November 2010

Did George Bush write George Bush's memoir?

I’m 100 pages into the Bush memoir, and I’m loving it.

When I say this to my friends, this response usually follows: “Guess he had a good ghostwriter!” Or something like that.

I can’t discount the possibility that somebody helped Bush write the book (or the possibility that somebody wrote the book for Bush). But I sure haven’t seen the evidence. Nor, really, has anybody. It’s all speculation.

I can see where my friends are coming from. After all, Bush sure didn’t have the eloquence of Clinton or Obama. But books, my former editor Scott Dickensheets points out, are different than speeches: “Speech is an improvisational act, unfolding in the moment. Writing is reflective; you have time to polish.” (I should point out: I don’t know whether Scott has made up his mind about whether Bush wrote the memoir himself; Scott was speaking in general terms.)

Bush has had two years to write and polish Decision Points. And by all accounts—his own, especially—he’s spent a lot of time doing just that. So why is it so crazy to believe the book is significantly cleaner than Bush’s speeches and debate performances?

I contacted linguist Geoffrey Nunberg and asked him these two questions: Isn't it possible that somebody who speaks, uh, as Bush speaks, would be capable of writing a good book with clean prose? Surely there are some precedents for this...(clumsy speakers writing eloquent books...), right?

And here’s what Nunberg had to say: I can't think of too many, but then Bush isn't alone. Most presidents had help—except Jimmy Carter; the question is, how much? Eisenhower was a much more fluent writer than a speaker, for example—you can tell this from his letters—but he apparently had some help on Crusade in Europe.

Maybe we can all agree on these two things: 1) It’s not a big deal if Bush got some help with this book. Most Presidents get help. 2) We’ll never know how much help Bush got.

Agree or disagree, until more evidence comes out, I’m giving the guy the benefit of the doubt on this one. And, as Las Vegas Weekly’s book reviewer, I’m doing everything I can to evaluate the book and not the politics of the guy who wrote it.

And what about my upcoming book, Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas? Who really wrote it?

Bush did.

2012 Presidential Books and The One Person who can Save This Country (Hint: It's Not Her)

Sarah Palin’s got a new book coming out, and so does Newt Gingrich, and so does Bobby Jindal, and so do I.

Am I planning to run for President under the Republican ticket in 2012 or what?

Let me be clear about this:

As of now, I have no definite plans to run for President. I’m happy writing for Las Vegas Weekly. It’s a fulltime job, and serving my reader/constituents fulfills me completely. Plus, I plan to spend 2011 promoting my book, Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas. So, no, I’m not planning on throwing my hat into the ring.

Do I think I’d make a good President?

Obviously I would. I’d be infinitely better than any of the other candidates. I’m the only guy who can turn this country around—I think we all know that. But, as of right now, I’m simply not interested in running. (So let’s get this straight: if, for whatever reason, I do run for President—which I won’t—I’ll be the one doing the favor for you.)

Does the fact that my book’s subtitle has the words “hooker” and “screwed” in it hurt my chances in the Bible Belt? Please. If there’s one thing the American votes have proven time and time again, it’s this: we vote for candidates who are affiliated with hookers in some shape or form.

In conclusion, I’m counting on your vote.

Now, moving to a related matter and getting serious for a moment: I’m one chapter into the George Bush memoir, and I’m loving it.

I posted that on facebook, and for the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I took so much flak from so many of my friends.

You Can't See (or smell) Scratch-&-Sniff Popup Pages on an iPad or Kindle...Yet

My new book, Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas comes out in January. That means you have two months to make a potentially life-changing decision: Should you buy a copy of book or should you buy an electronic copy of the book?

On one hand, the electronic copy is cheaper and kills fewer trees. On the other hand, trees are assholes. They’d have no hesitation about chopping you up and reading you. Plus, if you do go for the electronic version, you’re going to miss out on all the great Scratch-&-Sniff popup pages. But hey, if you’re not interested seeing (and smelling) a perfect 1/1000th scale replica of CityCenter, suit yourself.

On a more serious note: I’m starting to think iPads and Kindles aren’t going to replace hardcopy books, after all.

iPads: I’ve got an iPad. I use it every day. I also read books every day. But I’ve never read a book on my iPad. Because I can’t. Tried once. Not even close. With email and facebook and Netflix a click away (well, two clicks), you’d need the self-restraint of a Buddhist monk on Ritalin to get through a single chapter.

Kindles: They’re pushing them hard at Barnes & Noble. I see people buying them every day. But I rarely, rarely see anybody reading on Kindles. Maybe this is different in cities with mass transportation systems, but here in Vegas, Kindles are rarer than Buddhist monks on Ritalin.

I really need to expand my comedy references.

Turning Down Oprah

My new book drops in two months. It’s called Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas. Essentially, it’s A Tale of Two Cities, but with fewer cities and more photos.

Now, a lot of local literati have criticized my decision to not appear on Oprah to promote my book. There’s been a lot of speculation as to why I won’t go on the show, and I’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight:

-Am I afraid of getting “the James Frey treatment”? Of course not. Have you seen what the James Frey treatment did for James Frey’s book sales? Through the roof.

-Am I “pulling a Jonathan Franzen”? Please! That Franzen guy is a hack. I can’t even remember the last time he published a book.*

Does my refusal to appear on the show have anything to do with Oprah expressing no interest whatsoever in having me on her show?

Nope. Here’s the deal: I’m holding out for Bonnie Hunt.

*Editor’s Note: 2 months and 6 days ago.