Meghan McCain is making all the stops with her celeb book Dirty Sexy Politics. You can almost see John McCain's daughter sitting in a room with the publisher trying to figure out a title for a book about nothing. Put her on the cover with an elephant. Sex sells. Dirty sex sells more. Dirty Sexy Politics. The perfect black to McCain's white. The renegade daughter telling all the dirty sexy secrets of John McCain's political campaign. After her horror over Sarah Palin, I ask you, does anybody really want to hear the dirty sexy secrets of John McCain's campaign?
Probably not. But the book of nothing is the rage. You merely have to be related to someone famous or do something outrageous for a book. But publishers know these books have no shelf life. The book of nothing is mind candy that gets old fast so the only chance is the talk show circuit, the title, and the cover. If the author is good looking, outspoken, media savvy, and sexy, then so much the better. Even Rachel Maddow bowed to the mechanics of celebrity publishing by asking no questions on substance. Or maybe there wasn't anything to ask.
F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "all cheap entertainment is immoral...it is heroin of the soul." Celebrity books give that heroin with the promise of nothing more than maybe a salacious secret. We hope for an inside scoop, some sort of peeping through the keyhole for the price of a hardcover. Meghan was horrified with her father's pick of Sarah Palin. We all were. But once we know the secret and have looked at the pictures, then the book is worthless. We have no more emotional attachment to it than the empty wrapper of a candy bar, proving the point that fame without talent is an empty wrapper.
So Meghan McCain will do the tour with her Dirty Sexy Politics book and then she will finish with that and the book will fall from view and it will be dead. There are no redeeming qualities for the book of nothing. Literature, while quiet in it's launch, does have staying power. Simply because we invest something of ourselves in the story and while it may not be sexy, and the cover may be staid, we put it on our shelf to be read again. Maybe, just to know that there is something more to the world than dirty sexy books.
William Hazelgrove's latest novel Rocket Man is due out in the fall