Banned Books Week: We’ll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives

Happy Banned Books Week!!!! I’m going to try to post with a Banned Books Week review every day this week. We’ll see if I make it!

Title: We’ll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin’ Showbiz Saga
Author: Paul Shaffer with David Ritz
Challenged In: Mitchell, South Dakota
For: “too frank depictions of sex and sexual matters”

This book actually was shocking. Shockingly boring. It let me down so hard. I meant to have it read by Friday, but I kept having to push myself to get through it. The writing style is (I think?) trying to be conversational, but just ends up sounding like even it would rather be somewhere else. It jumps around chronologically with no purpose or structure until the text reads like the undirected rambling of someone approaching senility. Occasionally in the beginning it switches from first to third person for no obvious reason, like the writer just forgot what he was doing for a few moments.

So, I’m pretty shocked that anyone made it through this book to object to it. Maybe they saw the cover and thought that was reason enough. It’s happened before. The author does mention sex a few times–maybe three?–but not nearly enough for a tell-all showbiz memoir. The only example I can think of off hand was when Paul Shaffer sleeps with a groupie, but he doesn’t describe it at all. I feel like I need to write to Mitchell, South Dakota and suggest some books that are actually racy, because this wouldn’t even satisfy a Gossip Girl fan. And it’s shelved in the adult section, so there’s no excuse for holding back.

Here’s a “racy” excerpt:

She had slipped out of all her clothes except her high heels and stockings and had spread herself across my bed like a Playboy centerfold. “Praise God!” was the one thought that came to mind. I was so surprised, so delighted, that I spilled my vodka tonic.

Bow-chicka-wow-wow! This is going to get steamy, right? Wrong.

Here’s how he describes “it”:

I soon saw that I was dealing with a master craftswoman. Her attention to detail was exceptional, and she handled her task with both confidence and cunning. I had absolutely no complaints.

Is he talking about a sexual conquest or getting his teeth whitened at the dentist? Impossible to tell.

The book is made up of barely-connected reminiscing about the “author”‘s experiences as leader of David Letterman’s band and on Saturday Night Live. It’s almost entirely name dropping, but most of those names are people maybe my parents have heard of? I recognized Eugene Levy and Martin “Marty” Short, at least, but I’ve never been really aflame with curiosity about them. It’s hard to tell how much of the shitty writing and boring plot is Paul Shaffer and how much is David Ritz, his ghost writer. It’s annoying, because I’m not sure which of them to hate for wasting a week of my reading time. Is David Ritz really a competent writer, hampered by Paul Shaffer’s lackluster material and onerous input? How much work do celebrity “authors” really put into the books published under their name? Until Sam Neill hires me to ghost write his memoirs, I may never know.

Here’s the part I found the most ridiculous:

I have reason to believe my behavior may well have changed the landscape of our pop culture and, in a vastly more important way, even changed the always-sensitive dynamic between Christians and Jews in the United States of America… After Mel [Gibson] had charmed his way though Dave’s graceful interview, Dave asked him, “May we turn your pants into shorts?”
“Sure,” said the amiable actor. “Why not?”
I was called over to help circumcise Gibson’s trousers. That’s when my hand slipped and the state of Judeo-Christian relations changed forever.
Believe me when I say that the slip was unintentional. I merely placed the scissors too close to Mel’s skin. In doing so, I cut him. The skin broke. He bled. Drops of Gibson’s blood fell to the floor. Mel looked at me murderously. He was enraged. He had been bloodied by a Jewish piano player.
Because of my Hebrew heritage, I couldn’t help but feel great guilt when I started hearing about Gibson’s bloody movie, The Passion of the Christ. I couldn’t help but wonder whether the slip of my hand had caused what some reviewers were calling a blatantly anti-Jewish version of the Crucifixion story.

Yeah, this guy is totally taking credit for Mel Gibson’s Antisemitism, because one time on David Letterman he cut his leg a little by accident. The things I slog through for you.

Previously: The Quran
Next: The Awakening

One response to “Banned Books Week: We’ll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives”

  1. TheJamesFox says:

    Alternate assumptions the person challenging this book COULD have made based on the book’s cover/title:

    Paul Shaffer has been kidnapped by an insane Albanian mobster/director and is being forced to play the lead role in a live rendition of his abductor’s pornographic magnum opus. The title is a joke about impotence

    Paul Shaffer is up on stage about to play his big solo but suddenly realizes he has forgotten his sax. Unable to leave the stage until the solo is completed but determined to not allow the show to be ruined, Shaffer attempts to stall for time in an increasingly absurd series of ad-libbed performances in hopes that eventually someone backstage will bring him his instrument. The cover depicts Paul juggling the two smallest groupies he could find in the theater during the audience participation portion of his hours long descent into dadaist madness

    Paul Shaffer has been in on-stage in Hell all along; doesn’t realize it until the end of the book when the Devil, the sole member of the audience, slow claps a standing ovation for him, Shaffer asks if it’s finally over, Devil laughs and drops the title of the book on him

    Any combination of the above

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