Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Does This Make Me No. 101?

Took the liberty of posting on Bernie Goldberg's site today. Yes, I mentioned SHAM, and said it may be of interest to his fans--and I've now heard back from a couple of Goldberg's registered users who seemed majorly incensed at my having done so. This, I don't quite get. For one thing, Goldberg, in his latest book, 100 People Who are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is #37), covers many of the same themes I cover in SHAM. However, he tends to view such topics through a more political prism, whereas I look at them in terms of their social/sociological underpinnings, specifically as manifestations of the "logic" and all-pervading influence of self-help. I thought that this alternative take on parallel topics might interest some of Goldberg's readers (and in point of fact, I saw an immediate Amazon spike within hours of making that post). I do not apologize for this, or consider it unseemly; so far as I was able to determine, I violated none of the site's policies in composing my post and referring people to my own site(s). So what are these people so ticked about?

Now, I'll give a straight answer to the question that no doubt has occurred to some of you: Was this a shameless attempt on my part to hitch my wagon to Goldberg's star? In a word... sure! At least to some degree. Isn't that the nature of the beast in this business, which--if it's about nothing else--is about getting out the word? Otherwise why even write a book? Why should I feel any shame about it? Nobody is forcing people to buy SHAM, after all. (Clearly.) I'm certainly no threat to Bernie himself, whose 100 People, for the record, is Amazon's No. 126 at this writing--a mere 15,872 slots ahead of SHAM...and that's with the Goldberg Spike. (Also consider that, probably to a man or woman, his registered users wouldn't be his registered users if they hadn't already bought his book.) So I choose to regard my post as a form of public service: that is, letting thoughtful, irreverent, somewhat iconoclastic people know there's another product out there that may suit their tastes, and even do them some good. Why, it's the American thing to do.

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