Sunday, December 07, 2008

Of a proposed corollary to the Infinite Monkey Theorem

Being a child of the 90's, I have often felt thwarted in terms of pop culture memes relating to pipe fixtures. All I had to work with for the longest time was this guy, or his wussy brother.

It took almost a decade and one of the most historic U.S. Presidential elections till date to deliver the Second Coming, and what a delivery it has been.

Not only did good ol' Joe provide significant fodder for spin doctors across America, but he is also an economic stimulus all by himself. Joe Lara, of Ventura County in Southern California is in business like never before, and it's all Wurzelbacher's doing: apparently, media coverage not only affects a campaign, it also bolsters small businesses.

In the words of the average joe, who wudda thunk it?

The erstwhile campaign hot-topic has done more than just help out Mr. Lara: in a most effective way, he has also gotten under Mr. Egan's skin.

Timothy Egan went after the unlicensed, tax-evading pipe cleaner [quick, is the term "faux-plumber" ready to join its brethren on Urban Dictionary yet?] in today's NYTimes with an energy that makes me hope that the object of his um, affection was wearing a hard hat when he read the article. Or had it read to him, as the case may be.
Egan writes:

If Joe really wants to write, he should keep his day job and spend his evenings reading Rick Reilly’s sports columns, Peggy Noonan’s speeches, or Jess Walter’s fiction. He should open Dostoevsky or Norman Maclean — for osmosis, if nothing else. He should study Frank McCourt on teaching or Annie Dillard on writing.

The idea that someone who stumbled into a sound bite can be published, and charge $24.95 for said words, makes so many real writers think the world is unfair.

And all you liberal, plumber-loving socialists out there-- I hear ya. You're absolutely right: give the man a break! Samuel Wurzelbacher was a lucky pipe fitter, who just happened to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right camera running. Egan wouldn't be complaining if Sammy had hit the lottery big and then decided to self-publish, now would he?

Would he?


In order to control for that variable then, I now humbly proffer [the most fatuous phrase of all fatuous phrases]a corollary to the Infinite Monkey Theorem, viz.

Given enough time, a publisher funding memoirs and manuscripts at random will almost surely promote a text based on an event of shallow public interest that will enrage serious writers. Or writers who take themselves seriously.