From Entertainment Tonight to the Associated Press, few media outlets have raised an iota of moral concern for the books language. AP called it the snappiest-titled diet book on the market. The New York Times could only say the book employed a spoonful of spice. A spoonful? Try a greasy 10-gallon tub of lard.
Readers have responded to "the title, the humor and the rude language," Karin Stratton, diet and fitness buyer at Borders, told USA Today. But the attention-grabbing, faux-religious tone is also interspersed: soda pop is "liquid Satan."
When the Skinny authors appeared on NBCs Today in April, host Meredith Vieira was the exception to the media rule. She instructed parents of young children they may want to turn the volume down for the segment. She asked the authors about the tone of the book. We had a very important message about health and nutrition. We felt that, you know, this would catch peoples attention a little more, said Barnouin. Freedman added that shes from New Jersey, and thats how they talk there. We really wanted to give people something fun to read, and we didnt want to make it a boring, clinical, science-diet book. We wanted to make it really accessible. The authors seemed much more concerned about defending the books scientific credentials (neither of them have any medical credentials) than its raunchy tone.
Even in the book world, shock sells big. These authors can claim that the meat-is-murder message is more important than manners, or claim that all the profanity is simply a way to make your work really accessible. But their calculated rudeness is running over the last vestiges of decorum in our everyday speech.
Bill Moyers is rightfully indignant. But its a lost cause.
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