Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Shitty Writer + Horrible People = Crappy Book

Some reader/asshole recommended to me that I read Ben Mezrich's "Bringing Down The House: The Inside Story Of Six M.I.T Students Who Took Vegas For Millions", citing how exciting it was, non-fiction that reads like a white knuckle thriller, etc. Well, let me clear something up, the book is a horribly written piece of shit about people who can all go and suck my cock. First off, weather you are a junkie who knocks over the corner grocery for his fix, or an intelligent overprivileged college kid who knows how to count cards and utilize team play, stealing is stealing. There's a great exchange in Charles Willeford's 'Miami Blues', that also in George Armitage's excellent film adaptation, namely, after the criminal explains how he steals money...

So you're kind of like Robin Hood?
Yeah. Except I didn't give any money to the poor people.

Mezrich lacks any comparable wit, and is too blinded by his conception of a exciting life to offer any ethical judgments. Maybe the story, which in itself interesting, could have been compelling with a decent writer relating the tale of highly intelligent scholars who make their living as sleaze-balls. However, Mezrich, who already had a book deal while still enrolled in Harvard, is one lousy fucking writer. Listen to this idiot describe his personal visit to a strip club:

When the overhead lights blinked on for a brief moment as the clock struck three A.M., an image straight out of Caligula's fantasies was seared permanently into my memory: a sea of undulating skin rippling and rubbing and writing as far as my eyes could see.

To Call Las Vegas's Crazy Horse Too a strip club would be misleading - both to the connoisseurs or the form and to those who abhor the very idea of nude flesh for cash. Built, consciously or unconsciously, to resemble a Roman orgy at the twilight of an Empire... The CH2 was quite possibly the most decadent place I'd ever been.

A strip club in Vegas, yeah, I am sure that is what Caligula fantasized about. In fact, Mezrich's description of something as pedestrian as a Vegas strip club makes it pretty obvious that his idea of fast times is having half a wine cooler and staying up late enough to catch Leno. Read again, as this two bit hack tries to describe swagger:

I entered the circular casino like Kevin Lewis had taught me bold, arrogant, leering at the gorgeous blonde waitresses in their tight black shorts and dark stockings, walking in long strides as if my cock ran halfway down my leg. My hair was slicked back, my silk shirt open two buttons at my neck. My jacket flowed around me like a cape.

Or, when when these hardened card counters get into a conflict hard boiled just oozes out of the page:

"We're playing with fire," Kevin said, moving away from the phone. "We've been hit four times in one week."
Fisher looked away disgusted. Kevin felt like smacking some sense into the fool.

Or my personal favorite:

A burst of applause filled the room as Martinez took a measure bow. "Of course, this is just a demonstration model," he said. "I wouldn't wear the fat suit in Vegas. It would certainly hamper my success with the ladies. But you get the general idea."
"Over the past few days," Fisher tag-teamed in, "we've been out in L.A. meeting with a top Hollywood makeup artist. For a small fortune, we've purchased some of the highest quality disguises - prosthetics, wigs, hair coloring, skin dye-available on the market."

Watch out George V. Higgins, someone else has an ear for dialogue! Mezrich comes to insanely obvious conclusions like he is a sage of great wisdom, instead of some sheltered chump. Strippers care only about the money. People can't win in Vegas. The security in Casino's is tight. Sure, for the typical Vegas crowd, run of the mill morons whose idea of high literature is shitty book like this, that might be a revelation. But for anyone who isn't an idiot, it is not.

For someone ostensibly so smart, Kevin sure can act like a fucking nitwit. When it becomes abundantly clear that everyone employee in every Casino in the entire world knows who they are and they get spotted within half an hour of entering any such establishment, his dumb ass still decides to try again. He's just a greedy rich jerk, who never got the leg-breaking or crippling that he so richly deserves. The money wasn't enough for this scumbag, he wanted to be famous, too, so he gets his buddy to write a book, relating his adventure. Fuck him. In case you think this book ends with a bang, it doesn't, one of Kevin's poorly rendered associate gets punched in the face, someone else gets their house broken into and some money stolen, and someone breaks into Kevin's apartment. Yep, that's the ending. This book sucks, and I hope Ben Mezrich gets hit by a car.