WARNING: Certain people may find some of the following images offensive--HuffPost Books Editors
Asked recently at a bookstore in Brooklyn what my new book, "Go Fish: How to Win Contempt and Influence People," was about I said, "Let me answer that question by telling you about a young man who wanted nothing more in his life than to be a famous artist.
He hated school, used to get in trouble for daydreaming all the time. He would lose entire afternoons meditating on the beauty of objects, on the aesthetics of light and shadow, his fingers forever smudged with oil paint, his clothes smelling of turpentine, his heart and mind awash in hope and optimism. For him there was no higher calling than to be a painter who created beautiful images for the public and who lived his life in service of his craft, his canvases designed for the singular purpose of inspiring people's souls to grow. That young artist's name was Adolf Hitler. The moral of the story being that if only we lived in a world less inclined to discourage lousy artists from continuing to create shitty art and more inclined to discourage lousy politicians from becoming monsters hell-bent on conquering the world we'd be a lot better off.
"True, if Hitler's artistic career had been allowed to continue and not been cut short there would be many more crappy oils of quaint churches at dusk and abandoned hay wagons at midday and misty covered bridges at dawn to clutter up the world, but at least there'd also be millions more Jewish doctors, dentists and psychiatrists to absorb all that mediocrity into gaudy frames in their waiting rooms.
"My book is a coming-of-rage book. It's about how constructive nihilism can be when kept on the tip of a pencil and off the point of a bayonet."