I Didn't Write "O" And I Wouldn't Admit It If I Did

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 18 2011 10:54 AM

I Didn't Write "O" And I Wouldn't Admit It If I Did

Here's the message that went out from Simon & Schuster, asking for "solidarity" from journalists when they're asked if they wrote the new anonymous novel O . I print the whole e-mail out of respect for the stunt, if not the product.

On January 25, we'll be publishing a secret novel simply titled O , about President Obama's campaign for re-election in 2012.  The author of the novel wishes to remain anonymous.  You may be asked to comment on whether or not you are the author.  If so, it would be great if you refrained from commenting, in solidarity with the principle that a book should be judged on its content and not on the perceived ideology of its author.

The author, an individual with integrity and talent, is someone who has been in the room with Barack Obama and knows the political world intimately. In fact, you may know this person, or know of this person -- if you are not in fact the author yourself. 

Thanks in advance for your consideration.  I apologize for the impersonality of this blind group email, but this seems like the best way to protect the author's identity.  I hope you enjoy the book.  It's terrific.

For a sneak preview of  O   and a special video address from the President of the United States, go to www.othebook.com

Best regards,

Jonathan Karp

Publisher, Simon & Schuster
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I apologize: I'm breaking solidarity. I did not write O . I'll admit that because I've judged the content of the excerpts, and Scotland Yard might want to be on the lookout for an escaped young adult fiction writer. For example:

Even though O assumed it wouldn't happen, he wished The Barracuda, as he liked to think of her, would join the Republican race. O knew they wouldn't be that lucky, but he had let himself imagine such a contest. He had watched her speak to a rally of her faithful. There she was, thick hair piled up high, chin out, defiant, taunting, flaunting that whole lusty librarian thing, sweet and savory, mother and predator, alluring and dangerous.

Cliche and cliche!

Also, it's clear now that the authors of the execrable novel The Obama Identity should have just sold it the anonymous product of a man who, at some point, breathed the same air as the president.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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