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October 23, 2003

The Genesis of a Literary Feud for the Ages

Who should drop by but Leland Gregory (or at the very least, someone claiming to be he), author of Hey Idiot! Chronicles of Human Stupidity, whose book, and the similarities in subject matter to Book of the Dumb therein, I noted yesterday. Noted he, in the comments:

"I heard your book smells bad and mine has better dumberer people in it."

To which I responded:

"Yeah? Well, I heard YOUR book was made from ground-up kittens!"

That's where it stands at the moment.

I'm serious about the ground-up kittens. Go feel the cover of his book. It's all felty.

Beg Leland Gregory to think about the kittens. Here's his Web site.

Update:

Leland Gregory responds:

"Holy crap,

LG: Oh, hey there Satan!
Satan: Wazzup?
LG: Not much, any dictums for the weak-minded and/or inherently evil?
Satan: Sure, pour McDonald's coffee on fair-skinned babies, burn Gideon bibles to heat your heroin spoon, and read Scalzi's *Book of the Dumb*.
LG: I'll pass that on to them. Did you know I was on the Today Show?"

I respond:

"So, Leland, when you were talking to Satan, did you ask him about the working conditions in that Guatemalan factory? You know, where the impoverished orphans are forced to assemble your book by hand, with cheap glue sticks, 17 hours a day? In exchange for a thin gruel made from KITTENS?"

Kittens! I wonder if Katie Couric asked him about that.

Update:

Leland Gregory responds:

"Touche.

One second before I retort.

*rips another page out of BOTD*
*wipes*
*flushes*

Ok then. All I can say is that the kittens are injected (in the eye of course) with a solution of important vitamins and minerals to make sure I have the healthiest impoverished orphans in Guatemala, nay even in all the lands South-Southeast of Huehuetenango! We also recycle at the factory. We remove those reflexive tendons from the kittens just before we kill them for use in the cheap glue sticks. All I see you recycling, Scalzi, are my ideas."

I respond:

"Nonsense! First off, I don't recycle, I steal. Second, I only steal from bright-eyed would-be writers who confide in me their one great idea for a book, which they hope one day to write and will bring them fame and fortune and members of the sex of their preference who will happily lick their toes. They're typically so crushed at the betrayal they don't even sue, which is of course what you want when you're stealing.

Pleased that you're finding use for the book. Alas, the poor pulp grade and high acidity of the paper in my copy of *Hey, Idiot!* has not allowed me to likewise employ your book, for fear of a chapped, burning rectum. I do find, however, that leaving a page on the ground causes the insects that meander across it to desiccate and expire. Testing is underway to determine if this is due to the toxins in the ink, or merely the prose. "

Update:

Leland Gregory responds:

"I didn't want it to come to this.

Pistols at dawn...NO...wait.

Each man can arrive with a copy of his opponent's book and use it in WHATEVER way he wishes. I, for example, will hurl your literary poopookaka in many small crumpled-page lumps (or 'Scalzi-pies' as they call them on the plains) like so many Reesus monkeys after a chili dinner. You will find yourself the singularity at the center of a black hole (err, brown?) from which no poop can escape...even that which I light on fire. Yes indeed, Scalzi-Pie en Fuego!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must begin working on my new books: *The Approximate Manual to the Cosmos* and *Geriatric Male's Military Confrontation*."

I respond:

"Why just one copy of our respective books? My idea is to arrive with entire pallets of your book (amply and cheaply purchased from the remainder tables at Barnes & Noble), and use those tomes as the building blocks for subsidized housing for what few impoverished Guatemalan orphans have escaped your book-binding sweatshops. True, the shoddy workmanship of the binding and near-particulate nature of the paper all but assures that sooner or later these houses will collapse and implode, dooming those inside to death by suffocation and tortured verbiage. But until that happens, those escaped impoverished Guatemalan orphans would be safe and secure. It will be the happiest sixteen minutes of their life!

And now, off to begin my next classic. I believe I will call it *The Most Mentally Challenged Lawbreakers*. It could be BIG. "

Ha! Literary feuds are fun! Why haven't I done this before?

Update:

Leland Gregory responds:

"Back to our respective, individual, and completely non-mutually exclusive pursuits then.

Maybe we should try each writing half of the same book. We will then have a control group of readers peruse the book and note their reactions on different parts. For instance, my sections will induce euphoric 'mindgasms' as the reader drinks in the Dionysian prose with a satisfied grimace of total understanding as if one finger of God connected with their right temple and osmosed the meaning of life directly into their brain (to be polytheistic). Conversely, the readers of your staccato, high-minded, Crayola-verse will seem to actually 'catch' Hell personified in virus form and bleed ebola-style from every orifice for no other reason than to make the hurting stop...or at least cover the pages with an opaque layer of blood. Either that or the confluence of opposing forces will completely negate existence as a whole...or at least blow up the Stay Puft marshmallow man.

This is the last time I go to a site when my 8 year old cousin tells me my name was mentioned on a site he found from some ancillary archive link from penny-arcade.com."

I respond:

"Oh, Leland. Surely you can tell when your readers are faking a mindgasm, right? Right? Oh, dear. Well, all I can say is that quick half-lidded glance is your direction is not a look of *satiation.* I'll be happy to send you some pictures of what that looks like to help clear up any confusion. Because you know, I have quite the collection.

I would be pleased to collaborate with you, but I do have worries -- strictly related to the physical aspects of such a collection. You see, it's well understood that if matter and antimatter should meet, they would annihilate each other, releasing all their potential energy in one monumental blast. By the same token, I fear that were my crystalline prose, filigreed with pure veins of knowledge, to even lightly graze your, shall we say, *earthy* emanations of logorrhea, the resulting furious explosion might shatter the very mantle of the planet, reducing us all to carbon smudges on bare, melting rock.

Therefore I must beg -- for the sake of every living thing, even the kittens -- that this collaboration must not be. Please understand that I hold you in the highest regard possible under the circumstances. But some things are better left uncontemplated. "

Posted by john at October 23, 2003 11:56 AM

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