Posted by: Tony Carson | 12 October, 2007

Books and talk shows, an incestuous loop

Warning: If you are not already famous or infamous, don’t write a book, you’ll have no chance of getting it promoted.

Why? Because every person who is famous or infamous has written a book, often multiples books, and because they’ve already got a public pedigree they are invited on all the talk shows to promote … the talk show and, when there is time, the book. It’s an incestuous loop of brazen back-scratching.

This week alone we saw Jenna Bush, Lynn Cheney, Ann Coulter, Clarence Thomas, Alan Greenspan, Stephen Colbert, Jack Cafferty, Jimmy Carter and others cozy up to their hosts to pimp their product, usually with an angle that has nothing to do with the book.

Ann Coulter, for instance, was asked to forecast the Democratic race and only incidentally had her book mentioned; Jenna Bush had to talk about herself and her engagement; Lynn Cheney had to defend her husband, Cafferty had to field fawning questions from Wolf, and on it goes.

The reason why these people actually write their books is because they know they will be published and they know they will have access to all the free promotion. It is just another revenue stream and an inch closer to the spotlight. It has nothing to do with having anything to say.

Remember when Johnny Carson used to host all those thoughtful writers who would come on and talk about the big issues? Now, you’ve got Cheney and Coulter and the rest and the issue is themselves.

It’s getting to the point when faceless intellectuals with something to say have no chance. If they can’t make it onto the talk shows, why publish them?

It’s no coincidence that Al Gore became the face of Global Warming. He could have become the face of anything because … he had the face the talkies wanted.

All the stats show that we are reading less and less while there are more and more books. The winners in this clutter will always be the most publicized.

So in future look only for Jon Stewart and Bill Maher and Jerry Sienfeld to tell us how the world works.

All those other guys? Those thinkers? Who the hell are they?

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