Now that the Pulitzer Prizes have been awarded in the arts, journalism and scholarship, the nation's intelligentsia turns its attention elsewhere. It has been a good year for the Pulitzer Prize. Thus far, not one recipient has been nabbed for plagiarism, fabrication or crimes against humanity. Doubtless some irregularities will be discovered in due course, but for now, the intellectual excitement in the republic shifts to the most highly esteemed of all intellectual awards conferred in this Augustan Age, the J. Gordon Coogler Award for the Worst Book of the Year.
As always, the deliberations have been highly secret, and until now, none of the authors under consideration has had any hint that fame is about to enhalo his or her pathetic literary dud. Writers rarely suffer low self-esteem. Laboring behind closed doors, the tireless members of the J. Gordon Coogler Awards Committee -- America's closest approximation of the British Academy or the Academie Francaise -- have pored over both fiction and non-fiction, for frequently Cooglers are conferred for rubbish in both categories. Much of the time, however, the non-fiction works are interlarded with so much slovenly thought and general dishonesty as to be legitimately categorized fiction, its authors' high-flown claims notwithstanding.
This year's masterpiece falls into this category, a non-fiction book that is mostly fiction and truly tiresome fiction at that. Hence we shall have but one Coogler laureate, Al Franken. The Coogler Committee did consider giving a non-fiction award to Michael Moore for his "Stupid White Men," but that was before we actually read the book, and from its title, we were under the misapprehension that Moore had written a confessional autobiography. Actually, it is a good thing Moore's infantile book did not qualify in the non-fiction category. He is such a repellent self-promoter that he would probably be the first Coogler laureate ever to show up at the awards ceremony to claim his trophy and deliver one of his customary whines about the Bush Tyranny or how he was practically swept out to sea by an automatic flush toilet at a public amenity that is a grave threat to the nation's water tables.