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If you had any doubt that former community organizer Barack Obama sees his future as a corporate pitchman for the rich and famous (the Ricardo Montalban of the policy set), look no further than the deal that he and his wife, Michele, struck with Penguin Random House for a reported $60 million (which is a lot of “Corinthian leather”).

According to press reports, Penguin Random House acquired the worldwide rights to publish both memoirs, which are due out in 2018.

Various lawyers, agents, and middlemen helped the Obamas and Penguin Random House structure the pay day, which presumably is for more than just two self-congratulatory memoirs.

I would imagine that Michele will throw in a few exercise books for children (Playing to Win?) and that Barack will send along his collected speeches, if not a handbook on fundraising (It’s All for a Good Cause: Me).

Normally, the announcement of celebrity memoirs is followed in the trade press with rumors about which ghostwriters will sign on to the project. The best way to judge the seriousness of a major book deal is to assess the hired hands.

No one expected George W. Bush personally to write his memoirs, any more than fans of the New York Jets believe that Joe Namath himself wrote I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow: ’Cause I Get Better-looking Every Day.

In Barack’s case, however, because he’s a writer who pals around with Nobel laureate Toni Morrison and had Barbara Kingsolver and Zadie Smith to the White House, it is assumed that he will need no help in penning his memoirs, not even with the deadline looming next year.

Never mind that Herbert Hoover needed eighteen years to complete his memoirs; he was responsible for the Depression.

* * *

Much of the Obama mythology is built around the immaculate conception of his first book, Dreams from My Father, which has been hailed as a cross between To Kill a Mockingbird and Soul on Ice.

The Time columnist Joe Klein said that Dreams “may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician.” Most of the sycophantic praise for the book, however, only appeared after Obama was being mentioned as a presidential candidate (which can bring even a book as bad as Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal back into print).

The hagiography around Dreams established Obama, much the way log cabins made Abraham Lincoln or PT-109 burnished the reputation of John F. Kennedy. And much of that ego enlargement came because everyone believes that Obama personally wrote not just Dreams but his subsequent best-seller, The Audacity of Hope, which came out in 2006 and launched his campaign for president.

Not so long ago, Obama said to a group of schoolteachers: “I’ve written two books … I actually wrote them myself.” It’s the basis of the Obama mythology from which all things flow, including now the $60 million windfall from Penguin Random House.

ORDER IT NOW

The first book earned for Obama more than $10 million in royalties and established his political identity, as did The Audacity of Hope. If later, it turned that ghostwriters had a hand in turning out one or both books, would we not feel about Obama as we do about cyclist Lance Armstrong—that he had used some of “mother’s little helpers” to get to the finish line?

Lance cheated because “everyone did it” and because seven-time winners of the Tour de France earned $100 million and rode private planes to beachside manors, while less successful domestiques (support riders) ate bananas for lunch and worked during the off-season as a wrench in a bike shop.

Would Lincoln be Lincoln if it later turned out that he had spent his early years living in a split-level suburban ranch house, playing video games after school?

Would Obama be kite-surfing off Richard Branson’s private island if his first book had sounded like a downloaded term paper?

* * *

Instead of speculating about which Obama speechwriter might be brought on board for the book project, the press greeted the Penguin Random House news by fast forwarding to the anticipated reviews, and wondering if these might be the greatest memoirs a president will have ever written.

Already fawning reviewers were lining up to compare the anticipated Obama volume with Grant’s Personal Memoirs, which have become the gold standard when it comes to presidential memoirs—even though Grant’s books never mention his failed presidency and dwell almost entirely on the battle lines of the Civil War.

Having read both volumes of Grant’s Memoirs (a bad flu in 1979 got me going), I can stay that if his books are the best that we have from an American president, the bar for Obama is set fairly low.

To be sure Grant writes clearly and well for a Civil War general (Ambrose Burnside wasn’t much of a stylist, and Nathan Bedford Forrest was busy starting up the Klan), but his book doesn’t get anywhere near the White House for the simple reason that his presidency was awash in corruption.

Grant no more wanted to write about Crédit Mobilier, Black Friday or The Whiskey Ring than Obama will want to square his famous quote, “Turns out I’m really good at killing people,” with his Nobel Peace Prize.

Maybe this Obama memoir will end with his first election? After all, it was downhill from there.

* * *

As a genre of literature, presidential memoirs are somewhere between cook books and The Hardy Boys (“Way to go, CIA!” Joe said proudly. “So everyone who was involved in this has been arrested?”). I would rather rot in hell with the collected works of Danielle Steel than find myself in a dark eternity with all the presidential memoirs.

Part of the reason the collection is so bad is because the great writers who lived in the White House—I am thinking now of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln—never wrote their memoirs.

Jefferson spent most of his presidential days at his writing table, but never churned out a self-serving tract on his presidency. I would argue that Lincoln’s memoir is the Gettysburg Address, those 222 words that eloquently capture both the soul of the man and the troubled nation.

Teddy Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge both published an autobiography, as did James Buchanan, although it wasn’t until Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower wrote their memoirs that it became a presidential tradition, right up there with pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey and splendid little wars in Asia.

Before becoming president, John F. Kennedy published several best-sellers, including Profiles in Courage. But I would argue he was a better reader than writer. He read seriously and retained much. His published books, however, drifted in the direction of the Reader’s Digest.

Profiles was put together as an anthology, with various (unnamed) historians contributing chapters about Thomas Hart Benton or George Norris. Kennedy was the editor-in-chief. He did write his college thesis, later published as Why England Slept (about appeasement and rearmament), but, again, he had the benefit of a family rewrite man (columnist Arthur Krock of the New York Times) before the book went to press. But the books introduced Kennedy to the American public as a serious political figure.

* * *

The presidential memoirs of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and the George Bushes all feel like the literary equivalent of elevator music.

It’s too bad all of them fell back on a Washington – Muzak style, as each of them had a story to tell, and had it been told in their distinct voices, some memorable prose might have resulted.

Imagine if Lyndon Johnson had published a book on the nature of power won and lost, and if he had told it as he recounted stories over bourbon and branch in his Senate chambers. (For example, he once said: Jerry Ford is so dumb he can’t fart and chew gum at the same time…”) He could have written the Ball Four of politics.

Instead, Lyndon Johnson published The Vantage Point, about his presidency, which my aunt and uncle gave me for Christmas in 1971. It is full of phrases such as: “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” In my childhood, only Sunday school film strips (about Nazareth) were more tedious.

Nixon understood revenge, the cheap trick, bribery, and vote rigging, but instead wrote memoirs, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, as if he were an English Lord, perhaps Benjamin Disraeli, assessing the Empire and the Bulgarian Agitation.

The dutiful Dutch Reagan published both memoirs and his White House diaries (the tone of the journal is that of letters to Santa Claus). Of his forgettable memoir, at least he had the honesty to say: “I hear it’s a terrific book. One of these days I’m going to read it myself.”

* * *

Why anyone would part with $30 to read the prepackaged memoirs of Bill Clinton or George W. Bush is a mystery to me. Were not the eight years of their press conferences, daily spectacles, and appearances on television sufficient to digest their messages?

Publishers paid multimillion dollar advances to each man—presumably so that they could “set the record straight”—although both danced around the key subjects at hand (oral sex as a weapon of mass destruction?) as if the books were lawyers’ briefs, as I guess they were.

Financially, however, for the publishers as for Clinton and W, recent presidential memoirs have been a home run, one reason Penguin Random House is now willing to pay shortstop money to the Obamas. (The other, maybe better reason is that parent company Pearson is trying to dump its shares in Penguin Random House, and Pearson’s stock is in free fall.)

Does it mean Obama will knock out 3,000 words a day as did Churchill at Chartwell in the 1930s, when he wrote a number of his 45 books? Don’t count on it. Obama may have many talents, but writing isn’t among them.

* * *

Obama invented the persona of a writer, much as the way in The Secret Sharer, Joseph Conrad writes about: “That ideal conception of one’s own personality every man sets up for himself.” It must have sounded better than “self-promoter”.

Having spent my life in the presence of authors and worked for many years as an editor, I don’t for a minute think of Obama as a writer. Nor do I believe that if you sent him off to a quiet cabin with a fountain pen and paper that his output would be much better than the prose in a Department of Commerce directive.

In my experience, writers live for the printed word. In their early days they collected pens, then typewriters and, finally, word processors. They like the smell of ink and print shops, and they are forever buying paper, typewriter ribbon, fountain pens, or notebooks (never quite happy with the pads they own). They buy books the way most people buy milk, and they are endlessly marking passages in magazines or clipping newspapers.

In general, when writers go on vacation, it is to read or write. They might play a round or two of golf, but not 333 rounds over eight years. They don’t watch television or go to Hawaii.

If they work at other jobs during the week, weekends become sacred—for writing. They get nervous and grumpy, on Saturdays, when neighbors drop by for chit-chat, and they tend to be happy when it rains on Sundays and they can spend the day at their desk. On Saturday night, instead eating in Michelin-starred restaurants, they proofread.

None of these traits would seem to apply to Golfer Obama, Conference Man Obama, Air Force One Obama, or Martha’s Vineyard Obama, who remind me more of George Clooney than Nathaniel Hawthorne.

As a literary man, Obama strikes me as what the publishing industry calls “a packager,” someone who neither writes nor edits the books, but is a big picture guy who comes up with the subject, puts together the package, and sells it on to the publisher.

Like the Clintons or the Bushes, Obama is best understood as a brand, the front man for certain articles of faith. (Nor would I call it liberalism if your keystone achievements are to unleash the IRS on citizens who fail to buy health insurance or if you spend $1 trillion to put together the lockdown state.)

As a brand manager, Obama uses books (not to mention speeches, TV interviews, and world tours) to promote the product, but he no more writes the ad copy than does the chairman of Coca-Cola.

So what could go wrong?

* * *

ORDER IT NOW

Rather than promote himself as just another half-time entertainer trying for a slot at the Super Bowl—more Beyoncé than a homesick Clydesdale?—early on Obama decided his runs for higher office needed a compelling storyline and for that he turned himself into another James Baldwin, Richard Wright or Walt Whitman (“I and this mystery, here we stand”).

After all, he had attended Columbia and Harvard universities, edited the law review, and taught at the University of Chicago. It made sense that he would “be a writer.”

For that, he offered up Dreams from My Father, a masterpiece by most accounts. Except that, into his thirties, Obama had never written anything that was published, except one article as an undergraduate, “Breaking the War Mentality,” which ran in a Columbia University newspaper, the Sundial.

Read thirty-five years later, the voice in the campus article is unmistakably Obama’s. The cadence in the writing is his, as are the clumsy diction and grammatical errors. (For example, he writes: But the taste of war—the sounds and chill, the dead bodies—are remote and far removed.)

Toward the end of the article, he says: “Indeed, the most pervasive malady of the collegiate system specifically, and the American experience generally, is that elaborate patterns of knowledge and theory have been disembodied from individual choices and government policy.” It sounds like Obama, even down to the point where I have no idea what he is saying.

Can the Sundial author really have written Dreams? If he didn’t, what will it say about the Obama investment in which Penguin Random House has just stumped up $60 million in front money?

* * *

I regret that only right-wing conspiracists have embraced the theories that challenge Obama’s authorship of Dreams, at least the published version, because there is much that should be discussed. After all, how did the Sundialer become Harper Lee?

The person beating the loudest drums against Obama having written the songs of himself is Jack Cashill, a midwestern professor, who—as if deconstructing Shakespeare in search of homoerotic imagery—chose to pull apart Obama’s books to prove that Obama did not write Dreams and, further, that whoever wrote Dreams did not write The Audacity of Hope, a book of campaign hackwork.

Because Cashill’s work has mostly appeared in conservative publications and on alt websites, he’s dismissed as a birther, obsessed with Kenyan nativity or TWA flight 800 coming down to a navy missile.

But just for his textual analysis of Obama’s prose he deserves commendation. I have read his essays and watched him on YouTube, and he strikes me as a middle of the road English professor, no more or less obsessed with deconstruction than were many who taught me Man’s Fate or All the King’s Men (both of which, by the way, are superb political novels).

Cashill’s theory on Dreams is that Obama was paid a big-time $125,000 advance for his story (Kenyan native son makes good at Harvard Law School), collected some materials, made a few trips, and wrote out a turgid first draft, after which he became “stuck.” He had no feel for narrative language, which may explain why, as president, he saw the need to travel with four speechwriters and a truckload of tele-prompters.

Fearing that the publisher would send around some repo men to claim the hefty advance, Obama persuaded his friend and neighbor, the radical professor Bill Ayers, to “look at” his draft. And it was Ayers who was able to spin the straw of Obama’s clunky jargon into political gold.

Cashill cites the similarities in diction, imagery, and cadence between Ayers’ memoir, Fugitive Days, and Obama’s. Here’s a sample of Ayers’ writing: “I breathed the air of deliverance through books, and through books I leapt over the walls of confinement.” And here’s a passage from Dreams:

I kept finding the same anguish, the same doubt; a self-contempt that neither irony nor intellect seemed able to deflect. Even DuBois’s learning and Baldwin’s love and Langston’s humor eventually succumbed to its corrosive force, each man finally forced to doubt art’s redemptive power, each man finally forced to withdraw, one to Africa, one to Europe, one deeper into the bowels of Harlem, but all of them in the same weary flight, all of them exhausted, bitter men, the devil at their heels.

What do I think? Whether Obama turned to Ayers or someone else, I don’t know. I do presume that Obama pulled together family notes and interviewed relatives. But I cannot imagine that he wrote the final draft, not when the same author, in college, could write:

The very real advantages of concentrating on a single issue is leading the National Freeze movement to challenge individual missile systems, while continuing the broader campaign.

As Stan Mack used to write above his Village Voice cartoons: “All Dialogue Is Reported Verbatim.”

* * *

Had Obama never become president, no one would have cared that he had hired a friend to “spin his manuscript through the typewriter.” Even now, it happens all the time in London and New York.

In the trade it’s called a “heavy edit,” and it means sending out for a rewrite man. In recent years I have found one for a president’s grandson and another for a distinguished naval historian, both of whom had written Sundial first drafts.

When Obama published The Audacity of Hope in 2006, critics chose to overlook that the author of the banal second book sounded nothing like the writer of the first. Well, they wrote, what do you expect from a campaign flyer? Still they gave Obama credit for “writing” the first book and kept comparing him favorably to Hadrian, Cicero, and Pitt the Younger.

Again, no one would care that a politician running for president had decided to package a book of speeches for an election. Except in this case, the politician was running on the claim of authorship and all those talk-show comparisons to literary greatness.

Now, however, Obama is in a bind: in less than year, he has to come up with a $60 million Shakespearean masterpiece and duplicate the narrative voice from Dreams; otherwise, everyone will know that his first book was plagiarized (which means “to take the work of someone else and pass it off as one’s own).

Will he catch lightning in a manuscript twice? I can’t see it happening. Whoever helped him with the first book has passed out of his life, which is why even Audacity sounds like the campaign promises of Governor James M. Cox, who ran in 1920 and lost to Warren Harding.

All that remains, among the presidential wordsmiths, are the likes of ventriloquist Ben Rhodes, who gave us eight years of soaring rhetoric and business-as-usual around Guantanamo.

* * *

One thing you can be sure of is that during the Washington run of The Obama Talk Show, there was a room in the White House, staffed with elves, devoted entirely to manufacturing his memoirs. Anecdotes were recorded, and facts were written down, along with a day book and chronology, much the way JFK tasked Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. to be Camelot’s court historian, which he accomplished on bended knee.

Now, in theory, Obama will be handed these spiral notebooks and—like Grant at 3 East 66th Street wrapped in a blanket—he will work nonstop for nine months on his recollections, turning presidential memos into something on par with Xenophon’s The Persian Expedition.

I can even imagine Obama shills briefing reporters on progress of the memoir writing, although at the same time there will be more private plane rides to Palm Springs and tropical islands, dinners with the rich and famous, golf in the Washington suburbs, headline grabbing trips to Paris and London, and fireside chats with Oprah and Stephen Colbert. Why should the next four years be any different from the last eight?

More likely, in between an appearance on 60 Minutes and a speech in the Knesset, Obama will be passed “draft chapters” of his memoirs by his staff, so that he can write: “Check with Kerry on what the Iranians actually said in the meeting.” From such marginalia are great writers found.

In the end, maybe with Harry Potter secrecy but surely in time for the Christmas rush, we will be presented with a 784-page, toaster of a book that will sell for $40, perhaps under the title: The Conscience of a President. On the red, white, and blue cover there will be a blurb from People magazine: “The finest political memoir ever written.” On the back jacket, Hillary Clinton will write: “It was my privilege to be part of this history.”

As Ricardo himself said about the Chrysler Cordoba, it may even have seats of “soft Corinthian leather.”

Matthew Stevenson, a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine, is the author of many books including, most recently, Reading the Rails.

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Bubba says:

    I believe a large number of purchasers will be highly indebted college students forced to buy it for a politically correct, indoctrination required class they loathe. Very similar to Obamacare.

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  2. phil says:

    Delayed bribery. Direct payments to high government officials while they are in office cross the line, but “understandings” can be reached that big rewards (book deals, other riches) eventually will be forthcoming if the government official toes the line of his paymasters. It was a great challenge for Obama’s Jewish financiers to get him to do the “right” things in cases where Obama’s Muslimist sympathies were pulling him in a different direction.

    In a similar vein, Colin Powell got his luxury car from the Saudis after he left government service.

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    • Replies: @Thomas Fuller

    [$60m] ... which presumably is for more than just two self-congratulatory memoirs ...
     
    My my, what a desperate cynic you are, sir!
    , @eah
    There are a number of such rackets:

    https://twitter.com/ramzpaul/status/838006355642449920
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  3. In fairness to Ulysses Grant, the portion of his memoirs concerning the Civil War are considered quite good–I’ve heard them compared to Caesar’s Commentaries. Grant also wrote under the extreme pressure of knowing that he was dying (throat cancer, I think) and also knowing that revenue from book sales after his death were the only means he had of supporting his family. He also probably knew even then that he would be remembered as a Civil War general and not as a president.

    No rational person, aside from a historian, would part with the money or spend the time reading, what will almost certainly be the ghostwritten, memoirs of Barack and Michelle Obama.

    All the King’s Men is a superb political novel, and outstanding in many other ways, but it sure starts slowly. You have to hang in there but when the novel “grabs you,” you can’t put it down.

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  4. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Obama used the IRS to go after people.

    He went after free press than any president in recent times.

    With Trump presidency subverted, we live in the Obamaccarthy Era.

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  5. @phil
    Delayed bribery. Direct payments to high government officials while they are in office cross the line, but "understandings" can be reached that big rewards (book deals, other riches) eventually will be forthcoming if the government official toes the line of his paymasters. It was a great challenge for Obama's Jewish financiers to get him to do the "right" things in cases where Obama's Muslimist sympathies were pulling him in a different direction.

    In a similar vein, Colin Powell got his luxury car from the Saudis after he left government service.

    [$60m] … which presumably is for more than just two self-congratulatory memoirs …

    My my, what a desperate cynic you are, sir!

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  6. ThereisaGod says: • Website

    Whores of globalist bankers must be SEEN to be well rewarded for their betrayals. The next potential whore is watching and, weighing the value of their God-given soul, will not sell it cheap.

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  7. eah says:
    @phil
    Delayed bribery. Direct payments to high government officials while they are in office cross the line, but "understandings" can be reached that big rewards (book deals, other riches) eventually will be forthcoming if the government official toes the line of his paymasters. It was a great challenge for Obama's Jewish financiers to get him to do the "right" things in cases where Obama's Muslimist sympathies were pulling him in a different direction.

    In a similar vein, Colin Powell got his luxury car from the Saudis after he left government service.

    There are a number of such rackets:

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Particulars please.
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  8. Gee, I thought Bill Ayers already took credit for authorship of Dreams ;)

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  9. Great analysis. I read Cashill’s book when it came out, mentioned it to some of my “center-left” friends and got sneered at. It was a great book and nailed down one more “fake-Obama,” of which there are many. But “fake-writer” is impossible for his sophisticated sycophants in academe and the publishing industry to contemplate. It will be interesting to see how they spin his memoirs. And Michelle? Go online and read her Senior thesis from her Princeton U days — affirmative action at its best.

    But to anyone who has watched this guy give a speech or an interview (with his jumbled syntax, and irritating tics) over the last 8 years it is obvious that he could never have written anything of interest or staying power. He is clearly not a reader and never seems to have a clear, sustained train of thought. He could never even have worked at Pravda.

    For a comment on one of his early speeches, see;

    http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2013_06_01_archive.html

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    • Replies: @Authenticjazzman
    The wacky Germans worship the ground he walks on, and they think that he is the most brilliant speaker, and the most intelligent human to have ever walked the earth, however a profound truth I have discovered over the last fifty years of pondering the follies of mankind is : Whatever the Germans consider to be good is bad, and vice-versa, which in itself is a sad documentary of the progression of civilization when one considers such awesome minds as Goethe or Bach.

    Authenticjazzman "Mensa" society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist.
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  10. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    The money is being paid to the book publisher by various interested parties who got rich off of obama’s decisions….obama scratched their backs while president and now they are scratching his back…they will make a deal with the book publisher to buy some huge amount of the book from the publisher and then they will burn the purchased books…it’s a payoff, a quid pro quo for what obama did for them while he was president…isn’t this obvious???

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    • Replies: @Willem Hendrik
    Why burn the physical book when you can buy the kindle version? Download and delete.
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  11. Agent76 says:

    Fascism pays! March 06, 2017 White House logs show Obama talked to the Russians and Iranian regime advocates… no outcry from the media for 8 years

    As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, during Barack Obama’s eight years in the Oval Office, Iranian officials and lobbyists – two high-ranking representatives of Tehran’s government – held more than 30 meetings with top administration officials, indicative of the Obama regime’s earlier admissions it began “negotiating” the so-called “nuclear deal” very early on.

    http://www.newstarget.com/2017-03-06-white-house-logs-show-obama-talked-to-the-russians-and-iranian-regime-advocates-no-outcry-from-the-media-for-8-years.html

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  12. JackOH says:

    Matthew, thanks. That wincingly outrageous $60 million deal is too obviously for something other than the scholarly Obama plying the writerly craft. I’ll go with the comment above that there’s a guaranteed institutional buyer that’ll be okay with remaindering and pulping most of its purchases.

    “In my experience, writers live for the printed word. In their early days they collected pens, then typewriters and, finally, word processors. They like the smell of ink and print shops, and they are forever buying paper, typewriter ribbon, fountain pens, or notebooks (never quite happy with the pads they own). They buy books the way most people buy milk, and they are endlessly marking passages in magazines or clipping newspapers.”

    Yep, Matthew, you nailed it. The writers I know are, well, “writerly”, even if they have day jobs, and even if their writing brings them very little income for their efforts. There’s always the hope that a published letter, essay, or book will draw attention and influence people who are more important than the writer himself. (N. b: I’m a former tech writer and do a lot of small-time, mostly local writing.)

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  13. @Anon
    The money is being paid to the book publisher by various interested parties who got rich off of obama's decisions....obama scratched their backs while president and now they are scratching his back...they will make a deal with the book publisher to buy some huge amount of the book from the publisher and then they will burn the purchased books...it's a payoff, a quid pro quo for what obama did for them while he was president...isn't this obvious???

    Why burn the physical book when you can buy the kindle version? Download and delete.

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  14. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    My first thought was now the payoffs begin for past services rendered. We have a system of gentlemen thieves where payment is assured down the line rather than at time of service. No grubbiness or envelopes with cash involved. It’s all legal now and has evolved into an honor system. This is an inducement for the next group of willing helpers who know they won’t get double-crossed or shorted. It’s institutionalized and the good people who have gone to the good schools need never send any signals or wink their eyes; it’s all silently understood.
    I see where other commenters have also picked up on this so it’s nice to see that there’s still some sensible people left. Shakespeare, were he around today, wouldn’t get offered $60M.

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    • Replies: @JackOH
    "We have a system of gentlemen thieves where payment is assured down the line rather than at time of service."

    Yes, the common pattern in my area is for budding political players to take strong advocacy positions. After the local entrenched elites take their measure, by political roughhousing if necessary, the players are then encouraged to vie for office or they're placed in do-nothing government jobs. If they're good boys and girls and do the elites' bidding when told, there's a good chance--not a guarantee--they'll be rewarded with a goodie package.

    One local young guy with an Ivy League degree was placed in an "organizing collaborative", a Leftish puppet group that essentially fronted for the Democrats. Knowing nothing about the grocery business, he'd publicly scold local convenience store owners in the 'hood as "merchants of death" (actual quote) for doing relatively big volume in beer and wine sales.

    Mr. Ivy League's goodie package? He'll be opening a brew-pub soon with a combo of government loans, outright grants, and tax abatements. His wife got a job as zoning inspector in the largest city in my area.
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  15. Pandos says:

    Book deals are bribes and payoffs. Just give them the money and save the paper.

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  16. Agent76 says:

    Only in America and home of the fleeced! Here is a flashback for folks with short memories.

    Jun 1, 2010 Obama’s Gulf Oil Spill, ‘He said he’s been fighting from day one’

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  17. MikeTB says:

    Dreams From my Father, might be a masterpiece… of fiction. Disappointing the author doesn’t point this out.

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  18. joe webb says:

    thank the genes of most folks…they do not read books.

    And as I state from time to time, liberals are B students, read books, etc. while A students know when to put a book down, as well as grow up. We may survive all the B students and their righteousness, but it will not be because of Real Books, it will be because of arms.

    JW

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  19. peterike says:

    Obama will sell many, many books, and not just as secretive pay back. It will be carried around by Liberals as a status marker, the same way they buy, but don’t actually read, the inane babbling of that other Magical Negro, Genius T. Coates. What, you think black people read that stuff?

    Surely, every white woman who lives in Park Slope and owns a yoga mat will buy a copy, plus several as gifts. It will be an essential accessory, the talk of the town. As as a wise man once said, and I think it was me, nobody ever went broke overestimating how eagerly wealthy urban women would spend money on status signaling.

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    • LOL: AndrewR
    • Replies: @res

    Surely, every white woman who lives in Park Slope and owns a yoga mat will buy a copy
     
    I'm suffering a flashback to the K&T is Linda a feminist bank teller question. Would be interesting to see a Venn diagram apportioning white women living in Park Slope among the other categories.
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  20. JackOH says:
    @anonymous
    My first thought was now the payoffs begin for past services rendered. We have a system of gentlemen thieves where payment is assured down the line rather than at time of service. No grubbiness or envelopes with cash involved. It's all legal now and has evolved into an honor system. This is an inducement for the next group of willing helpers who know they won't get double-crossed or shorted. It's institutionalized and the good people who have gone to the good schools need never send any signals or wink their eyes; it's all silently understood.
    I see where other commenters have also picked up on this so it's nice to see that there's still some sensible people left. Shakespeare, were he around today, wouldn't get offered $60M.

    “We have a system of gentlemen thieves where payment is assured down the line rather than at time of service.”

    Yes, the common pattern in my area is for budding political players to take strong advocacy positions. After the local entrenched elites take their measure, by political roughhousing if necessary, the players are then encouraged to vie for office or they’re placed in do-nothing government jobs. If they’re good boys and girls and do the elites’ bidding when told, there’s a good chance–not a guarantee–they’ll be rewarded with a goodie package.

    One local young guy with an Ivy League degree was placed in an “organizing collaborative”, a Leftish puppet group that essentially fronted for the Democrats. Knowing nothing about the grocery business, he’d publicly scold local convenience store owners in the ‘hood as “merchants of death” (actual quote) for doing relatively big volume in beer and wine sales.

    Mr. Ivy League’s goodie package? He’ll be opening a brew-pub soon with a combo of government loans, outright grants, and tax abatements. His wife got a job as zoning inspector in the largest city in my area.

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  21. res says:
    @peterike
    Obama will sell many, many books, and not just as secretive pay back. It will be carried around by Liberals as a status marker, the same way they buy, but don't actually read, the inane babbling of that other Magical Negro, Genius T. Coates. What, you think black people read that stuff?

    Surely, every white woman who lives in Park Slope and owns a yoga mat will buy a copy, plus several as gifts. It will be an essential accessory, the talk of the town. As as a wise man once said, and I think it was me, nobody ever went broke overestimating how eagerly wealthy urban women would spend money on status signaling.

    Surely, every white woman who lives in Park Slope and owns a yoga mat will buy a copy

    I’m suffering a flashback to the K&T is Linda a feminist bank teller question. Would be interesting to see a Venn diagram apportioning white women living in Park Slope among the other categories.

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    • Agree: Wizard of Oz
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  22. Never mind that Herbert Hoover needed eighteen years to complete his memoirs; he was responsible for the Depression.

    A lot of people blame Coolidge for the Depression. Herbert Hoover, they say, just blundered into it.

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  23. I predict Obama will get the Nobel prize for literature …. wait for it … before his book is even published! It will be that great of a memoir and the two predictive Nobel prizes will be lofty bookends for his presidency.

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  24. @eah
    There are a number of such rackets:

    https://twitter.com/ramzpaul/status/838006355642449920

    Particulars please.

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  25. Virtue signaling will drive it up the bestseller lists, but how many people will actually read it?

    I want a book that explains in detail; how a man that oversaw a domestic surveillance system that rivals anything in the former USSR, gave a trillion dollars to banks, weaponized African Americans, overthrew governments whenever the whim struck him, is still somehow celebrated as some great champion of civil/human rights.

    Not only did our emperor have no clothes, but he was also a murderous cheerleader for the deep state. Whose going to write that book?

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  26. Ronnie says:

    Another 60 million dollar nail in the coffin of the elitist dominated Democratic party. It merely confirms what has already happened in our recent presidential election. Obama was a good actor, moulded, directed and financially supported by a national cast of elite bankers, billionaires and dupes. But the people were not completely fooled and a candidate who spoke out against him was chosen by the people. We are in new uncharted territory.

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  27. Watch out for the wrath of Khan.

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  28. Svigor says:

    Valerie Jarret has moved in with Hussein & Michelle to oversee their book projects, and their true authors.

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  29. By hacking Vault 8 of the CIA I have obtained the first draft of Barack and Michelle Obama’s memoirs, personally hand written, which I now share with unz.com readers:

    The Search for Perfect Negritude by Barack and Michelle Obama

    “We’re black, y’all
    We’re black, y’all
    We’re blackity, blackity, black, y’all
    And we’re black, y’all
    We’re black y’all
    And we’re blackity, blackity, black y’all.”

    Lather, rinse, repeat!

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  30. JackOH says:

    Matthew, I think you’ve done writers and writing a good turn with your essay. I hope you can expand on it.

    Just an afterthought here: One executive hired me to write a procedures manual. Young, naïve, and desperate for the job, I didn’t ask the sort of questions I ought to have. Only when I was committed did I find out the manual was a recommendation by an outside consultant hired to prep the firm for sale, rumors of which were commonplace before I showed up. Also, the executive had failed to tell the union leaders and rank-and-file what I was doing. They feared job reclassifications and rate-cutting, and saw me, mistakenly, as the guy who was doing that. It was a lousy experience. So, words, and the “constituencies” for words, and misunderstandings about words, can have influence and even power.

    I got out of technical writing, and I’ve been wary ever since of allowing whatever talents I have to be used by lazy or game-playing management slobs. I’ve paid a price for that wariness, I’m sure, but I’m okay with that.

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  31. Everybody knows what a liar he is. I think Penguin Random House is going to lose a lot of money.
    The tell all books will be where the money is, that is, if the authors are allowed to live long enough to write them.

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  32. mcohen says:

    60 million,from a penguin…….here is one for the conspiracy nuts.

    interesting history the owners have…..Bertelsmann And Pearson Complete Merger.even gaddafi had a finger in the pie…..some time ago

    from wiki

    Libyan Investment Authority
    In June 2010, Pearson Plc received notification that the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) founded by Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi as a sovereign fund, had acquired 24,431,000 shares within the company via Euroclear. On further investigation, Pearson said the LIA may have acquired an additional 2,141,179 shares, resulting in a total interest of 26,572,179 shares. At the time, this represented a major holding of 3.27% within the company and the investment was worth around £280 million

    1945 to 1970 Edit
    After World War II, the company portrayed itself to the Allied Control Authority as a Christian publisher that was part of the resistance to Nazism and allegedly persecuted. Ties to National Socialist organizations were initially denied. After it became known that erroneous, or at least inadequate, statements had been made, Heinrich Mohn stepped down as the head of the publishing house.[

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  33. @Stephen Paul Foster
    Great analysis. I read Cashill's book when it came out, mentioned it to some of my "center-left" friends and got sneered at. It was a great book and nailed down one more "fake-Obama," of which there are many. But "fake-writer" is impossible for his sophisticated sycophants in academe and the publishing industry to contemplate. It will be interesting to see how they spin his memoirs. And Michelle? Go online and read her Senior thesis from her Princeton U days -- affirmative action at its best.

    But to anyone who has watched this guy give a speech or an interview (with his jumbled syntax, and irritating tics) over the last 8 years it is obvious that he could never have written anything of interest or staying power. He is clearly not a reader and never seems to have a clear, sustained train of thought. He could never even have worked at Pravda.

    For a comment on one of his early speeches, see;

    http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2013_06_01_archive.html

    The wacky Germans worship the ground he walks on, and they think that he is the most brilliant speaker, and the most intelligent human to have ever walked the earth, however a profound truth I have discovered over the last fifty years of pondering the follies of mankind is : Whatever the Germans consider to be good is bad, and vice-versa, which in itself is a sad documentary of the progression of civilization when one considers such awesome minds as Goethe or Bach.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist.

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  34. obama getting paid! this is how wallstreet take care of their front man :P

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