In the past couple of weeks, we have been overtaken by some of the stupidest scandals ever to grace the pages of newspapers and the airwaves. And believe me, I'm a veteran of the Jim-and-Tammy-Baker era. I was there for Britney Spears and her shaved head. I even remember the "we're more popular than Jesus" rumpus that John Lennon set off while trying to make a point about how odd Beatlemania had become.
And while the latest crop of nonsense isn't by itself weirder than any of those nutty things or goofy side issues from the past (Were there pop culture scandals in George Washington's time? Was there speculation that the composer of "Yankee Doodle" was just hoping to get a cupcake named after his song?), the sheer number of them, coming one after the other, was enough to get one to sit up and take notice.
First Lance Armstrong spent hours talking to Oprah Winfrey about how he--gasp!--used to use performance-enhancing drugs to help him do stuff that no man riding a bike without them could possibly have done. This was a shocker equal in proportion to the disclosure that Liberace was gay. Really?
Lance's "confession" (apparently Oprah has taken on some sort of religious role) came on the heels of a similar brouhaha involving everyone who played major league baseball in the 1980s and 1990s. Earlier this month, the Baseball Writers Association of America (how come crime fiction writers aren't unionized?), who for reasons no one understands have been given the responsibility to populate the game's Hall of Fame, chose not to add to the population this year because some of the players eligible had--gasp!--used performance-enhancing drugs to do things that no other players in history had ever done. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were juicing? Next you'll be telling me that Paul McCartney dyes his hair.
But the nuttiness was just starting in the world of sports. Next, Manti Te'o, who apparently played college football for Notre Dame--I'm a one-sport idiot, and don't care about such things--had gained some notoriety and sympathy when, on September 12, his girlfriend was reported to have died of leukemia. Then it turned out she hadn't died. Then it turned out she wasn't his girlfriend, mostly because she wasn't a real person. And the story just got odder from there. Te'o knew she wasn't dead, then he knew his girlfriend--whom he'd never met, which is sort of an interesting scenario all by itslef--wasn't a girlfriend, that she was fictional, that there was some guy with an unspellable name pretending to be the fake girlfriend on the phone... my head hurts just thinking about it, and I'm sure I'm a number of steps behind, because to be honest, I'm really not following this one too closely.
The complete lunacy culminated at, of all events, the inauguration for a second term of President Barack Obama, when it was rumored after the festivities that Beyonce, who at one time had a last name, had purportedly lip-synched her performance of the national anthem.
There are people who actually care whether Beyonce was singing live (she was singing live; the question is whether what she was singing is what we heard over the television), some of whom are honestly trying to make political points based on her singing.
I've been hearing Kate Smith sing God Bless America at Yankee Stadium for 11 years, and I'm pretty sure she was prerecorded, and never even bothered to lip sync, because she was busy being dead. Robert Merrill has been belting out The Star-Spangled Banner for decades since he died. John Lennon asks me what I've done at Christmas time every December. Concert performers from Madonna to Britney Spears (hair or no hair) have been known to pre-record parts of their shows and then pretend they're singing while the audience watches.
Yes, the question, "Don't we have bigger things with which to concern ourselves" leaps to mind, but hey, I'm only reporting the stupid. I don't make it up.
You're wondering what this has to do with crime fiction publishing. Well, let me explain: my CLOSE PERSONAL FRIEND E.J. Copperman has a book coming out two weeks from tomorrow. It's called CHANCE OF A GHOST. And I've been trying to think of ways to promote the release, um, because E.J. is such a good friend and I like to help out.
So I'm thinking a good scandal might do it--but it has to be a creative, loopy one like the ones listed above. I can't say I've been using performance-enhancing drugs to write books, unless Caffeine-Free Diet Coke is akin to a parabolic steroid. People have actually seen me with my wife, whom I can state unequivocally is a real person, so that one's out. I could lip sync a bookstore reading, I suppose, but I don't see what the big deal is with that one, frankly.
What I'm saying is that I need a good scandal to push the book. Any ideas? (Actually doing bodily harm to anyone--including or especially myself--is out of the question.) Something that's going to get lots of attention and get my name out there into the media.
Not that any of the people discussed above would do that, of course...
P.S. Pitchers and catchers report in 14 days.