What I’m Reading Now

Fame Formula by Mark Borkowski came across my radar screen at some point when I was still using MySpace

I made note of it and have just now begun reading the book. It is not what its hype says but is nevertheless fascinating. Perhaps toward the end, he’ll offer some useful information about publicity in the digital age.

In the meantime, the walk through history with P.T. Barnum and a huge group of shills from the eras of vaudeville and burlesque and early movies who’ve gone quietly into the fog of the past offers an amazing insight into the art? craft? of publicity.

Borkowski cites Barnum as the father of the “humbug,” which brought lines of folks anxious see whatever he was hyping. The next person he features in these mini-biographies, combined with descriptions of their exploits is Harry Reichenbach. After reading about his early years, I thought, Well, what exactly did he do? Push Sherlock Holmes over the falls? Oh, no wait, that was Moriarty.

While much of the writing is serviceable, there’s the occasional colorful phrase: “lost the appetite to suck the new flavour corporate dick.” And Borkowski is a good storyteller. Even with a twelve-page lead-in, the story of skirt-chasing, outrageous Maynard Nottage is worth it.

And here’s one for the Twitter generation: MINOA (“missing in need of attention”).

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