Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hemingway, Faulkner….Snooki?

In one of the more disturbing literary developments in recent memory, today marks the release date for A Shore Thing, the debut novel by "Jersey Shore" star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi. It is fortunate that I am typing this post, because every time I try to say the previous sentence out loud, all that comes out is a stream of obscenities.

I realize that nothing should shock or surprise me anymore, even in the book world. But this…this is an abomination not seen since Leonard Nimoy was recording albums that featured him playing a Pan Flute. And while celebrities often get books deals, they are usually confined to autobiographical fluff or diet/workout books. This is a NOVEL.

Courtesy of the intrepid journalists at The New York Post, here are a few snippets from Snooki’s magnum opus:

  • "Yum. Johnny Hulk tasted like fresh gorilla."
  • "Gia danced around a little, shaking her peaches for show. She shook it hard. Too hard. In the middle of a shimmy, her stomach cramped. A fart slipped out. A loud one. And stinky."
  • "He had an okay body. Not fat at all. And naturally toned abs. She could pour a shot of tequila down his belly and slurp it out of his navel without getting splashed in the face."

Wow. Those literary gems rank right up there with "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Move over Charles Dickens.

I realize I should just ignore this atrocity and hope it goes away, and probably should not add to the attention it’s already getting. But right now I’m too angry for rational thought. As Peter Finch screamed in the film Network: "I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!"

Ms. Polizzi (who has apparently admitted in past interviews that the only two books she has ever read are Twilight and Dear John) has received a publishing deal while the manuscripts of unknown but talented writers lie buried in the slush pile of some literary agent’s office. They could be the next Scott Fitzgerald, Stephen King, or J.K. Rowling, but their books will never see the light of day because both agents and publishers are too busy churning out crappy vampire books and touting the merits of the latest reality show moron.

Novels often say more about a culture, generation, or point in time than all of the histories and biographies combined. The mid-1800s had Dickens and Dumas, the 1920s and 1930s had Hemingway and Fitzgerald, and we have Stephenie Meyer and Snooki. It would almost be funny, if it wasn’t so damn sad.

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