Anytime a popular book about national politics or the Beltway's political culture is penned, the first thing that all of the terrible people in Washington do is flip to the index of said book in order to make sure they are in the book. And it matters not a whit whether the book is complimentary or not! The author could hurl an Armando Iannucci-style insult (a personal favorite is "You're like an early draft of a man, where they just sketched out a giant, mangled skeleton, but they didn't have time to add details, like pigment or self-respect," which describes nearly everyone in politics), and it would still be a relief to most Beltway insiders, for whom not being mentioned at all is the worst of all possible outcomes.
But reporter Mark Leibovich, very slyly, opted to not provide an index for his book This Town. Apparently, the book features a badge on its jacket that reads: "WARNING: This Town does not contain an index. Those players wishing to know how they came out will need to read the book."
To my mind, this qualifies Leibovich as a finalist for the Man Booker Prize In The Field Of Telling Chumps To Snack On It. Alas, the people at The Washington Post, who know full well how their bread gets buttered, have gone and assembled an "unauthorized index," so that Washington's Francisco Franco Of Annual Brunch-Having, Tammy Haddad, can find out that she's in chapters 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, and the epilogue.
A suggestion that I made some time ago on Twitter, which probably came too late for Leibovich's publishers, was to actually include an index for the book but make it almost entirely erroneous, so that all the people who naturally gravitate to the back of the book to pleasure their egomania would instead find themselves inside a sort of Kafka-esque nightmare scenario, pawing at the pages, helplessly exclaiming, "But I'm supposed to be on page 114!" Oh, well, that's a freebie for the next person who wants to write a book like this.
I think it would also be pretty cool if someone made a comprehensive index of all the people who aren't in the book who probably thought they deserved to be, because that's the stuff that really hurts.
In the interests of full disclosure, I've learned from this index that I am also in the book, undoubtedly selling out like a hardcore pissant. Fingers crossed, anyway! Look for me in Chapter 11, which is probably appropriate on a number of levels.
[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not?]
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Gerald Ford And Tamales
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