Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

This morning’s coverage features a relentlessly snide and obvious piece in the arts section of the Globe, taking as its hook the publication of Black’s Nixon bio in the States. So blatant is James Adams’ sarcasm he might as well have provided at selected intervals the instruction “roll eyes here.”

To begin, Adams treads a well-beaten path when he announces that “Black, 63, no doubt would like to be touring in support of his biography… Had he been cleared, Black likely would be doing some literary road work today, perhaps in Washington or New York or Nixon’s home state of California. However, while his Lordship is currently free on a $21-million bond, he’s legally required to spend virtually all his time at his south Florida estate.”

Not satisfied with telling just about any sentient creature what they already know, the reporter blesses us with his insights into the publishing business. Adams points out that Black’s publisher likely wouldn’t have sent Black on the road anyway, since his previous biography of Roosevelt sold only 50,000 copies, “not bad for a hardcover that runs to 1,300 pages and sold for $54.95 (Cdn.), but hardly an incentive for Public Affairs to plot a massive road trip for a leader much less-loved than FDR, indeed, one of the most reviled of America’s 43 presidents.”

It must come as a stunning revelation to the industry that books concerning reviled historical figures are a disincentive to sales and marketing. No doubt publishers will spend the day barking orders to pulp the current run of books on Hitler and Nazi Germany.

Adams carries on his mocking throughout, noting that the book has failed to sell excerpt rights, that the publisher has bought only one ad in The Atlantic, and “if talking heads Bill O’Reilly, Tim Russert or Larry King are interested, none has expressed that interest to Public Affairs—at least not yet.”

In the end, Adams pushes his snot-o-meter into the red zone, informing us that “Meanwhile, Lord Black of Crossharbour is waiting, metaphorically and perhaps literally, by the phone in the study of his Palm Beach sanctuary.” (Roll eyes here.)

Little fanfare accompanies U.S. publication of Nixon bio: Source [The Globe and Mail]