April 5, 2011

"It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I'm not all that interested in talking about the past..."

"... and that the best expression of my life and its ups and downs has been and remains my music."

That's the official, philosophical statement of why Billy Joel has decided not to publish the memoir HarperCollins wanted to give him $3 million for. The linked article is a bit confusing on the subject of whether Joel has actually written the memoir. I'm guessing he wrote something bland, and HarperCollins didn't accept the draft.
[A] source also said that [Joel] became "dissatisfied" with expectations that "The Book of Joel" would be a tell-all about his marriages, including one to Christie Brinkley, and his battle with alcohol.
If he's dissatisfied, it should be with his own delusion that he should get $3 million without doing that. And even if he did, would it be good enough? Another alcohol memoir? Do you trash your ex-wives or reveal yourself as the abuser?


Scott M said...

Harper gave the draft back to him because they were looking for a how-to book about driving.

Pogo said...

"Another alcohol memoir? Do you trash your ex-wives or reveal yourself as the abuser?"

You could give some useful tips, like favorite bars, the best wines, preferred hangover remedies, how to get out of legal trouble, and how to look fab when smashed.

Like a GQ article, without the pictures.

vet66 said...

BJ is not yet ready to face his demons and take responsibility for wasting his GOD given talent.

Pogo said...

You had to be a big shot, didn't cha
You had to open up your mouth

Paddy O said...

15 years too later (at least).

Old musician writes story of his life, telling tales of his misadventures with people who were in the news in the 70s and 80s, even though he hasn't had a significant comeback event like Bob Dylan more recently or Tony Bennett a while back.

He needs to get back in the news before the news of when he was in the news is news people would buy.

AllenS said...

If he talks about nailing Christie Brinkley, I'll buy the book. If there are pictures of her nude, I'll buy two books.

bagoh20 said...

I can accept what he said. He's been writing autobiographically his whole life, and if he has something to relate why not do it in the medium he prefers and is good at. With a book you are required to tell the story other people want to hear and in a very structured way. It's not creative and won't accept you be so.

bagoh20 said...

Writing a song is art. A tell all book is gossip.

bagoh20 said...

Personally, I'd write whatever anyone wanted for $3 million, because I got plans for that money. People who would turn down such easy money, don't know the value of money or have anything important to do.

The Crack Emcee said...

If it's truly a memoir, you do both.

Though I think an artist saying "my music is my statement" (or whatever) is fine, knowing BJ, he probably did cop out:

The old boy's a Paul McCartney fan,....

The Crack Emcee said...

I had a real deal book offer for TMR but they got weird when I asked for an advance (?) I don't know how people think art gets done without money. (I said art, not just throwing shit against a wall,...)

I just got an offer to do a comic book - "The Crack Emcee Vs. The New (Age) World Order" - but I don't know how serious it is.

Paddy O said...

Speaking of books, you can buy my newest book on Amazon.

It's not officially released yet, but Amazon decided to start selling it. So, feel free to buy it. It should be out on Kindle on the 12th.

Feel free to use Althouse's search box (How Long? The Trek Through the Wilderness) since I'm advertising in her space.

Do I talk about my marriage with Christie Brinkley? You'll have to buy the book to find out.

Paddy O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

For whatever reason, good on him.

A little class, however late, is better than acting like Charlie Sheen all your life.

Paddy O said...

Here's an Althouse-supporting link to supporting my new book.

If you buy the book I promise not to tell my stories through song.

kate said...

What vet66 said.

An "alcohol" memoir worth reading is Mary Karr's "The Liar's Club". Honest, funny and lyrical.

Pogo said...

Ditto on Mary Karr.

All three books in her memoir are great (The Liar's Club, Cherry, Lit).

Lem said...

Billy sounds like a three stepper..

Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

The Crack Emcee said...


A little class, however late, is better than acting like Charlie Sheen all your life.

Who said some fake sense of "class" was the point of what Charlie Sheen is doing?

Oprah's got "class" - she's also a liar and a charlatan. Is that what you mean?

Obama supposedly has "class" - he's also a liar and a charlatan. Is that what you mean?

Please, name me someone with this "class" you speak about, and let's endeavor to see what it comprises of. I know Rush doesn't have any - he's loud, crude, racist, etc. - so I'm confused about what you're getting at.

Let me know, I'm truly interested.

Scott M said...

Please, name me someone with this "class" you speak about, and let's endeavor to see what it comprises of.

Neil Peart
Walter Payton
Bill Cosby
Eddie Izzard (former cross-dressing does not diminish his sense of class and grace one iota)
Kurt Warner

I could go on, but I'm busy.

The Crack Emcee said...


I just wanted to say we're friends, so don't expect a full-on attack, but I am fascinated by how men are viewed - especially by other men - when they break out of the feminist mold this culture thought they'd made solid.

So, please, go for it.

William said...

Three million dollars is chump change for Billy Joel. He has no financial need to tell the truth or seek forgiveness. But, for sure, we'd all like to leave our version of how things happened for the permanent record....The story says that he examined his difficult relationship with his father in the memoir. Who cares? People want to read about his marriage to Christine Brinkley and his desperate struggle to comply with her bizarre sexual needs.....Billy Joel was always kind of ugly, but he was ugly in an interesting way. There was a kind of Beauty and the Beast symmetry between him and Christine. Nowadays, he has the face he deserves, and his ugliness is repellent. Christine, however, is still a knockout......Well, give it another twenty years. His songs will still be selling, and no one will be seeking comfort in Christine's withered limbs.

Paddy O said...

Crack, I don't think the alternative to feminized men is adolescentized men.

There are a lot of truly masculine men who exemplify class. Among actors these days that's not as big a feature these days, but it still exists.

The archetype of a leading man actor with real class is, I think, Jimmy Stewart. The man was a genuine war hero in WW2 and whose parts were often the common guy standing up for what is right and true.

"Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it."

Paddy O said...

More contemporary, in addition to Scott M's list, I think Tom Selleck and Denzel Washington are two actors who exemplify class.

Scott M said...

Denzel Washington


The Crack Emcee said...

Paddy O,

I'm going to let you guys keep giving me examples for a minute (I'm just as interested in them) but I did want to answer this:

Crack, I don't think the alternative to feminized men is adolescentized men.

Of course, Scott M chimed in on that (you really do want to my nemesis, don't you?) but what you guys are missing is you're holding the star of CBS' number one television comedy up to the standard of Denzel Washington's movie persona? Come on, you have to admit that's unfair. And that's my point:

A feminized culture has you guys primed to attack a defiant man for almost anything - and you'll willingly fight unfairly like girls - to do it.

I say a man having fun is as good an example as one of maturity, as long as they're true.

And Charlie Sheen is being very, very good - outstanding even - at being an honest man.

AllenS said...

his marriage to Christine Brinkley and his desperate struggle to comply with her bizarre sexual needs

How cool would that be?

Scott M said...

but what you guys are missing is you're holding the star of CBS' number one television comedy up to the standard of Denzel Washington's movie persona?


I started noticing Denzel's class...his personal bearing, not those of his affected characters...when he was interviewed after the Oscars the year he won. That's HIM, not an character. The fact that you would assume otherwise says much for your capacity to make an ass, bit it me or thee, but not much in the way of giving other bloggers any credit for intelligence.

Come on, Crack. Your holding this guy up as some sort of besieged ideal of a man is starting to become laughable. I'm as primed against the pussification of the American male as much as anyone, especially as my background is advertising. But that doesn't mean I go whole hog to the opposite end of the spectrum and hold up a hedonist as what it is to be a real man. Even an honest hedonist.

You seem to be primed to attack people that have different (not necessarily opposite) opinions on the matter.

For the record, I'm not anti-Crack. I'm anti-blowhard.

I notice you didn't mention anyone else on that list for comment. I suppose I'm only pining for Peart's class when he's on stage. Likewise for Izzard. Or maybe I only want to be like Payton or Warner on the field. What your doing is completely discounting my knowledge of these men outside their "performance" faces. You give me no credit for knowing anything about them otherwise.

Paddy O said...

Crack, not Denzel's movie persona. I think, from what I know, his real life persona exemplifies class in Hollywood. From wikipedia:

On June 25, 1983, Washington married Pauletta Pearson, whom he met on the set of his first screen work, the TV-movie Wilma. The couple have four children: John David (b. July 28, 1984), who signed a football contract with the St. Louis Rams in May 2006 and is currently playing with the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League (John David also played college football at Morehouse);[23] Katia (b. November 1987), who is attending Yale University; and twins Olivia and Malcolm (Malcom attends the University of Pennsylvania). In 1995, the couple renewed their wedding vows in South Africa with Archbishop Desmond Tutu officiating.[24]

Washington is a devout Christian,[25] and has considered becoming a preacher. "A part of me still says, ‘Maybe, Denzel, you’re supposed to preach. Maybe you’re still compromising.’ I’ve had an opportunity to play great men and, through their words, to preach. I take what talent I’ve been given seriously, and I want to use it for good.”[26] In 1995 he donated 2.5 million dollars to help build the new West Angeles Church of God in Christ facility in Los Angeles.[27]

On May 18, 1991, Washington was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Fordham University, for having "impressively succeeded in exploring the edge of his multifaceted talent".[29] He also was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities from Morehouse College on May 20, 2007.[30]

In 2008, Washington visited Israel with a delegation of African American artists in honor of the Jewish State's 60th birthday.

Now that's a guy who lives as he wants, not as Hollywood says he should, living with honesty and responsibility, faithful to his craft and his beliefs. Denzel is a man.

I get what you're saying about honesty. Sheen knows exactly what he's doing, pulling a Joaquin Phoenix much more successfully, in a way that got him out of his no longer satisfying contract and at the same time put him back in the news as a supposed bad boy. He's much more shrewd than crazed, but I don't think that honesty, boldness in speaking one's mind, is by itself, true masculinity.

Adolescents are honest in their emotional responses to life, and while sometimes refreshing, they're not adults.

Honesty with something behind it, like class, like responsibility, like honor and duty. That's masculinity at its best.

Freeman Hunt said...

[A] source also said that [Joel] became "dissatisfied" with expectations that "The Book of Joel" would be a tell-all about his marriages, including one to Christie Brinkley, and his battle with alcohol.

People's faults are generally common and boring. Bad marriages and alcohol abuse are both especially common and boring.

Biographies should focus on the interesting things about a person.

The Crack Emcee said...

1) You guys obviously didn't look at my link.

2) Denzel is from South Central, so I think I know more about HIM - not his public persona - than you guys.

3) Scott, you're not "anti-blowhard", you're anti-male confidence. Rush, as I said, catches the same criticism even though, like me, he's usually right. That you don't respect that - being correct - and will focus on personality, says more about you than you think: you're a girl.

4) I haven't mentioned the others because, as I also said, I want to see more examples. See? You're still playing unfairly - like a girl. I was very clear about that, but you still will ignore that for your own bullshit. As the old joke says, Why do so many women get caught in domestic violence?

Because THEY DON'T LISTEN! (I love that joke.)

5) Until Charlie Sheen winds up dead, those Joaquin Phoenix comparisons are bullshit. He's a man living his life as he sees fit:

It may not be what you'd do, or even what I'm doing, but he ain't you or I.

William said...

Jimmy Stewart was one of the very few actors whose stars were in alignment. He really was who he pretended to be on the screen. The similarity between a star's true character and his screen persona is purely coincidental. John Wayne and Cary Grant offered admirable impersonations of who they wanted to be. Archie Leach's great achievement was the creation of Cary Grant......Billy Joel was a lifelong addict. His domestic life was probably an endless run of self justifying lies and rationalizations. Everything Croesus touched turned to gold, and everything, however gilded, an addict touches turns to squalor Billy Joel created the persona of the piano man. The piano man was a tortured soul who found relief from the pain of living by writing great music and fucking Chrissie Brinkley. Well, good for him. It really did happen and you can't say it wasn't true. But there are other truths. An addict leaves a lot of wreckage. Perhaps his daughter's suicide attempt was the result of some chemical imbalance in her brain. That how a dug addict would explain his lack of parental skills.

Freeman Hunt said...

Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, for example, is superb and engaging.

It includes no information about his love affairs.

(Pretty much every adult in the world has had sex many many times, but magazines and pop books present as though sex is some exotic thing no one knows anything about.)

The Crack Emcee said...

And now that Freeman's here, I will ask everyone to read my comments, about being "a girl", as being "a mean girl."

I was speaking colloquially, as I usually do.

The Crack Emcee said...


(Pretty much every adult in the world has had sex many many times, but magazines and pop books present as though sex is some exotic thing no one knows anything about.)

Ain't it the truth?

wv: "handsm" - yeah, ain't I?

Scott M said...

3) Scott, you're not "anti-blowhard", you're anti-male confidence.

No, I'm absolutely positive I'm anti-blowhard. In this particular context, a blowhard that's absolutely convinced of their own absolute infallibility and the failings of others who don't see that, ie, blowhard.

Denzel is from South Central, so I think I know more about HIM - not his public persona - than you guys.

I'm from St Louis, so I think I know more about ME, not my blogger persona - than you do.

My assumptions about Denzel's public persona, as you put it, are therefor as valid as your assumptions about mine.

William said...

If I ever struck a woman, I would be ashamed of myself. Not just for striking a woman, but for my lack of courage for failing to leave a woman who inspired such rage and perplexity. I have punched a few walls. That's never a good sign that the relationship is blossoming.

EnigmatiCore said...

It may not be what you'd do, or even what I'm doing, but he ain't you or I.

That is true.

However, that he is doing what he is doing does not make him a man. Having the confidence to be an ass leads to one being a confident ass. Nothing more, nothing less.

There is more to being a man than just being confident.

Freeman Hunt said...

I will ask everyone to read my comments, about being "a girl", as being "a mean girl."


Trooper York said...

Speaking as a big loud mouth arrogant blow hard, I have to say it is not an easy gig. I mean I can mark off all the blowhard boxes:

1. Angry middleaged white man
2. ethnic but not a favored minority.
3. Loud and bositerous.
4. Yankee fan.

It is hard to always be right and having to correct everyone else's mistaken views. It takes a lot out of you to always be pointing out the error of your ways.

Anti-blowhard bigotry is very hurtful and I wish you would stop.

Trooper York said...

It is quite amazing how the prejudice and hatred towards blowhards has burgeoned in this country over the past few years. As a charter member of the Villains, Knaves and Blowhards Union I often discussed this with other founding members such as Bill O'Reilly, Al Sharpton, Dick Vitale and Rosie O'Donnell. Our union is racially and sexually diverse and we open all people who know that they know better and are willing to tell everyone that in no uncertain terms.

Crack expect your application in the mail shortly. I know I can get you right in no problem.

Trooper York said...

I just hope Jill Zarin doesn't black ball you. So to speak.

She doesn't like moolies.

Cedarford said...

Billy Joel could write a very interesting biography. More to him than "substance abuse". Began as a pro at age 14. His golden gloves boxing career, After record exec woes, his Pianoman years, playing under an assumed name. His nautical experiences, which include sailing a small cargoship and being credited with design of a class of highly successful yachts. The sporadic, highly attended popular music concerts he has done in the 90s, 2000s. The Elton JOhn tour collaberation. His return to classical composition and work with other composers in masters classes. His classical compositions have been played globally.

33 Top 40 hits in the United States, all of which he wrote himself. 9 multi-platinum albums.

William said...

It must be remembered that Ben Franklin's conquests were among poxed, foul smelling French aristocrats and were nothing to brag about. Poor Richard never scored any porn stars....Billy Joel and Charley Sheen are both romantics. Billy's marriage to Chrissy is the stuff of legend. Chrissy is Daisy, the girl beyond the dock, on the far shore, by the green light. Guys who look like Billy are not supposed to do the nasty with girls who look like Chrissy. She's an aspiration, not a destination. She is the dream girl of the superego and not the id. And yet he married her.....Charley Sheen is a romance of the id. There is nothing very aspirational about a 36 hour coke binge with a string of porn stars. However, it must be admitted that this is, in its way, the fulfillment of a romantic ideal. Eden: Spending time with shameless beauties in pursuit of endless pleasure. It will come a cropper the way marriage between Billy and Chrissy did, but that's not to say it isn't worth making the effort......Speaking of blowhards, don't Charley's goddesses get credit for holding his attention during a 36 hour coke binge.

Trooper York said...

Ya gotta respect a chick that can blow that hard.

Trooper York said...

That's why Lindsey Lohan acts the way she does.

She is trying to get the lead in the Linda Lovelace biopic.

It's research.

The Crack Emcee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...

Scott M,

I'm absolutely positive I'm anti-blowhard.

No, Scott, I told you before - you're a pussy.

That's why you spend so much time nitpicking at shit that don't matter, like if a guy doesn't satisfy your requirement of being humble, or whatever. You're the kind of guy who, around my friends and I, would get your ass kicked all the time, because you don't know how to get along with guys. (You'd swear it was for "no reason" like that guy Ann posted yesterday who's afraid of people "for no real reason") There's a reason guys like you get your asses kicked: you're a pussy.

Trooper's a great example - he's like the guys I hang out with. We talk shit about each other, all day long, and nobody gets mad - even though we may dig deep into each other's psyches and failings to wound. We're not out to draw blood, just to have a laugh, toughen each other up psychologically, and maybe teach a lesson. That's how men are.

But you? You're like a mean girl who always thinks saying a guy's got a small dick is a proper put-down, or threatening to "kick you in the balls", when all it's going to get you is disliked. (Sorry, Scott, but we've all got big dicks, too, so that shit don't work but to make us laugh.) Listen to you:

You're offended by someone "absolutely convinced of their own absolute infallibility".

Oooooh, you bitchy little bitch.

What's the matter, Scotty? Feeling insecure around me? Like a little girl? Hatin' on the confident boys, are you? Want to do something to them - behind their backs? You fucking douche.

My friends and I like each other BECAUSE WE'RE CONFIDENT. There ain't shit we could learn from you. We don't want some fucking pussy around, crying "Be humble" every time one of us tells a story or caps on each other. We'd all look at you like "What's your fuckin' problem?" You're type is so common there's even a song about it:

Jimmy's Got A Little Bit Of Bitch In Him

It actually makes me happy to know I frustrate you because your pussy ass deserves to be frustrated - like a woman who can't get anybody to fuck her. Nobody wants you, Scott, and you can bet - as the country finally becomes more conservative - your pussy ass will be seen for exactly what you are:

A worthless drag on the rest of us.

Now sit down, shut up, or go away, because I really could give a damn what your punk ass thinks.

Scott M said...

For not giving a damn, Crack, you certainly spent a lot of words making the point. And, just to point out, your blowhardiness doesn't offend me, it bored me. If we were to actually meet in person, I have no idea what would happen. We might actually get along...after all, this space is a very poor lens with which to truly know someone, especially in terms who could kick who's ass or the come close to knowing what the other would act like when life and limb are truly on the line. I know, I know. You're a big basses and a "real" man. The fact that you constantly feel like you need to point that out is, as I said. Boring and points to what might just be overcompensation for severe insecurity and lack of self estem... much like the music you constantly champion and it's artists' constant need to mention their own names... the equivalent of musically pudding all over the place to mark territory.

The ability and constant need to rhetorically pies all over the place doesn't make you a man. It makes you a bore. Hopefully you don't have any sons to pass your warped sense of manhood on to.

As was already said, takes much more than confidence to be a man.

Sent from a mobile and I don't particulary care to fix any typos.

Scott M said...

on the other hand... egregious typos take all the piss and vinegar out of it.

pudding = pissing and pies = piss

I don't care who you are. That's funny.

You're still a bore, Crack, even without pudding and pies.

The Crack Emcee said...

Yeah, yeah - I always love how your type are always trying to claim somebody's fake when I'm a known quantity, on and offline. (FLS was doing it yesterday: you pussies all have the same MO) I also like you, though oh so bored, won't ever shut up when I'm around:

Who's overcompensating again?

And you're so bored you just CAN'T avoid reading my posts, right?

Here, Scott, I just put something up on my blog you'll enjoy.

Your sensitive male brothers are stepping out from the shadows,...

The Crack Emcee said...

I just had to mention this, here, because it's so appropriate:

[Tina] Fey's memoir is called Bossypants because she is a bossypants, something she admits right upfront. (It will surprise no one that the girl has a sassy attitude, an attitude that runs through the book.)

My, isn't it funny that no one - man or woman - minds HER being confident, or dislikes her for it? No one is warning her to be humble, claiming she's "boring", or anything. No, she's a woman and Scott and all the other so-called men will shut their fucking pie holes when she's around because why?

Because they've been feminized up the ying-yang.

But let a guy even wear a shirt by Hugo Boss and that's enough to get their panties in a twist.

Like I said, a bunch of pussies - and hypocrites to boot.

I betcha - if they'd try this line of talk on Fey that they try on me - she'd call them a bunch of pussies, too.

Synova said...

I think that everyone is more classy to the extent they refrain from imitating a wrinkly dude in a rain coat.

In other words... at what point do we think anyone owes us a tell-all memoir about their warts and wrinkles and don't forget the bit about Mr. Johnson!


I realize that I don't have to *look*, and I don't. Celeb memoirs are not my thing. And that's why.

And if it debases the person who is supposed to present himself butt-naked to the world, it has to debase the rest of us too.

Since we're talking about "class" and all...

Synova said...

I saw something suggesting that Fey was claiming that her Palin imitations were why 30 Rock wasn't doing well. I don't think it was the *skits*, but what she said about them after. Most of the skits were pretty funny.

I have to admit, I've got no inclination to watch her in anything. Not that I go out of my way to avoid her.

In any case, maybe someone *should* have told her not to be a bossypants pain in the *ss.

There is a tendency to tell women that it's okay to be bitchy, but its really not. It's not confident or strong, it's just... bitchy. And no one likes it. No one at all.

The Crack Emcee said...

Hey - the comic book offer is real:

I'm about to become a superhero!

Synova said...

That's incredible, Crack. :-)