Sunday, October 29, 2006

October Winner


Easy winner this month is MITCH ALBOM; a strong candidate for Demi-Puppet of the Year, or the Millennium.

Mitch has shown how a writer with modest connections can become wildly successful by sucking up to, stepping-on, and using everyone he's encountered. He started as a piano player; became a sports writer who wrote sycophantic books for or about every available pro-corporation general manager or coach, and egregiously backed every anti-public local Detroit corporate sports maneuver (the firing of Ernie Harwell; the abandonment of Tiger Stadium). Albom was Detroit's #1 corporate sports whore BEFORE he abandoned his fellow guild members and left them literally in the cold; BEFORE he opportunistically jumped on someone else's story about one of Mitch's dying ex-professors; BEFORE he was caught plagiarizing for one of his sports columns.

Now he's the apt choice to be promoted by the most ruthless of all corporate monopoly-wannabes-- STARBUCKS-- whose standard business practice is to open new coffeeshops as close as possible to thriving independent ones, to take their business away. Starbucks wants not most of the market, but ALL of it.

To top it off, Mitch Albom is a writer completely without talent. His novels are execrable. As with "Morrie," they pander to the desperate thoughts of the grieving, the sick, and the old. (Mitch Albom is akin to one of those con-men you hear about on TV ripping-off vulnerable seniors.) Mitch cynically used the sports world; he used Morrie; he'll use anybody.
Plenty of runner-ups for this month's award are to be found in the ranks of guests at this week's CLMP Literary Writers Conference. ( Names like Jill Bialosky and Paula Dietz who received my mailing about the CLMP board takeover (; "Monday Report" archives) yet haven't said anything about the matter, publicly or privately. They're unable to defend their actions.

I'll choose one name among the herd as official Demi-Puppet Runner-Up: LESLIE SCHWARTZ of CLMP and PEN USA, because she poses most prominently as a voice against injustice while being one more enabler of today's literary aristocracy.

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