Sex, Lies and Simon & Schuster

by Esther Emery

“Do you believe everything you read?”

I can’t hear that question without remembering years of childhood taunting at the hands of my six older brothers and sisters, who were, by that strange miracle of passing time, ALWAYS more wise and experienced than I was, no matter how hard I tried to catch up.

“No, I don’t believe everything I read. I just believed this one story about an alien visitation because this person went to college and he had a law practice and he was the mayor. And he didn’t look like someone who would tell a lie.”

They kept on making fun of me.

That’s what I thought of when I read this email blast from my friend Jacqueline Goldfinger:

Whether you plan on voting for Obama or McCain, any reasonable citizen would agree that the Obama smear job, “Obama Nation,” just published by a division of Simon & Schuster is gutter trash that ignores the facts and pushes its hate message through innuendo, baseless rumor and lies. The fact that Simon & Schuster was willing to publish a “non-fiction” book without requiring evidence of truth from its’ authors opens the floodgates for professional political operatives to lie under the guise of truth.

Open the floodgates?  Suggesting that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was just a little tiny fish that swam its little tiny way right through the turbines?  In comparison, maybe it was.

And maybe this is a good time to quickly remind you that my politics are my personal property and not representative of MOXIE Theatre or its environs, because maybe, just maybe, I’m about to go off on a rant.

A person, by the name of Jerome Corsi, has arranged a long-ish sequence of statements. Each of these statements is made up of words. Each of these words is made up of letters. With the assistance of Simon & Schuster, these letters have been printed onto the dead bark of trees and bound with glue into what we call books.  And this, ladies and gentlemen, is all it took to get Mr. Corsi’s half-baked version of history stuck firmly (if briefly) in the throat of the American political dialogue.

Yahoo News can give you details. They elucidate the situation in one crucially important way, letting us know that the title of the book, “The Obama Nation” is a twist on the word abomination.

I totally didn’t get that.

Oh, and there’s one more thing. 

“Obama Nation” is published by Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster that is run by Mary Matalin, the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.

If only I could believe that this crap was ineffective! I know enough about the psychology of the beast to understand that accumulated negative imagery turns the stomach long before it turns the mind. I saw it happen to Hillary Clinton, although my Dad would want me to admit here that I can’t prove that. (You’re right, Dad.) In my home state of Idaho, it is very hip to hate Hillary, even among the liberals, (all ten of them.)  Of course, this hatred is not at all related to the hate speech that has been rained down on her by the careless and the conservative from coast to coast. We all hate the hate speech. We just happen to also hate her, that viper.

In fairness, let me not leave out her smear-iffic red phone masterpiece, which turned lots of stomachs, although not in the direction she intended. Way to play, lady, way to play.

Equally executed, the tactic of fear mongering leans right. Swiftboated is a verb. Redphoned? Not so much. This smear stuff may be effective in supporting the status quo (read: fear of change), but on forward-thinking liberals it just looks bitchy.

I’d like to call it out from everywhere it lives.

Mr. Corsi’s published revisionist history may not cost Obama the presidency, but playing loose with facts and hard with emotions makes my democracy feel a little too much like reality TV.  How can we voters get the message to the political sphere that we don’t want to be manipulated?

Here’s one way:

EMAIL SIMON & SCHUSTER and register your outrage, even if it’s just to write, STOP PRINTING LIES!, say something. This is a new low in American politics and the fact that it’s supported by a “respected” publishing house is a travesty.

While you’re at it, do something about FOX News.

In the meantime, I take this as another opportunity to stoke my passion for the art. Let’s face it, if we all had enough imaginary drama in our theatre lives, we wouldn’t need so much of it in our politics.  My future bumper sticker: “Oppose smear tactics. Keep the fiction on the stage!”

And can somebody take Jerome Corsi out to see a play? May I suggest…Medea?