Sunday, December 07, 2008

NYTimes columnist says 'Joe the Plumber' shouldn't be able to publish book

Fellow Sampshere blogger Warner Todd Huston has a post on Newsbusters about the arrogance of New York Times columnist Tom Egan, who

"...wants to stop Joe the Plumber from being allowed to have his book published and calls the government oppressed blue collar man a "no good citizen" and a "no good plumber." Arrogantly, Egan imagines that Joe somehow doesn't deserve to have a book deal."

Huston, in his usual biting style, breaks down the real reason behind Egan's comments:

"Egan’s snide slap at Joe is, in the end, just meaningless, partisan hatred to no real purpose. Well, no purpose, perhaps, but to make Egan feel better about himself. That and it is a way for him to get the snarky, congratulatory back slapping he's imagines he'll get at those far left cocktail parties that he finally expects to be invited to. Sadly, in all his vast writing experience, Egan seems never to have run across the word “humility.”
The man just cannot stand it when anyone else has success, especially if it is someone with an opposing political ideal."

Make sure you read his whole post.


skeeter1107 said...

Hypocrisy and arrogance on parade.

Perhaps this is what is meant by the "Fairness Doctrine."

navyvet said...

Perhaps Sir Egan should travel West and tell Joe to his face that the First Amendment doesn't apply to him?

Tim Higgins said...


Having to share a first name with this perversion of the human genetic code should be punishment enough without having to listen to the tripe that he delivers.

I can sympathize with one of his thoughts however. He might be right about unqualified authors being published. After all his apparent hero, Barack Obama has had three books published, one of which was an autobiography. Perhaps if publishers had more restraint, we would have a better world today.

Mad Jack said...

Nice post, Maggie. I will indulge myself for a minute with a response.

A long time ago, just after the stereo was invented, I attended a Jr. High School dance. Music was provided by two local disk jockeys from, I think, WOHO Toledo. I don't remember their names, but they had two turn tables and a stack of top forty hits. Well, during the dance one of my classmates got into a, ah, discussion with the DJs. His claim was that their job wasn't all that hard or demanding. Their claim, naturally, was just the opposite. No one but a trained DJ could hope to perform as they did. Then they made a mistake. They offered the young man a chance at the mic, which he accepted. Outside of the voice, no one could tell the difference. My classmate ran the whole show for several songs before the DJs hastily retrieved their equipment and stonily refused further comments. So I guess the motto is, "Don't tell me what I can't do."

I attended a writer's conference recently. The speakers were a published author (who had very little to say), an editor, an agent and a publisher. The big complaint was that the publishing industry was publishing books written by celebrities who, generally speaking, couldn't write. Quality was terrible. Worse than terrible. The publishing houses were owned by money grubbing fascist capitalists (right - but that's about what they said. MJ.) and the end of the world was near. One old cynical curmudgeon in the audience wanted to know how things had fallen to this terrible new low, and the answer was simple: profit. In the old days, we had great literature but the publishers lost money. Now we have trash but the publishers make money.

How about that?

I suspect that part of Mr. Egan's motivation for his article is that he reads the junk, he believes he can do much better but he can't get advance money to write a book, and the reason for that is that Mr. Egan can't write anything that will sell.

The best advice I got from the seminar came from the author, who advised everyone to go and write something. The other advice came from the editor who advised against hiring an editor, and advised everyone to find an agent for their book.

Joe the Plumber is, or is going to be, a published writer. Joe has a partner who put a lot of work into the book, but I'll assume that Joe worked as well. Joe the Plumber was invited to take a turn at bat and promptly hit one out of the park. It's a good thing Joe never listened to Mr. Egan, who would have told Joe he could never do this. Joe might not have believed him, though. At least, that's what I think.

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