It didn’t take long for me to lose my New Year’s spirit which I’m sure most of us promise to ourselves to not do all year, right? You know the “resolution” thing. One of mine was to be more tolerant and less judgemental of all sorts of things including and probably most important, people, especially strangers. You can probably guess that living without arms has made people a big challenge in my life but ironically, because of how they see me rather than the other way around. Unforunately, I went through a phase where I didn’t like people (long time ago) and then I realized, it was that attitude that was causing my problem. So I promised myself I would work hard at changing that attitude and poof, my life changed. I was also very young so I had a lot of energy and idealism and therin lies my problem.
One of the first books I read that I can point to changing my life was “Iacocca: An Autobiography” and is, of course, the story of Lee Iacocca famous for creating the Mustang automobile, being fired from Ford and then rescuing Chrysler/Dodge from disappearing from the auto industry. This man has a remarkable story, especially how he began as an everyday person with a dream of greatness and never, ever let the hits life gave him deter him from his goals. The insights I gained raised my personal bar and changed my life, period. I am sure you all have a book like that in your life and if not, you need to find one because the lessons we can learn from people who have achieved success in any format of life (money, sports, philanthropy, religion, etc) can inspire us to make our own lives the masterpiece lurking inside all of us. I should probably read more but honestly, some of the best biographical stories are told in huge books that are difficult for me to read with my feet. That’ll definitely change as I have decided to get an E-Reader (I am not first in line for the newest thing, ever) and am sure they were made for a guy like me. I am also not suggesting that the only good books are the ones I approve of, but this is my blog after all.
I always start my day in my little office at home by turning on the television newschannels and check out the latest events of our world and today, I just about lost it when I heard that one of the stars of the ridiculously trashy MTV show, Jersey Shore, had published a book! Serious! Entitled “A Shore Thing”, its author is Nicole Polizzi, otherwise known as “Snooki”. Here’s a couple of excerpts from the New York Post review:
” He had an okay body. Not fat at all. And naturally toned abs. She could pour a shot of tequila down his belly and slurp it out of his navel without getting splashed in the face.”
“Gia danced around a little, shaking her peaches for show. She shook it hard. Too hard. In the middle of a shimmy, her stomach cramped. A fart slipped out. A loud one. And stinky.”
I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to get to my local bookstore and grab this work of art before it’s sold out. You know what’s weird; it probably will sell out!
Look, I am not a total idiot as I do understand that the publishers of the world are about making money, not being altruistic so it really isn’t their fault that they’ve published this book. I also don’t know Nicole Polizzi personally and will resist the temptation to trash who, as she appears on Jershey Shore, is apparently as trashy as it gets. I will also tell you that I am not jealous, athough for about the thousandth time, I have asked why my own book didn’t get me on Oprah. But here’s my point; Snooki didn’t even write it! Someone called Valerie Frankel is called the book’s “collaborator” but word is out she actually wrote it after sitting down with this fine actress (not), Ms. Polizzi, and asking her to tell stories about the so-called “reality” program that is a runaway hit for MTV. In fact, Snooki even admitted in an interview that she’s actually only read two books in her life; “Twilight” and something called “Dear John”. Guess she found War & Peace a bit detailed, huh?
Again, I realize that not all television, or books for that matter, have to have kafkaesque “meaning”, but I have checked out a couple of episodes of Jersey Shore and couldn’t make it through either one for many reasons but my getting cranky was the biggest. I sat there thinking, “Am I getting old?” I did turn fifty in 2010 so technically, I am older but I really don’t see myself as losing touch. In fact, I have found the reception of my youth talks to be getting better, not worse so I don’t believe I am losing it but actually gaining it because although true literature may not be disappearing, I see the literary bar is getting so low that even drunk Snooki couldn’t limbo under it if she tried! Man, even Justin Bieber has a book (First Step 2 Forever) and he can’t even grow facial hair yet! But Justin and Snooki isn’t what really set me off as 2011 began, it was something else that started me feeling crabby in the first place.
It was recently announced the company who owns the rights to Mark Twain’s groundbraking novels, Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is planning to release a new edition of the two books printed together and will omit the word “nigger”, used over 200 times in both books and replace it with the word “slave”. NewSouth Books have determined that the words used in these classic tomes don’t fit the new reality!!!! Duh! These books are 125 years old! Heck, they used to put people without arms in circus sideshows and stopped but the folklore is a huge piece of history, right or wrong!
Okay, if there was ever an obvious issue with how the politically correct have taken power, this is the one. I don’t use the “N” word, ever, but I have a very dear friend who happens to be black and grew up on the mean streets of Windsor and Detroit in the 50’s and 60’s. Whenever he takes me to his old neighborhoods and introduces me to some of his oldest black friends, you do hear that word a lot and nobody seems crabby about it at all. In fact, these folks seem downright proud of their roots, lingo and all! Having said that, the use of the word rightfully declined significantly but replacing it in a book written in 1885 when there was no politically correct police, and then using the word slave instead? Seriously! Did these people publish Snooki’s book too! What is going on?
Please do two things for me; write the publishers of the new edition of Mark Twain’s brilliant books (www.newsouthbooks.com) and tell them to change their mind. Secondly, please raise your personal bar by asking a simple question of yourself; “Are the books I am reading growing my mind or melting it?”