Best-Selling Author

Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words. ~ Rilke

"World-Renowned, Award-Winning, Best-Selling, Published Author, International Speaker, Leading Expert, Consultant, Celebrity Endorsed Coach..."

As a festering cauldron of unbridled narcissism, the state of California should enact a law making it illegal for anyone to write anything vocational on the Internet that does not appear in the occupation box of his or her yearly tax return.

If such a law were enacted, fictional occupations such as "Published Author" as well as "International Speaker," "Entrepreneur," "Producer" - along with a host of fallacious "Certifications" would disappear from the myriad spams I continue to receive. I have actually contacted some of these clowns to ask them which Best-Seller lists their self-published books graced and - even though Amazon has more categories than the Academy Awards on steroids - I have obviously never received a response.

(Truth be told, one of my DVDs was the number #1 best-seller in its category on Amazon for a week a few years ago - so I sparingly use the phrase "best-seller" regarding the DVD because... ah... it's accurate - accurate, that is, if you believe that the universe is curved and truth is thus somewhat elastic.)

Two buddies from university who became agents told me how they hacked the New York Times Best-Sellers' lists for their celebrity clients' (sub-par) books. If you think that our government is rigged, just ask a publicist how much it will cost you to get on the NY Times Best-Seller list for a week - then you will understand what the word "rigged" really means.

Humility?

Decency?

Honesty?

Authenticity?

When people are constantly legitimizing themselves by fabricating their own biographies on the Internet and their self-published book jackets, these concepts seem to be from a parallel universe.

People of whom I have never heard spam me hawking their wares and claiming that they are "World-Renowned" at their particular service (as legitimized by their self-published book). Do they not see the inherent problem in declaring their eminence to someone who has never heard of them? They may as well tell me that they are "Household Names," which would be accurate if every household in the world happened to be theirs.

I must assume that many of my peers missed the classic clip on legitimacy from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail:"

A few hundred years ago your family might have had a farm and from sunrise to sundown you would till the soil, milk the cows, and feed the hens. One hundred years ago you might have worked in a mill or a factory from 9 to 5. Forty years ago you might punch a clock in an office and be happy to go home to your spouse and children after pushing papers for 8 hours.

In our new "Independent Contractor" service economy, most of the manufacturing in the first world has been outsourced to the third world whose laborers are literally dying to be exploited. Thus, dear few of us actually "make" anything with our hands. In my community the rare exception seems to be rich housewives and trustifarians who design jewelry to sell to other rich housewives and trustifarians.

Marx - as in Karl, not Groucho - predicted the disenfranchisement of workers from producing objects that were not part of their own lives, but I do not think he predicted a giant Ponzi scheme in which our government borrows $17 trillion dollars, re-loans it to banks that re-loan it to consumers in the form of mortgages, credit cards, and student loans so that cheap credit enables them to shuffle services like "coaching" and "consulting" back and forth to each other.

The Internet is like a giant factory producing narcissists faster than farmed shrimp.

How can it be that the closest thing resembling "truth" comes from comedians such as Chelsea Handler, Aziz Ansari, Mindy Kaling, Marc Maron, Louis C.K. and Jim Jeffries? But as Malcolm Gladwell develops in his brilliant podcast on "The Satire Paradox," both plagued cathouses claim victory and neither change their views regarding the object of the satire.

When will all of the spinning cease so that we can get back to being authentic, transparent and real?

Ira Israel, Unpublished Author, Licensed Psychotherapist, & Self-Anointed Cultural Critic
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