Thursday, March 24, 2005

Nurse, Denton Was Duped!

A big 'ello 'ello to those who come here from my Nurse! comic on Gnomz (a French-based DIY comic maker site, featured on Boing Boing). Ah, France.

Which reminds me. In Stop Smiling magazine (issue 19), there's a nasty review of the book, The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Man in the World by A.J Jacobs. For all who haven't caught up with him on the Australian chat circuit, Jacobs is the bloke who decided to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and write a book about the experience. He was interviewed on Enough Rope With Andrew Denton this week and came across with ill-fitting glasses, bad suit and hair as a no-life dweeb. Exactly as you would expect from a guy who spends his days reading Encyclopedias. Denton, usually a fine interviewer, played along with Jacobs' schtick. Fine.

Back to the Stop Smiling book review by Christopher Stapleton. The first sentence tells us something that Denton doesn't. A.J Jacobs is NOT a no-life dweeb and book -nerd. In fact, he is or was the senior editor of Esquire magazine.

The review goes on to knock Jacobs' "tiresome" writing formula and his "inexplicable, contrived beef with the French." Which is "attempted humor of the worst kind. Jacobs lazily mines bloated, overripe-to-the-point-of-rotten cultural presuppositions of what's funny with the hopes that they'll sustain the reader for almost 400 pages." Ouch.

Back to Enough Rope. If you're not convinced Denton was conned by Jacobs' publicity guff, check out this photo on the Bookreporter website. This is hardly the clutz portrayed (in this photo) on Andrew Denton's show.

Andrew Denton's research is usually spot-on. Did he just coast on this interview?

And another thing. If A.J Jacobs chooses to play characters on the publicity circuit, can we believe he actually read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica? Wonder what was going through his mind when/if he read the encyclopedia entry on Helen Demidenko?

Read the full Denton interview transcript.

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