April 9, 2006

"In the tradition of self-help/business books that are characterized by flimsy data, padded writing and terminally cute titles."

Tara McKelvey slams "Rome, Inc.: The Rise and Fall of the First Multinational Corporation," the new book by Stanley Bing, author of "Sun Tzu Was a Sissy":
With Hun-like aplomb, Bing ridicules everyone he can get his hands on — Dennis Kozlowski, cowboys, Romulus, per diem consultants, Chaldeans, Roman Catholics. A parody — yet, remarkably, none of the one-liners elicit so much as a chuckle. But it's the rape-as-a-weapon-of-war jokes that raise the question of whether anyone, except perhaps the author, read the manuscript before it was published. There are other mysteries. Why, for example, are we privy to unfunny, rather icky fantasies that include a castle with "prepubescent lovelies of all races and sexes frolicking between the legs of all those depraved old geezers"? The big question is why anyone would read this book. The afterword is entitled "What Have We Learned?" Well, I learned that some corporate executives think whatever they write is interesting or, even more of a stretch, amusing to others.
Yeah, but these things are published because people buy them. We don't know that Bing thinks his own writing is interesting or amusing. The better assumption is that Bing (correctly) thinks he's found the formula for manufacturing one of those rectangular objects that people buy on impulse or for a gift. It's nearly Father's Day. Presumably, lots of people will think "Rome, Inc." is just the thing for Dad. He likes business, this looks funny and sexy, and the Rome angle will flatter the old man into feeling like something of a historian (or at least an HBO fan).

11 comments:

knoxgirl said...

Even the author's *name" is terminally cute: "Stanley Bing" ...sheesh!

Bissage said...

I think it was in the preface to one of his books that the cartoonist Sam Gross told the story of his Uncle who came to visit from the Old Country and wanted to know what his cartoonist nephew did for a living. In the story, Sam Gross couldn't get his Uncle to understand his profession until he explained cartooning as a kind of manufacturing.

Sloanasaurus said...

Instead Rome should have just sit back and let the Gauls and others slit their throats. Its not like they didn't try....

Dave said...

Bing is the pseudonym of an executive here in NYC, I think at a media company. He has a column in Fortune magazine that also aspires to be humorous but is quite often rather dolorous.

I don't understand the appeal.

sonicfrog said...

Stanley Bing, meet Thomas Kinkade!

knoxgirl said...

sonic: LOL

( "painter of light," indeed...)

Maxine Weiss said...

Kinkade = Mediocrity ????

Don't knock Kinkade. Kinkade is a gateway to Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Degas etc...

Have to start somewhere.

Peace, Maxine

sonicfrog said...

Oh, don't get me wrong. I admire Kinkade's innovative (at the time) crossing of assembly line marketing and wall art; he may be the Henry Ford of the art world. But it's hard to get excited about his work because it lacks originality. It's the same as a Toyota Carmy. They are great cars, but are also predictable and boring. And, don't you feel silly when you try to unlock your car, and realize it's the wrong one as there are four Camrys of the same year and color parked in a cluster where you parked yours.

knoxgirl said...

far be it from me to criticize The Great Kinkade!

Walter said...

Stanley Bing is the pen name for Gil Schwartz, an Executive Vice President at CBS.

As a side note: he was part of Memogate, as he was the architect of the original defense (shutup and stonewall and the problem will go away).

knoxgirl said...

no wonder he picked such a doofus name