Sunday, December 06, 2009


The sign of the Last Days? It's not 666 -- it's a seven-figure number.

Here's a report of a deal for a forthcoming book, from the subscription-only Publishers Lunch:

Authored of Liberal Fascism and syndicated conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg's THE TYRANNY OF CLICHES, to Sentinel, at auction, in a major deal, reportedly for $1 million....

Yes: Jonah Goldberg. One million dollars for his next book. The Apocalypse will be along any minute now.

Sentinel is part of Penguin Group (USA), which means it disgraces a publishing enterprise that includes such estimable and highly respected imprints as Viking and Putnam. (Sentinel boasts of the success of such books as The War on Christmas by John Gibson.)

More on the Goldberg deal here and here. As for the book itself, even with the current popularity of righty screeds, I'm struggling to see how it will earn back its advance if it doesn't trumpet the notion "liberals are the embodiment of pure evil" somewhere in its title. I also wonder if the book The Tyranny of Cliches will have the same first sentence as the article "The Tyranny of Cliches," which Goldberg published at National Review Online seven years ago. That first sentence is as follows:

One of the most important points of this column over the years -- other than my belly, my dog, fair Jessica, my need for a raise, the fact that I have the upper-body strength of an eight-year-old girl and the lung capacity of a Polish whoopee cushion -- is my aversion to cliched thinking.

Wow -- can you handle the intellectual heft?


In debates with readers, colleagues, college audiences, et al. the monitor on my internal respect-o-meter flat-lines every time I hear someone say, for instance, "better ten guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished."

... how come it's better that
ten guilty men go free? When we translate the principle to reality, we've got to pick a threshold number. So why not say it's better that 50 guilty men go free? Or, say, two guilty men? Is 10 a special number? Or is it just easy to say? Or haven't you thought about it all? Most often, people haven't thought about it all.

So let me ask you, why not set free two million guilty men?...

I think Sentinel just paid a million smackers for 400 pages of really bad amateur Seinfeld, with no actual humor, just endless self-satisfied kvetching.

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