Do your Facebook friends “like” all sorts of silly fan pages with titles like “I simply don’t have enough middle fingers to show you how I truly feel” or “I’m going to sit back and laugh when karma punches you in the face?” If you know what I’m talking about, you are going to find this story hilarious. Author Gregory Levey recently watched in amazement as the number of Facebook fans for his book, Shut Up, I’m Talking, soared from 700 to 700,000. Unfortunately, most of the fans had no idea the title referred to a book. According to Levey’s post on The Nervous Breakdown :
Even though the fan page shows the book’s cover and its synopsis, and informs visitors that it was published by Simon & Schuster, the vast majority of these supposed “fans” were somehow totally unaware that it was referring to a book at all. They had simply joined because they were fans of the phrase “Shut Up, I’m Talking.”
They were the sort of people, I soon discovered, who were also fans of such inane but popular Facebook fan pages as “Punching Things” and “I hate it when I get fingerprints all over my phone.” But each time one of them would become a fan of Shut Up, I’m Talking, their circle of Facebook friends would blindly do the same – causing its frighteningly viral spread.
Pretty funny, right? Although, I feel bad for the guy because, as he goes on to say, despite all the fans, he doesn’t think it’s really going to help sales of his book.
Check out the summary of Shut Up, I’m Talking:
Shut Up, I’m Talking is a smart, hilarious insider take on Israeli politics that reads like the bastard child of Thomas Friedman and David Sedaris. Now a political writer for Salon, Gregory Levey stumbled into a job as speechwriter for the Israeli delegation to the United Nations at age twenty-five and suddenly found himself, like a latter-day Zelig, in the company of foreign ministers, U.S. senators, and heads of state. Much to his surprise, he was soon attending U.N. sessions and drafting official government statements. The situation got stranger still when he was transferred to Jerusalem to write speeches for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Shut Up, I’m Talking is a startling account of Levey’s journey into the nerve center of Middle Eastern politics at one of the most turbulent times in Israeli history. During his three years in the Israeli government, the Second Intifada continued on in fits and starts, Yasser Arafat died, Hamas came to power, and Ariel Sharon fell into a coma. Levey was repeatedly thrust into highly improbable situations — from being the sole “Israeli” delegate (even though he’s Canadian) at the U.N. General Assembly, with no idea how “his” country wanted to vote; to nearly inciting an international incident with his high school French translation of an Arab diplomat’s anti-Israel remarks; to communicating with Israeli intelligence about the suspected perpetrators of suicide bombings; to being offered leftover salami from Ariel Sharon’s lunch. As Levey got better acquainted with the personalities in the government’s inner sanctum, he witnessed firsthand the improvisational and ridiculously casual nature of the country’s behind-the-scenes leadership — and realized that he wasn’t the only one faking his way through politics.
With sharp insight and great appreciation for the absurd, Levey offers the first-ever look inside Israel’s politics from the perspective of a complete outsider, ultimately concluding that the Israeli government is no place for a nice Jewish boy.