By Rachel Krueger
Books are shit nowadays, and I blame you.
You may not have made the book deal with “Jersey Shore”’s bronzed illiterates Ronnie and J-Woww (I wish that was a typo), but you will probably read it. And even if you bypass what is sure to be the most gloriously misspelled Gym-Tan-Laundry manifesto, you watch the show. And if you don’t watch “Jersey Shore” then you watch “The Hills,” which makes you directly responsible both for Lauren Conrad’s fame and her New York Times bestseller L.A. Candy. (It also makes you responsible for Speidi, but I think we all have to take the hit on that one.)
And, fine, if both these shows fall out of your sphere of influence, then you at least know who Paris Hilton is, and, since her erstwhile fame rested solely on people knowing who she is, and her 2004 bestseller Confessions of an Heiress relied solely on that fame, you share the blame for that, too.
This is not a new infection, this shilling book deals to anyone with a known face, and it makes fiscal sense. “Jersey Shore” already has an audience, and even if half of that audience (ostensibly) watches the show ironically, they will probably buy the book ironically too. But e-books and the internet have already bitten a hunk out of the publishing industry, and it is bleeding out. Fewer and fewer book contracts are being given out each year, and the more of them that go to People Whose Names Your 11-Year-Old Niece Knows, the fewer there will be for People Who Can Write Worth A Damn.
So I’m throwing down a gauntlet: put away the hard-covered fame-whoring. I can’t not know who these people are, and I have no problem with watching deliciously trashy TV, but I won’t reward them for scribbling rubbish just because they can. I don’t want to wake up in a world where Never Fall In Love At the Jersey Shore wins the Booker because there wasn’t enough space for Wolf Hall to exist.