Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: Jon Stewart

BookExpo America in New York City: May 25-26-27

BEA-FloorBookExpo America is ending. It is Thursday, May 27, 2010. I’d be barraging you with facts, but I boxed up my notebook and sent it home with my leftover books, from my signing from 2 p.m. on at the HWA (Horror Writers’ Association) booth. I’ve been to this for about 5 or 6 years now. I remember that the first one I attended was in Chicago and my book Both Sides Now was coming out, so that would have been 2004. I took my daughter-in-law (Jessica) that time and we ended up meeting one of the founders of Lightning Source and I arranged a book tour of the Hastings Bookstore chain.

Then, the event was held in Washington, D.C., one year, and this allowed my spouse to accompany me and visit various monuments while I trolled the aisles of this largest-in-North-America book event.

It was held in New York City most times, and, because the publishing industry is here, it was finally decided that it would remain here permanently.

Last year’s BEA was very dismal and scaled-back. People were cutting down on all unnecessary expenses and the entire mood was blacker. I helped man (woman?) the BEA booth and heard Captain Sullenberger. Our booth this year was in a much better, more heavily traveled spot, and I had a signing time from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. I wondered if anyone would know me or know about my book.
For whatever reason…(and most said it had to do with reading the BEA information in the programs provided online)…I had an abundance of signers. I haven’t counted yet, but I think I easily had at least 50 people come asking for my book, and I got the e-mail information of all but a handful, so they can be notified of future books, which, in my case, will be the third volume of Ghostly Tales of Route 66: Arizona to California, coming out any minute, and, after that, It Came from the ‘70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now. From now on, all dedicated blogs will have PayPal capability, because one never knows if one’s publisher has distributed the book as widely as one would like.

While here, I managed to take in the play “Fences” with Denzel Washington. I was in the middle of the second row and the production was amazing. (It received a standing ovation.) I will write more about this, but not until my boxed-up-and-mailed-home notes are back in my possession.

After schlepping my books to the Jacob Javits Center and dropping them off at the table on Wednesday, I arrived this morning with my trusty dolly (for eventually moving the remaining books to FedEx) and my bookmarks, business cards and post cards, plus the piece I put together that will go out in a mailing to the active, voting members of HWA some time in June. (Probably after the Printers Row Book Fair and the Glen Ellyn Book Fair.)

Because the time was condensed from what used to be a 5-day event, there was not enough time to hit museums, but I did get in a play (see above) and I attended the Breakfast and Lunch today, in addition to signing for 2 and ½ hours.

The breakfast featured Jon Stewart introducing Condoleeza Rice, who has written a new book that focuses on her family and upbringing. I have many notes of the witty things Stewart said, but those will wait until I recap same back in the Quad Cities. John Grisham was also on the panel, as was the writer of Water for Elephants. Her new book features apes that are being communicated with via sign language and computers at the Ape Institute in Des Moines, Iowa, so I’m going to be interested in reading this one. (Water for Elephants is being made into a movie now.)

The afternoon M.C. was the very same comic that Sean Leary has done articles on recently, the co-star of “King of Queens” Patton Oswalt, who appeared at the Hilltop Theater and was accused of (allegedly) using other comics’ material. I noticed that, this year, instead of an entire book, we got a chapter, at best. Jon Stewart provided a chapter only. Likewise, Patton Oswalt provided only an autobiographical chapter that dealt with his appearances in a comedy club near Vancouver, where the owner tried to stiff him on paying for his hotel room. It was not riveting reading, and I have read all of it, since it was only about 10 pages long. (Last year, we were given South of Broad by Pat Conroy, and I still haven’t finished that huge book, one year later.)

At the noon luncheon, Patton Oswalt introduced Christopher Hitchins. I had just entered the stairwell with Christopher Hitchins, who was holding a drink of something at the time. (It reminded me of the time I ended up in an elevator with Mickey Rooney and his 8th wife, because Mickey took the wrong public elevator on his way to speak.)

Hitchins, who writes for “Vanity Fair” recited limericks. Yes. Limericks. He comes across as a bit of an effete intellectual snob, and apparently this is the way he wishes to be viewed. I do read his stuff, and I occasionally enjoy it. I remember one particular piece about vacationing in Iraq (one particular part that is “safe”) and I remember thinking, “Yeah. That’ll happen…….not!”)  Hitchins left rather quickly to “catch a plan to London” and we were left with a very bright fellow who, in writing about the future, invented the term “cyberspace,” supposedly, and had such a monotonous, droning delivery of what I’m sure may well be a brilliant book that I gave that book to table mate Ellen Datlow

I did keep the ape book and Christopher Hitchin’s, which is entitled “Hitch 22”, but I’m not in the same hurry to read it as I was to read the sequel to “1,000 Splendid Suns,” the author who spoke at least year’s BEA.

I’m at a Holiday Inn on W. 26th Street that is brand new and very nice. My only complaint: no bathtub.

After I boxed up my unused books and the new ones mentioned above, I took the lot to FedEx to mail home. Then, I went to a nearby McDonald’s and ate a burger, since I couldn’t get a cab for an hour. The cab delivered me back to my room and, after going from 6 a.m. till now (11:00 p.m.) I’m calling it a night.
More later from home.

Richard Clarke Says Your Government Failed You

Richard Clarke          Richard Clarke, the former White House Counter-terrorism Chief under Presidents Clinton and Bush, and the man on duty the day the terrorists struck on 9/11 is back with another book, following on the heels of the eminently readable and very excellent In Defense of Liberty.

    Clarke’s new book is entitled Your Government Failed You and is subtitled Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters.

     Clarke appeared on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” on June 2nd and the segment opened with Stewart noting, “This McClellan thing is everywhere,” commenting on another blockbuster hitting bookstores, written by Scott McClellan, former Press Secretary to “W,” who has written a tell-all book entitled What Happened.

     To open the interview, Stewart projected a large picture of McClellan against words he spoke on 3/22/04, while functioning as White House Press Secretary, in lambasting Clarke’s first book, the thriller In Defense of Liberty:

     McClellan quote:  “Well, why, all of a sudden, if he had all of these great concerns, did he not raise these sooner? This is one and one-half years after he left the administration. And now, all of a sudden, he’s raising these grave concerns he claims he had.  And I think you have to look at some of the facts. Number one, he is bringing this up in the heat of a Presidential campaign.  He has written a book, and he certainly wants to go out and promote that book.”

     McClellan, himself, who was George W. Bush’s chief spokesman for almost three years now says—as he is trying to sell his own book—“I think the president should have stood by his word, and that meant Karl should have left.” (This was in reference to the “outing” of Valerie Plame as an undercover agent, which an investigation showed they did participate in; Bush had vowed to “fire anyone” involved, but did nothing. Scooter Libby was found guilty in court; Bush commuted his sentence. Rove continued on the job until he voluntarily withdrew.)

     When Stewart mentioned to Clarke that the Swiftboating now aimed at McClellan sounded very familiar to that aimed at Clarke back in 2004, Clarke nodded assent and said, “Yes. Disgruntled former employee. Out-of-the-loop.” I think there’a little box in the White House that, if anyone escapes from the White House and tells the truth, they break this box and take out these talking points.”

     Stewart:  “My favorite thing is that they say, ‘That’s not the Scott we knew.  The Scott we knew lied like a M****F*****.  (Laughter)  What, in your mind, everything that we hear is a reinforcement of the same story, that the politics ruled the day.”

     Clarke:  “What I’m trying to do in the book is say, look, it’s not just 9/11, it’s global warming, it’s Iraq, it’s Katrina and it’s on and on.  Nothing works any more in National Security.”

     Stewart:  “But do you think that’s their point?  These guys went in saying, ‘Government’s not the answer,’ and now, clearly, they’re showing us, I guess, the answer clearly is, ‘Well, if you guys are running it, well, I guess it’s not.'”

     Clarke:  “John, if you beat up on government, if you make government a political punching bag, well, that’s fine, if you don’t want government to do anything, but there’s a little thing that government has to do, like protect us.  We should give that power over to the government, right? And then little children are licking Chinese toys that have lead paint.  Little things that you don’t regulate, like maybe the mortgage industry, will go a little crazy.”

     Stewart:  “But isn’t that an odd contradiction.  They advocate responsibility while usurping power?”

     Clarke:  “They want to be the government, so the government doesn’t do anything.”

     Stewart:  You believe, ‘cause I know they replaced all the Inspector Generals. That was one of their first moves.”

     Clarke:  “Absolutely.  They appointed people to all these regulatory agencies that were supposed to regulate things to protect us.  People who don’t want to regulate and people who aren’t regulating.”

     Stewart:  “But isn’t the Department of Homeland Security just another great regulatory bureaucracy that is not functioning, or have they created it in such a way that it can’t function?  Are they paying lip service? Not that the color-coded chart is not valuable! I’m not saying that! (Laughter)”

     Clarke:  “They’ve put more political appointees in the Homeland Security Department, which they created after 9/11 to protect us, more political appointees in that department than any other department in the government.  That’s the biggest percentage of their people.  Yeah, they created this huge bureaucracy, but they didn’t solve anything.”

     Stewart:  “The Bush Administration was about creating a political machine that could control all the levers of government and sort of push out…their idea was the bureaucrats were the guys who would march for us.”

     Clarke:  “And if you’re going to the doctor or lawyer or even an auto mechanic, you want to know that they were trained, have recently been retrained, and that they’re certified and the industry has standards and procedures of accountability.”

     Stewart:  “See, me, I want to know what their view is on gay marriage.  For me, if you’re a mechanic, I’m not letting you touch my carburetor unless you’re making sure that two men can’t love one another. Please…” (Laughter)

     Clarke:  “And that’s pretty much what they did with the people they sent to Iraq.  The people they sent to our Embassy in Iraq, after the invasion, he (Bush) asked them, ‘What are your views on abortion?’ Half the people they sent had never been out of the country before and had to apply for passports.  You want them to be able to speak Arabic—right?  These guys hadn’t even been out of the country before.”

     Stewart:  “Is there an opportunity for the country to reclaim the mantle of competence in government?”

     Clarke:  “That’s what this book is about. It’s, how do you get the government to work again?  And one way is to take the politics out of national security to the extent that you can.”

     Stewart:  “Isn’t, though, that cat out of that bag?  How do you….?”

     Clarke:  “You grab the cat and put it back in the bag.”

     Stewart:  “Have you ever had a cat?”

     Clarke:  “No.” (Laughter).

     Stewart:  “It’s a really nice, straightforward, common-sense approach to the whole thing, so I think that assures that it will not be followed.”

    Clarke:  “Probably not.”


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