American Beat: When Your Book Sucks…

American Beat: When Your Book Sucks…


With today’s column by U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter, we begin a new initiative at the Breitbart News Network: weekly commentary by prominent figures in their fields on issues, events, and trends they feel relevant to the public discourse.

We commence with a dear friend of Andrew’s and someone whom he described as one of the few in the political arena who understands the value of pop culture within the geo-political landscape. He doesn’t just understand it….he gets it.

As Andrew always said, “culture is up-river from politics.” Drenched and sexy, we are pleased to present the first installment of the Honorable McCotter’s “American Beat.”


When Your Book Sucks…

A few years ago, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) published my policy tome, SeizeFreedom: American Truths and Renewal in a Chaotic Age. At the time, the prospectof this prestigious organization publishing my voice – my vision! – for the sovereignAmerican people’s consideration left me humbled.

Now, I’m just humiliated.

Oh, I’m not the first author whose book sucked and learned the hard way that there aremore people who will tell you to write a book than there are people who will buy yourbook. America’s clearance bins and bird cages are littered with the “product” of authorsunremembered because, fortunately for all involved, no one bothered to slog through theirdiscursive dung heaps. (Yeah, the rest of my book was like this, too. I told you it sucked.)

Yet, in the spirit of learning from our mistakes, especially a HUGE mistake like writingSeize Freedom, the question to be asked is not why my or any other overly verbose bum’sbook sucked; the question to be asked is what to do when your book sucks. To wit, here are the “Three Bs and One C” that you’ll use to erase the taste of your putrid tome (no one elseneeds to do it, because no one else read it):


When your newly released book is justly pilloried by critics, bitch about it. Sure, bitchingwill exacerbate your public debasement, since your turgid letters to the editor section ofyour local shopping news will be as ignored as your god-awful book; however, bitchingwill belie your lifeless book’s impression that you’re brain dead, and it’s better than holingup in your garage chain smoking, slurping Diet Mountain Dew and listening to Tom Waitswhile you whine “where is the love”?


After exhausting yourself with witty bitching, which won’t take a hack author long,remember that you’ve got not one but two feet to put in your mouth. Heed the DCdamage control axiom that the best way to weasel out of your mess is to “establish guiltto affix blame” on somebody else. The first part of this step is easy, as you’ve alreadyestablished that someone is guilty of writing an abysmal book – you. Of course, thisuntoward truth will not do; ergo, compile a detailed list of those who abetted foistingyour book on an unsuspecting public – agents, editors, masseuses and anyone else whoearly on should have you talked you out of writing your book. The ideal scapegoat isthe “ghostwriter”, preferably a paid one, as this lessens the chance your literary alter ego forhire will hunt you down like the lying dog you are. True, blame won’t work any better than bitching; but at least you won’t be busy digging a deeper hole by writing anotherdamnable book to “redeem” yourself.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard the old slur that “a liberal writes a book; a moderatereads a book; and a conservative burns a book.” As a conservative, I find this smear sooffensive I can barely repeat it for public consumption. Consequently, before taking thisnecessary step, embrace this critical distinction: you will not be burning a book to preventthe public from reading it; you will be burning your book to protect the public fromreading it – and, of paramount importance, from remembering you wrote it.


Finally, these days nothing succeeds like failure, so bombing in literature does not precludean abysmal author from pursuing other artistic venues; indeed, failure compels them tocut their literary losses and start racking up new ones. Be selective, though, in choosingyour new pursuits; after all you once thought you could write a book. Tweets, podcasts,and an internet “current events” show tab on your “unliked” Facebook “fan” page mayseem viable options, but an audience repulsed by the prospect of reading your bad bookwill not be rapt by you regurgitating your bad book in cyber space. Recalling Dylan’sadvice, “don’t criticize what you can’t understand”, I submit that you try your blessedly idlehands at performance art since no one, including you, will understand what the hell itmeans when you ascend the local Rotary’s rostrum donned in edible boxers, dab your absin cocoa butter, and warble Paperback Writer.

Excuse me? First, your suggestion is anatomically impossible. Second, I’ll have youknow that these “Three B’s and One C” worked for me! While I’ve yet to burn my book(it’s been an unseasonably warm winter), I bitched; I blamed Seize Freedom’s dearth ofsales on Dinky and Chowsers’ abominable promotional videos; and I crossed over intocable TV on the once a month, four minute segment, View from the Capitol with hostKatherine Amenta (whom I’ll blame when my cable crossover tanks).

As for my further expertise on the subject of what to do when your book sucks, I could go onad nauseam – much like I did in Seize Freedom; but, since you didn’t read that, you’re not reading this…

Thaddeus G. McCotter, 
U.S. Representative (MI-11)


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