Immodest Proposals

To: Paige Turner, Publisher
From: Frank Reed, Assistant Editor
Chief:  On the heels of Mark Halperin’s #1 bestseller, “Game Change,”  the Presidency in general has become such a hot book subject that we’ve gotten five proposal submissions about former Administrations, outlined here, in the last couple of weeks. Let me know which ones you might want us to acquire.
       1. “White House, Schmite House” Highlights: A certain First Lady was a kleptomaniac — clipped the official silverware at state dinners, etc. — and POTUS himself had restless-leg syndrome. Small change as revelations go, maybe, but the author has real credibility: wrote the Martin Van Buren blockbuster and has great backup — i.e., i-phone photos, partly obscured but without permissions problems. The Secretary of Education in this Administration did in fact attend Oxford, but it was Oxford Taxidermy Institute in Oxford, Indiana.
          2. “Who Put the ‘Dent’ in ‘President?” Highlights: Mostly exposé of foreign-policy missteps. It turns out we almost went to war with Canada over Cuba –- or with Cuba over Canada: the author is not the clearest expository writer. He claims that the real reason President X (author won’t even say which one until he gets our offer) fired his first Secretary of State because he couldn’t find Atlantis on the map.
      3. “A Bridge to Where?”  Highlights: This one is so unofficial it may not even be about a President — or perhaps it’s about the one who snuck in for a few weeks between 32 and 33. Remember?  Anyway, I’m asking for clarification about murky points: was he in fact born in a manger? How could he have had three fathers, all with the same name? Author states he himself started in politics as a gofer for the gofers at NBC –  I’m checking this out. And If Woodrow Wilson was his high school history teacher, as he claims, it seems hard to account for the year of birth (1949) that I found on Our Legal Department would probably balk at publishing this, but agent will accept a fifty-dollar advance or maybe even a few thousand Reward Points from our CreditPlusCard corporate account, so maybe we should take this one seriously.
      4. “WhiteWashHouse” is definitely the catchy title of the year! No manuscript as such or even not as such but author figures three days on Google plus one week for polish. I wouldn’t be mentioning this one at all, if the writers’s cousin weren’t Oprah’s West Coast dog groomer.
      5. “President Peace”  Highlights: An uplifting reconsideration of this particular Chief Executive that tries to counter the New York News’ famous editorial about him titled “Spineless, Clueless, and Aimless.”  It seems he did in fact make clandestine overtures to Pyongyang about bringing a North Korean kitchen whiz — an expert in soil souffles — over for “Top Chef”;  scratched his long planned good-will tour of Iceland only because of an acute recurrence of “hat head” ; and took the initiative in asking President Mbambi of Swizli to quit giving U.S. ambassador hotfoots.  It’s true that international-diplomacy books are not big sellers at the moment,  but the prestige upside of this title could offset our “Jersey Shore” coffee-table-series furor.

Bruce McCall is a New York artist and writer whose work frequently appears in the New Yorker and Vanity Fair.