April 19, 2018

James Comey takes the Stormy world by book… er… book world by storm


Jesus H.L. Menckeny Christ Newsballs! There’s a lot going on. From scumbag supreme Michael Cohen lawyering for Sean Hannity to Stormy Daniels’s sketch of her assailant being tweeted out by the fucking president to what appears to be progress on denuclearizing North Korea to don’t-forget-we-bombed-Syria-six-days-ago — it’s hard to believe that topping all of that is a book.

James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty, to be precise.

We’ve been following this for a while, even tracking how it briefly fell from number one thanks to John Oliver’s mocking of Mike Pence’s bunny (let the record show that Oliver actually likes the bunny, but can’t forgive Pence for being an anti-gay, conversion-therapy-promoting testicular barnacle).

Aside from being the number one book by sales—not yet a confirmed fact, but my book-trade spidey-sense tells me it must be so—it’s also dominating publicity. Sadly, some of the attention is focusing on Comey’s description of Donald Trump’s hair, skin, and hands.

As Sam Gillette from People comments, “Comey didn’t miss a single physical detail, even assessing the size of Trump’s hands.” Or David Moye at the Huffington Post,You have to hand it to former FBI Director James Comey: He knows a good way to troll Donald Trump is to bring up the president’s reportedly small hands.”

While it’s true that the book does describe Trump’s appearance, focusing on that is a ridiculous distraction. It would be strange for Comey not to mention Trump’s appearance — Trump is a weird-looking dude. And he doesn’t really mock the President’s appearance at all, saying his “face appeared slightly orange, with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coiffed, bright blond hair, which upon close inspection looked to be all his.”

Anyone can confirm this description at any time. Parts of it have been expressed far less charitably.

What’s more alarming, and should be readers’ takeaway, is Comey’s portrayal of Trump’s leadership style. If you’ve read The Making of Donald Trump, it shouldn’t surprise you that Comey shows us a Trump who runs things like a mafia don. This stands in stark contrast to the leadership style of Robert Mueller, for instance, who was a beacon of morality, efficiency, and decorum while running the FBI, insisting the top leadership always wear black suits with white shirts.

In an interview on Tuesday with Stephen Colbert, Comey responded to some of the criticism:

“I’m trying to be an author. I’m sitting there typing, I can hear my editor saying, ‘Bring the reader with you,’ ‘show the reader that room.’ And so I say in there… I talk about how I was struck at how skinny Barack Obama is. I describe John Ashcroft’s skin color when he was in intensive care. I’m trying to bring the reader with me. I’m not trying to make fun of John Ashcroft, Barack Obama, or even Donald Trump. I’m trying to observe and report.”

One could go on, but there are too many other things to harp on right now. (See the top paragraph.) This is a case of people not seeing the “forest fire” for the gross orange flame that’s consuming it.



Peter Clark is a former Melville House sales manager.