Friday, October 15, 2010

Bill O'Reilly and the Talking Heads

I have grown tired of the talking heads on TV and their continued promotion of their books. They all have them and they all hit The New York Times bestsellers list. And why not? They get nightly commercials to hawk their books while the rest of us aren’t so lucky.

These are the same people that "support the troops’ with everything they say, but I don’t see any of them in a uniform, holding onto a weapon and wondering if that dead dog in the road is concealing a roadside bomb... Oh, yes, the terrorists do that sort of thing and we learned to look for wires running from the animal into the bushes far away.

Why, you ask, should this bother me? Well, before my National Guard unit was called to active duty and I was sent to Iraq, I was a writer. I did many things. Science fiction. Action-adventure. Non-fiction. I had contracts to write books and I had work lined up.

Then we were called to active duty and I didn’t have time to meet my deadlines. Oh, the publisher were gracious enough to ask to me to finish as soon as possible. I finished one of the books just before we left home but the next didn’t get delivered on time... and the one that followed that was late. I could not fulfill my obligations for the copy edited manuscript or the page proofs because I was in Iraq.

They said that when I returned they would set something up and we’d do some additional books. But then it came time to deliver on that promise and they were all afraid that I would be deployed again. I told them that I thought that wouldn’t happen, but, of course it did. That deployment was short. Then came Katrina and I was on active duty for that and finally the floods here. All required periods of active duty lasting from about fourteen days to a month or more.

My writing career is now pretty much in the toilet. I don’t have access to a daily TV show to tell everyone about it. I can’t buy commercial time on TV or the radio because it is too expensive. And those talk show hosts don’t want to talk to me because they don’t care about what I think.

I’m wondering what the careers of all those talking heads would be if they had to take 14 months off to serve. What if they didn’t have daily access to TV to promote their books... and don’t tell me they’re too old to serve. I was in Iraq at 54... and this after serving in Vietnam at 19.
If any of them would like, I can speak intelligently on a variety of subjects. For example, I knew in 2003 that the Iraqis wanted us to leave, which is what all the surveys were reporting. I knew because I had talked to Iraqis in Baghdad and Tikrit and Babylon. But I also knew the rest of the statement... Yes, they wanted the Americans to leave, but not right now. That was something that hasn’t been reported until recently.

Hey, networks, why not?

Anyway, the point is... if I had access to a daily commercial for my books, I too would find myself on the bestseller list. Instead, I was out of the country, on a mission dictated by the president and endorsed by nearly all those talking heads. Now my career is in the dumper but none of them are around to offer help. Why am I not surprised?