from September 15, 2004
My colleagues have been reminding me that the title of my column is “Books to Avoid.” I take these remarks as subtle hints that I have been avoiding the noble task of every book reviewer, which is to criticize, condemn, censure, disparage, gore, impale, or otherwise skewer the tripe that publishers are foisting upon the literate public for the sole purpose of selling hundreds of thousands of books within a thirty-day time frame.
On my desk is a book by Anonymous, entitled Dead Rights Candidate Deserves His Fate and published by Prune Juice Press. The subject of this poorly-designed, cheaply-bound, grammatically obtuse, 933-pages of lies and distortions appears to be the candidacy of Ab Ennis, a dead man who is currently running for the highest office in the land on the platform of the newly-formed Dead Rights Party. Its purpose is to nip Mr. Ennis’s surging popularity among both red- and blue-blooded Americans, not to speak of talking American parrots, in the bud.
The back cover of the book tells it all.
“Talk show hosts and newspaper columnists of all stripes have made an industry out of incessantly plugging the rapidly-rising Dead Rights Party and its weird candidate. In this book, Anonymous cites Ab Ennis for everything from moral turpitude to a soft approach to death. In Dead Rights Candidate Deserves His Fate, the author dissects a baker’s dozen of the most persistent, glaringly incorrect, positions taken by Ennis’s small army of insects. Each chapter begins with an Ennis quotation (e.g., “Dead people are smarter than the living because they’ve been around longer”; “Parrots have been telling us for years that they have avian rights”), which is then picked apart using statistical evidence, common sense, and detailed analysis that is at once philosophical, theological, and astrological. This contemporary movement, in the opinion of Anonymous, is not the last hope of the literary caste that it continually claims to be. On the contrary: it is an efficient, well-heeled group of neurologically damaged urn-bound robots that take their marching orders from a Russian-born peasant whose father raised swine for a living.
“But Anonymous does more than offer refutation. He goes deeper, descending into the psyche of Ennis, where he finds a vicious dose of vagina envy that has been there from the get-go. A must-read for every living American, whether imbecile or genius.”
Well. Read no further. I didn’t. Any book on the back cover of which appears the locution, “neurologically damaged urn-bound robots that” instead of the grammatically proper “neurologically-damaged, urn-bound robots who,” deserves an early death.