Rick's List - Scholarly Personal Bookshelf Edition
You've heard of Rick's Bookshelf Arrangers, right?
Well, it's my very successful new company. Y'see, if you're one of the 72 percent of the general population regularly called as a panelist to provide analysis on one of those CNN, Fox News or MSNBC networks, you're required to make your pithy and righteously stern comments from the library in your home office. In front of overflowing bookshelves.
Seriously: You literally have to sign a contract stating as much because the networks want to ensure you appear qualified and are sufficiently well-read and "serious-minded" when you're onscreen. This cautionary clause goes back several years. Who can forget:
1. Iconic evening news anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on set, trying to report in real-time and with appropriately somber faces the story of Charles Whitman — the University of Texas tower sniper — in spite of the fact that Brinkley had just sat in a shaving-cream pie placed in his chair as a joke by Huntley. Brinkley kept giggling as he tried to wipe creamy foam from his pants. Meanwhile, Huntley kept calling, "He fell for it!" This was intercut with the footage viewers saw of the shooting scene as a camera sweep surveyed the carnage and aimed up to show puffs of gunsmoke as Whitman fired from the tower deck.
2. Or the evening in 1970, when CBS' Walter Cronkite, from the front car of a roller coaster ride in Santa Monica, broke the news that U.S. forces had invaded Cambodia. Walter's hair was flapping in the wind and popcorn was spilling out of the giant carton he held in his lap. "The war in southeast Asia took a solemn turn today ..." he intoned over the sounds of laughing children and a calliope from the midway.
Not good! Things got more scripted over time and that's why today only a "thoughtful" panel guest would be trotted in front of the public. The thing is, many of these folks don't read with any regularity and certainly don't have "home libraries."
That's where Rick's Bookshelf Arrangers comes in. All of those intimidating volumes you see behind these folks each night? Placed there by Rick's Bookshelf Arrangers. Here are our basic models listed from least-to-most expensive:
1. "The Casual Scholar" — Includes a set of encyclopedias, biographies of lesser presidents like Franklin Pierce, Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore, a few random tomes on Cold War policy, and your choice of one colorful and oversized art books on Impressionism, Cubism or Stickley Furniture.
2. "The Harried PhD Candidate" — A selection of old faves like Melville, Yeats and Flaubert mixed in with a generous sampling of female authors and writers of color suggesting the client is significantly "woke." Also: Framed pictures with Photoshopped images of the customer hanging out with contemporary figures from the fields of medicine, politics and finance. Bonus if you order now: ALL the volumes in Robert Caro's ongoing biography of LBJ (with a bookmark suggesting you're almost finished with the final book).
3. "The Churchill" — Nothing but copies of books YOU supposedly wrote — dozens of them! With your name clearly legible on each spine along with titles such as "Disraeli and the Gloaming of Britain," "Fear and Mourning on Mt. Sinai," and "(YOUR NAME HERE): A Life Profound" with readable and laudatory blurbs from Barack Obama, Margaret Atwood and Tommy Orange.