Liberals Sulking Over Me

By Jack Engelhard


The man said “I’ve been looking you up” and that sounded ominous and then he said “I’ve been reading you” and that sounded like a threat, which it was. “I’ll bet you’re a big fan of Ann Coulter,” he smirked, and when they smirk like that they remind me of Bill Maher – but hello indeed on Ann Coulter for the legs and the brains. I may be switching to Pamela Geller for her beauty and brains and also to maintain my letch credentials.


“I can see why you’ve been favorably compared to Hemingway,” the man said – but as we all know, no good deed or compliment goes unpunished.


This is Getting Ghoulish (Michael Jackson)

By Jack Engelhard


Jonas Salk was never mourned like this – and he cured the world of polio.


No disrespect to Michael Jackson the pop star, pay him whatever tributes you wish, but I wonder how many other Jacksons live and die good ordinary lives and yet we do not call out their names. I wonder how many Michael Jacksons there are in our military, in harms way right this minute in Iraq and Afghanistan, who serve without recognition.


This wall to wall coverage, these mobs grieving over an entertainer, all of it, in such excess, approaches ghoulishness. The last time this happened was when silent screen idol Valentino died young and, as H.L. Mencken tells it, Valentino was startled by his fame and uncomfortable in his skin as a sex symbol — so surely he would have been horrified by the multitudes who grieved his death.


Obviously many of us lead lives of “quiet desperation” (Thoreau), so we live vicariously, through the lives of others, mostly entertainers and athletes. Nathanael West covered this in his Hollywood novel “The Day of the Locust,” about those lonely people who have turned fetish in their adoration of celebrities, alive or dead. Their sorrow becomes dangerous when it marches as a mob. 


Obama’s “Jewish Experts”

By Jack Engelhard


This is getting uncomfortable.


A few days ago, George Mitchell once again expressed his position, and opposition, even to “natural growth” in Judea and Samaria. Both Mitchell and Hillary Clinton speak for themselves and for President Barack Obama who’s made this – Jewish life in the “settlements” — his priority above all other international disputes.


Even the language is disturbing. Mitchell – top Middle East envoy along with Clinton – explained that the controversy centered on “the number of Jewish births.” Where have we heard this before? To my mind, as someone who was born under similar conditions, in France under Vichy, where Jews were kept within “restricted zones,” this sounds too much like Verboten!


When I hear American diplomats, and Obama himself, count the number of children allotted per Jewish family, at the same time measuring Jewish growth by the inch, the images that come to mind, to my mind, are of an earlier time, though not so long ago, when the Third Reich confronted the “Jewish Problem” by way of the Nuremberg Laws and the Wannsee Conference.


I picture Reinhard Heydrich and Adolf Eichmann. They, too, were Jewish Experts.


I hear echoes of “none is too many.” That was the response from Canada’s Mackenzie King’s government on the question of how many Jews were to be allowed inside the country following the Holocaust. Those words still ring throughout Canada, especially among survivors, but how did “none is too many” become an American position so fast and furious.


The Art of Pushing Books

By Jack Engelhard


The trick is to get yourself a good publicist, a publicist, as I was once told, who would kill for you. Well, that’s going too far, don’t you think? I haven’t had a publicist since that one time back then. After that it’s been me and you and where are you? I must learn the art of persuasion, public relations, backslapping. I should go to the right parties. I should do lunch at Elaine’s. I should get out more. Must get on TV. Better yet, get my own show.


My guess is that I’ll become rich and famous after I die. That’s how it usually happens. Success (for artists) usually happens after it too late.


I have no idea why I’m complaining. Most people have it worse. My gripe, I guess, is why we need all that marketing and the trickery that goes with it and why it is that TV personalities have all the apparatus and all the luck – when real writers  are stuck at our computers without a paddle.


Naked Without a Teleprompter

By Jack Engelhard


This may come as a shock to readers who think I’m exceedingly smart or stupid, but listen, I do it my way, all on my own.


I have no staff to hand me material. Like other civilians, I walk through life entirely spontaneous. I even write books all by myself – wrote them all without help.


I take full responsibility for this column and for the thousands I’ve written throughout the years. 


But David Letterman makes $35 million a year reading off cue cards?


This man Letterman, as I understand it, now blames his writers for the Palin jokes that went over like a lead balloon.


Whom can I blame when I go wrong?


Strange Deafness Afflicts Salinger Lawsuit


By Jack Engelhard


Salinger can’t hear? That’s hard to take.


Reports are coming in that JD Salinger “is now totally deaf.” That’s a quote being attributed to his agent, whose job it is to enforce his privacy.


As I wrote in an earlier piece (“Salinger Alleges Indecent Rip-off”), I don’t know much about the law, but here, as a novelist who names Salinger as one of his literary heroes, I can say what strangeness it is to blurt out such news. I don’t doubt the truth of this revelation, but I do wonder why it got out from his gatekeepers. They must have known it would make headlines – and not in a good way.


Already there are parodies of his aging (he’s 90) and headlines that term him “frail and deaf.” (Shades of Howard Hughes?) I hope we’re not gloating.


Salinger Alleges Indecent Rip-Off

  Indecent Proposal 


By Jack Engelhard

Someone has come along with a “sequel” to JD Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye.” Salinger is suing to stop publication and distribution. He calls it a “rip-off.” Don’t look at me to get into the legalities. But I do know how it feels.

I wrote nothing as popular as “The Catcher in the Rye” but popular enough to be translated into more than 22 languages and to be made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore – “Indecent Proposal.” (The movie’s box office was about $260 million worldwide.) The novel’s concept (“what would you do for a million dollars?”) was mine and the title was mine. This was original and it was my baby.

My novel sold about 4 million copies worldwide and still sells (through Comteq Publishing) even after the movie has run dry.

Salinger’s novel is still going strong after sales of 70 million.

Around the house, following the publication of “Indecent Proposal,” we used to say, “No matter what happens, they can’t take that away from you.”



Employees Must Wash Hands

By Jack Engelhard

I’m not perfect either but I’ve got to say, people are tough to take.

At the diner where I had breakfast this morning, the sign in the Gents room said, “Employees Must Wash Hands.” That’s a sign we find everywhere.

My cat knows to wash her hands after doing her business. People have to be told. We call this evolution? Maybe Darwin had it backwards.


Hillary’s Kiss Is Still A Kiss

Hillary’s Kiss


By Jack Engelhard


Back, several years ago, when Hillary Clinton kissed Suha Arafat, well, some of us thought of it as just a “fem thing,” you know, sisters of the world unite and all that. You must remember this — right after Suha (falsely) accused Israel of poisoning Arab children, Hillary offered Suha a big fat smooch of consolation. (Google and Wikipedia have the photo.)


Was it just a fling, or is it True Love?