Facts are more entertaining than fiction

Factual books, especially memoirs, are my reading preference. Fiction holds little interest for me, even less so as I age. I find it impossible to care about imaginary characters. Whether they are happy or miserable, win or lose, live or die – I don’t care. I refuse to spend my time and eyesight on them.

As Michelle Obama’s memoir, “Becoming”, goes on sale she will begin a multiple city book tour. Her first venue — hosted by no other than Oprah — will seat 23,000. Won’t that set Trump off on a twitter rant! A crowd that size rivals his biggest rallies on the campaign trail to become president. The most expensive tickets are $1,000 each.

The publisher assures readers Obama has authored every word of this memoir herself; I sure hope so. Nothing disappoints like a book that turns out to have been written largely by a professional writer, such as Donald Trump’s, “The Art of the Deal”. He might have written one sentence; the rest was the work of a hired writer who followed him around for months before relating his story.

I’m part way through reading Stormy Daniels’ memoir about her encounters with Trump, activities as a porn actress, screen writer and mother of one daughter. She, too, had the help of a hired writer. But far from her times spent with Trump, the most interesting fact to me was her weight gain of 93 pounds while she was pregnant. That’s roughly three times the recommended healthy weight gain for a pregnant woman. Yet she makes no mention of her obstetrician having fits trying to control her weight. Instead she would send her husband out at all hours to fetch a container of her favourite ice cream. One night he was gone for two hours, finally came home with the last container he could find, in a distant store, and that he had swiped from the cart of an elderly woman when her back was turned.

Movies, too, have more appeal if the story is true. Recently I watched the Netflix documentary, Tricky Dick and The Man in Black, an account of how President Richard Nixon invited Johnny Cash to perform at the White House to encourage southerners to vote for him. The war in Vietnam was going badly, American troops were dying, and Nixon wanted to rev up support for his planned offensive.

Nixon asked Cash to sing two particular songs, one being Merle Haggard’s “Glad to Be an Okie from Muskogee”.Without indicating whether or not he would, the night of the concert Cash skipped both requested songs, substituting a new one he had written, called “What Is Truth?” The song, quietly pointing out how politicians were sacrificing troops’ lives in their drive to beat the Viet Cong, had Nixon visibly squirming in his seat.

Mere weeks after that concert Nixon began bombing Cambodia, something he had already been doing without the knowledge or permission of Congress. That bit of information disturbed me; that’s so much like Trump ordering this or that – for instance moving 15,000 troops to the Mexican border — without seeking the approval of Congress beforehand or Republicans objecting afterward.

In almost every memoir, the author strives for validation from a parent or society. Cash tried all his life to earn a word of praise from his father. Despite Johnny’s chart topping songs, TV shows, and activism Dad never said a kind word to him.

I can feel for someone like Johnny. Or Michelle. Even Stormy. I’m in their corner from start to finish.

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