's crock. I mean, you know it. You know exactly how conservative wingnut welfare applies to books. You're a joke. No one of any intellectual substance cares about what you write.

Want to know how I know this? Those books you 'write'. You will never walk into someone's home and see them on a bookshelf. And you want to know why?

Because the people who buy your books don't have bookshelves in their homes.

Get it now?"

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Marci, I'd rather see the Tribune Company suits who decided to fire Robert Scheer and hire the Doughy Pantload lose their jobs.

atat said...

The "best selling author" bit is nothing compared to the complete and utter bullsh*t claim that Jonah has "twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize."

He most definitely hasn't even been once nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, let alone twice. What a ridiculous lie. And I really find it hard to believe that the people at Penguin don't understand the difference between entering a book for the Pulitzer and actually being nominated for the Pulitzer.

Anonymous said...

A MILLION DOLLARS?? God I hope that's hyperbole.

Also too I was going to buy the book but then I felt a sniffle come on, and then I had to take my kids to the psychiatrist, and then I disappeared into a cloud of farts.

Kathy said...

...I really find it hard to believe that the people at Penguin don't understand the difference between entering a book for the Pulitzer and actually being nominated for the Pulitzer

THEY know the difference, but their target audience (they think) does not.