Fiction Friction, News Blues

By Jack Engelhard

 

When I heard that an obscure French-born novelist had won the Nobel Prize, I thought it must be me and I began eyeing that red Cadillac. After all, I fit all three categories. I am obscure. I am French-born. I am a novelist. Who else could it be? A man named Jean-Marie Gustav Le Clezio, that’s who. Oh well, as we say in baseball (and the economy) – wait till next year.

 

I hope Le Clezio wins us over. This is not promising. There have been no long lines for preceding Nobel champs, big names like Orhan Pamuk and Elfriede Jelinek.

 

Hemingway got the jitters when he won it and in fact he wanted no part of it due to the jinx.

 

But I’m stalling. I’ve really come here to talk about THE DEATH OF THE NOVEL. The latest to have his crack at this is columnist Kyle Smith writing in today’s New York Post (Sunday, Oct. 12). He sums it all up, in my favorite newspaper, by saying (if not in those words) that, in this fast-paced age of technology, fiction does not speak for our times.

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“In God We Trust” and That’s No Lie

By Jack Engelhard

 

Who knew it would come to this? The psalmist knew.

 

Psalm 146 says this: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”

 

Princes, then as now, are people who run our lives, like politicians and titans of commerce – most of whom we trusted until some weeks ago.

 

Today we know that many of these men are beyond greed but deep into incompetence and crookedness. They’ve taken our money and run off. One crowd at one of those firms that got bailed out with our billions, well, as you know, they made themselves a party at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars. Whoopee!

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Your Money is Safer at the Racetrack

By Jack Engelhard

 

Don’t know much about the economy. Then again, neither do the people who run these things.

 

With all these banking outfits going down the drain, virtually overnight, we skipped right past Recession and went directly to Depression. Thanks, guys! Now it’s all in the hands of our Congress to save us from insolvency, which is like inviting Michael Jackson into your bedroom to babysit.

 

Don’t know much about politics, either, which puts me in the same boat with politicians.

 

On Nancy Pelosi and the bickering in the House of Representatives, we quote the sage Casey Stengal: “Doesn’t anybody know how to play this game?”

 

[Wait a minute! This Congress is controlled by the Democrats. If this is a sample of the “change” we’ve got coming, we’re in big trouble, kemosabe.]

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Charlie Gibson’s Gong Show

By Jack Engelhard

 

This was supposed to be Sarah Palin’s first big test but it was Charlie Gibson and the yuppity media that flunked for the sins of prejudice, snobbery and arrogance. This can’t be the best we’ve got in American journalism, a tradition that goes back to Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Ernie Pyle, H.L. Mencken and Edward R. Murrow. Those days are gone.

 

This was not journalism’s finest hour — or how many hours it took for Gibson to blitz the VP nominee.

 

This was no interview. This was a trial.

 

I don’t care what side of the isle you sit on, Democrat or Republican, but you should be worried about the power of information, that it’s become so corrupted.

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Where Have You Gone Sandy Koufax?

By Jack Engelhard

 

The last time I read anything good about Israel (meaning Jews worldwide as well as the nation itself) was when Sandy Koufax pitched for the Dodgers and especially when he sat out the first game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. So we have to go back to the 1960s to find anything to celebrate.

 

Ehud Olmert says he’s “tired of winning.” I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of Ehud Olmert.

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Someone Stole My Novel (Indecent Proposal)

By Jack Engelhard

What’s this?

Just for the heck of it I decided to check out how my most famous novel is doing among top booksellers and found that there are a slew of books by this title “Indecent Proposal” that were written by everyone but me – and years after me! In fact, someone just came out with his very own “Indecent Proposal” sometime this year.

Let’s get this straight!

I wrote the original novel back in the mid-1980s; it was published by Donald I. Fine Publishers in 1989. I repeat, 1989. Paramount Pictures bought the rights to it two years later and, based on my novel, delivered the famous movie starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. The movie was released April, 1993. (See the credits at the beginning of the film– Based Upon The Novel By Jack Engelhard).

At the same time, this novel, MY novel (for crying out loud) was translated into more than 22 languages.

Following that, Pocket Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, reprinted the novel into a movie-tie-in paperback.

After Pocket Books lost the rights to it, I retrieved the contract and had it republished by Comteq Publishing – the version that ought to be on sale right now.  

  Indecent Proposal 

 

 

Instead, I find that a host of other writers and publishers have decided to feast off the fanfare and fame that was generated by my original novel, and movie. Obviously they’ve tacked in different storylines while using my title. This is legal, right? I mean anybody can beg, borrow or steal another man’s book title.

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I’m Trapped In Your Commercial

By Jack Engelhard

 

Say this about the 1960s. Those years were spontaneous. We didn’t know what’s coming next. Anything could happen and it usually did and sometimes it was good and sometimes it was bad but in either case it was real. Does anybody remember REAL– I mean when people and events were authentic?

 

I’m still catching bad music from that column I wrote in which I refused to dance at that wedding that took place in Denver, which was so altogether sanitized and scripted, like a commercial or a movie, all the people performing as directed – and this is no knock on one party or another. It’s what we’ve become, all of us, not necessarily robots, but actors, you know, read your lines and shut up.

 

“Do not deviate from the script.” This goes for the performers and all the rest of us in the bleachers.

 

We are all living in a commercial. I am trapped in your commercial and I can’t get out!

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Obama’s Denver Speech-More Is Less

By Jack Engelhard

 

Barack Obama’s acceptance speech in Denver ran for nearly an hour. Half of it could have been cut had he left out his rage against John McCain. By my count, he mentioned McCain 40 times, derisively, and that is no way to make friends and influence people. This was an angry speech, it was divisive, and so very surprising from the lips of a man whose theme is unity.

 

We could have used some healing.

 

Those of us out here who are mild-mannered Republicans, or on-the-fence Independents, were in search of a message to help us make up our minds, words to animate us toward this Democrat nominee, but all we got was politics as usual, and worse, resentment and mockery. This was not the Obama as advertised.

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Hemingway’s Olympics

By Jack Engelhard

 

Here’s Hemingway as told to A. E. Hotchner:

 

“They shot a lot of our good guys in the war –but the beauty of our country is that there’s a good guy born every minute.”

 

That’s for sure.

 

Hemingway disputed Gertrude Stein’s flapdoodle about a “lost generation.” He found replenishing generations in his own time and even in our time. Surely and prophetically he was speaking about the “good guys” fighting for us in Iraq and Afghanistan and standing guard for us around the rest of the world.

 

Whenever we get to despairing about “the youth” of our country, here they come again, another generation of stouthearted men and women.

 

Where do we find such kids? Don’t know. But know this: God keeps on blessing America.

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Foreclose This!

By Jack Engelhard

 

As I get it, people are being tossed from their homes because of some mortgage, or bank foul-up. The original homeowners are now living in tents.

 

Now these houses are up for auction and you, dear neighbor, are invited to move right on in at about half the price.

 

I keep reading ads like – Foreclosures At Only $150,000. This means your fellow American loses, you win!

 

Maybe I’ve got it all wrong, and if so, clue me in. As it is – this is ugly. This is obscene. Where is it written – Foreclose Thy Neighbor?

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