Friday, December 28, 2012
I noticed in the local newspaper that a local attorney/farmer was having a "book-signing" of his recently published book. I know several people who bought the autographed book and one had exclaimed that it was "wonderful". As I do not know the attorney, I had no interest in reading it until someone mentioned that there was a chapter about a notorious, local, former judge who had been named "The Asshole Of The Month" by Hustler magazine in the 1970s. Although I was hopeful that the chapter was about that episode, it wasn't, but I was still interested when I saw that the chapter was about a different, although equally ignorant, decision by the judge.
In leafing through the book to find the chapter about the judge, I noticed the word "suspicioned". I thought, "OMG, Miss Digman would turn over in her grave at such usage!" [Miss Digman was one of my teachers in high school.] I then saw "council" when it should have clearly been "counsel"; the Supreme Court was not capitalized; and there were numerous errors of syntax, grammar, ellipses, and punctuation. The most glaring example is on page 173 where he wrote "This house saeft....." I screaked, "What the Hell is THAT?"
A friend said, "I guess that's the problem with vanity press books." I was shocked to see in the acknowledgements that there had been an editor! I said, "Surely the people who wrote the blurbs could not have read the book prior to its publication."
I laughed when I told a person who had recommended the book to me that the book would have had just a few pages if the author had not used "Mr." for all the white characters. The black characters, a custodian and a busboy, are not given the "Mr." honor! I cringed when I read the description of a black man as having a "shiny black face" in THREE separate places! No other person's facial characteristic is mentioned in the book. When quoting the black characters, he attributed "them" instead of "those"; "cause" instead of "because"; "I give you" instead of "I'll give you"; "I been watching " instead of "I've been watching" and "I see 'em" instead of "I see them"! I seriously doubt that all of the Misters he quoted used impeccable grammar and speech patterns, but ONLY the blacks are relegated to using that vernacular! [At least he didn't commit the usual faux pas and write that they were "articulate"!] Having lived in Fayette County all of my life, I have heard "prominent" people pronounce Washington as "WaRshington"; use poor grammar; drop the "g" on being, and going; 'cause for because, but one wouldn't know from this book as all the white people have good speech patterns and the blacks sound like Stepin Fetchit! It's astounding that the author could recall the exact speech of people from fifty years ago.
I'm surprised that the author didn't injure himself -- patting himself on the back -- for being such a magnanimous friend to black people! His self-congratulatory, self-aggrandizing, posturing is embarrassing. I wondered how he had been such a successful attorney/farmer/businessman, but I believed it after I learned that he was able to convince people to pay $14.95 for the book!
Another person told me she'd heard that the writer manque was going to do a follow-up book. I said, "Perhaps I should ask him if he'll hire me as a proofreader and editor!"