I am not frequently offended by profanity. I don’t use it much, and there are times and places that it is quite inappropriate, but I don’t melt when I hear it.
Actually, I am relying on the same principle that I teach about speakers who use foul language. I don’t really care about the language. What I care about is that it distracts the audience from the focus of the message, where large numbers of people will simply stop listening, and focus on those words, think about what was said, react emotionally in some way, and so forth.
If that happens during a presentation, you can simply substitute “reader” for “audience,” and you have the same effect in a book.
That is the problem with Lucky Bastard: My life, my Dad, and the things I’m not allowed to say on TV (New York: Dutton, 2016). In its pages, you will see just about every possible streetwise cuss word. Fortunately, many of them are in footnotes, but if you are one of the few people who read such things, you will see the words.
This is most unfortunate. Buck fills the book with loving memories of his famous father, Jack, who called St. Louis Cardinals baseball on KMOX, and NFL Monday Night Football on CBS radio, for many years. The picture below features both of them. He also talks about his life with his two daughters, his struggles with his first marriage, and great insight into the way he works at FOX. The story about how he climbed to FOX’s # 1 football and baseball broadcasting teams is particularly insightful. I am surprised that editors at the publisher did not intervene to any greater extent.
I would like to recommend this book to you. It’s got some great content. I learned a lot. But, when there is this much potential distraction due to the unnecessary inclusion of profanity, I just can’t do it. What a shame.
* – the book is a treatise because it is systematic, careful, and thoughtful – as the dictionary requires
I am enjoying Bill O’Reilly’s epic based upon a Fox News series, entitled Legends and Lies: The Patriots (Henry Holt, 2016). But, wait – Bill O’Reilly didn’t write the book! His name is featured on the book so it sells.
The author is actually David Fisher. He has a small line on the front cover, and an even smaller one on the spine. There is no pretense. The cover reads, “Written by David Fisher.”
Fisher is no novice to publishing. He is the author and coauthor of more than twenty New York Times bestsellers including another with O’Reilly, Legends and Lies: The Real West. His work has also appeared in most major magazines and many newspapers. The inside cover of the book claims that he is the only reporter ever given complete access to the FBI’s forensic library.
I find the book very readable, and one of the most interesting and detailed accounts of the events surrounding our nation’s early days and our fight for independence from Britain. I also believe it is refreshing when presumptions and possibilities are labeled for what they are, and not facts. There are detailed chapters on practically all of the nation’s first and finest, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and so forth.
Surely, this attention to detail is Fisher’s doing. I’ve never seen a commentator have to make so many retractions, clarifications, and admitted mistakes than O’Reilly, and still keep his job. You can go to Wikipedia to read a short list of them. Remember that CBS fired Dan Rather for misstating information about President Bush’s National Guard Service, following a lifetime of service. And O’Reilly gets how many chances? Of course, Fox News is not CBS.
Regardless, I think anyone with even passing interest in this era of our nation would find this a fun and educational read. I know that I have.
With this week’s first and second round games in the NCAA basketball tournament, I am reminded of a book I read three years ago by Seth Davis, who is a Sports Illustrated columnist and CBS studio participant. His book, When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010), was about the epic battle featuring Larry Bird of Indiana State and Magic Johnson of Michigan State, played on March 26, 1979.
The game was broadcast by NBC with Dick Enberg, Al McGuire, and Billy Packer at the mike. It is a game I will remember forever, not because it was a great game – it was not – but rather, because of the amazing context, hype, and the fact that it launched college basketball onto the big-time scene.
Prior to that time, college basketball was telecast regionally, with a few national games occasionally on a weekend. This game sparked interest in the sport, with two stars who became NBA legends, and played against each other many times.
Michael Wilbon of The Washington Post said the book is “a must-read for anybody who considers themselves a basketball fan.” I agree. It is very readable account not just of that game, but about all the build-up that began weeks before, and the window through which we now watch the game.
Particularly memorable is the account of Billy Packer’s refusal to acknowledge the greatness of Indiana State, because they did not play Top-20 teams in their conference. In fact, NBC had to arrange for a special broadcast to allow the country to see the team, and more especially, Larry Bird. In fact, to avoid any potential problems, Packer did not even cover the team in the early playoff rounds. Like all the other skeptics, he later came around.
But, you will enjoy his first book about this 1979 epic game, and all the events that led up to it, and followed it. It is history told as well as anyone could tell it.
Obviously, you will not see this at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. Not only is it too old, but it also is not about business. However, occasionally it’s good to read something else. Try this one!
In a stunning reversal against the digital book market, the Wall Street Journal reports that a successful author has turned to phyiscal paperbacks through a contract with a traditional publisher. The article, authored by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, is entitled “E-Book Author Tries New Format: Real Paperbacks” (August 23, 2011, p. B4).
The author, John Locke, was the first self-published writer to sell more than one million digital books on Amazon.com. The contract with CBS Corporation’s Simon & Schuster will distribute eight of Locke’s thrillers that feature Donovan Creed, a former CIA assassin.
Despite the trend of books moving to the digital format, and despite the trend of traditional bookstores such as Borders closing, the good news is that “there are still lots of retail outlets for books,” according to a quote in the article from Adam Rothberg, a spokesperson for Simon & Schuster.
Are you surprised by this?
Let’s talk about it really soon!