Signature Significance: Two Unethical Tell-Alls

My late friend Bob McElwaine was of another era for sure. Once an active Hollywood publicist with many A-list clients, Bob once peddled his memoirs to publishers. He was an excellent writer with a great sense of humor, but was told repeatedly that unless he included “dirt” on his famous friends, girl friends and clients (like Danny Kaye, Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh and Dean Martin) the book was a non-starter. Bob refused. “My clients hired me to be discrete and to keep their secrets,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if they are dead now: I’m not betraying them for a check.” (Bob did tell me some his experiences, knowing that I would not publish them. Yikes!)

Well, Bob is dead, and so is his brand of professionalism, trustworthiness and honor, as two forthcoming books demonstrate.

Stephanie Grisham, a former Trump White House press secretary of brief tenure best known for never holding a televised briefing with reporters, will have her tell-all book out next week. What a surprise: it accused President Donald J. Trump of being mean to his staff, relay embarrassing episodes and inappropriate remarks while painting herself as being trapped in a den of thieves and fools. She provides gossip about Melania’s reaction to the Stormy Daniels claims, calls colleagues names and sneers at the First Family generally. “Angling to dine with the British royals, the extended Trump family reminds a colleague of the ’60s sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies,” poised to flip the finger bowls.,” the Times reviewer,Alexandra Jacobs, writes. “She likens Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus to Oscar and Felix, the slob and neatnik roommates in “The Odd Couple.” Tending to his own flossy coif with comb, hair dryer, spray and oversize scissors, Trump is the delusional, preening Norma Desmond from one of his favorite movies, “Sunset Boulevard.”

Even the Times reviewer rates the book as little more than a petty score-settling exercise, but such books are far worse than that. They are grubby, venal betrayals. In the case of Trump White House backstage revelations, they are especially vile because the authors are counting on the Trump Hate market to cash in and make forfeiting all credibility as a professional, and I believe, an ethical human being, “worth it.”

Does Grisham comprehend the Golden Rule? How about the Principle of Universality? Let’s make it easy: do the duties of confidentiality and trust-keeping ring a bell?

She’s despicable. Anyone who hires her from this point on is a fool, and deserves what will surely be coming, and yet…

Katie Couric’s new book coming out this month, “Going There,” makes it clear that given a choice between working with Grisham and the former Today Show cutie-pie, Grisham is the safer choice. As would be a rattlesnake…

Couric mocks or insults everyone from co-workers to ex-lovers in the book. She dishes about how she sabotaged a perceived female rival.She describes embarrassing moments in dates with celebrities like Larry King (ew). Describing meeting Prince Harry at a polo match in Brazil, Katie says that the stench of cigarettes and alcohol seemed to “ooze from every pore” in his body. Nice!

One critic has opined that after this book, Couric “will never get a job at any television network or cable channel ever again because she attacks everyone. She’ll be stuck with her newsletter and Instagram stories for the rest of her working life even though the book oozes of her desperation to be back on network television hosting her own show.”

We can only how that this assessment is correct.

15 thoughts on “Signature Significance: Two Unethical Tell-Alls

  1. People who write tell all books must truly believe that their behavior is always above board.
    In Grisham’s case, as in most Trump bashing books these writers always portray the character’s behaviors in the worst possible manner. Was Trump mean or demanding? Were you called out by Trump because you did not measure up or because you thought failure is something always excusable? Both Grisham Couric are cut from the same cloth. Each believes themselves to be without sin.

  2. I seem to recall that cutie-pie Couric always had a reputation as a ruthless backstabbing elitist biatch among most who worked around her. People like the diminutive hard to please Couric do not hesitate to throw people under the bus and experience zero remorse after doing so.
    Word on the street is that she is a dry hole who hasn’t experienced an orgasm in an uncomfortably long time thereby contributing mightily to her ongoing frustration and bitterness.
    Just saying.

      • Nah, I can go much lower Rich but was in a good mood when I wrote that.
        Sex is a normal natural healthy aspect of being human and my comment simply addresses one unfortunate affliction that more than a few women silently suffer from and is *not* about just getting laid as you assert.
        Technically you are correct about speculating but I trust my source.

          • Dry hole is vernacular where I live but I can understand how the term may be offensive to those with delicate sensibilities. I suppose I could have been clinical in my description of cutesy-pie Couric’s condition and used the proper term vulvovaginal atrophy, but somehow that just doesn’t have the connotation I was looking for.

  3. Is Grisham trying to insult the Trump family by comparing them to the Beverly Hillbillies? Is she not aware that the point of the show was to mock and deconstruct upper-class societal pretension and hypocrisy? In other words, if she were to be a character on the show, she’d likely end up frustrated and/or humiliated by the protagonists, albeit through no ill will of theirs. She should have picked a different reference.

  4. I jokingly asked former Celtic Woman (famous from PBS) soloist Lisa Kelly if she would one day write a tell-all book dishing on what went on behind the scenes during her time with the group (2003-2011). Even though I don’t think she was completely happy with the way her (and her husband’s) time with the group ended (Chloe Agnew, the only other soloist she remains good friends with, recently rejoined (she needed the money and they needed her as a draw), but when the group was in the area where she is, although she came to say hello to Chloe, she did not stick around for the show), she’s not going to slime her former colleagues onstage and behind the scenes. For one thing, that act is a niche interest, so few would buy the book to begin with, but, more importantly, she knows that would be just wrong.

    Assume she did, what’s going to be in it that a fan wouldn’t already know or that’s not already out there? Arguments over details? Musical and artistic decisions that resulted in bruised feelings? Prosaic reasons for departures? Affairs? How so-and-so, who seems so sweet on stage, is really a bad word that rhymes with “itch” behind the scenes? How so-and-so ran late and got chewed out by the tour manager? Who’s a team player and who’s a diva? How does any of this benefit anyone? How does any of this do anything other than titillate gossip-hungry fans? There’s nothing good and a lot of bad that would come from doing that.

    The whole idea of spilling embarrassing stuff, particularly stuff that happened a long time ago, just strikes me as reverting to middle school mentality, where you make sure every embarrassing thing that happens gets out there and you NEVER let the person live it down or forget it.

  5. Hate to blame the victim (I know – Trump as a victim is truly droll), but one of my favorite Shelbyville redneck sayings is, “You hire shit, you get shit.”

    It goes without saying that the Donald is not the best judge of character — but he’s a great judge of sycophants.

    • Glenn
      It seems to me if Trump was a great judge if sycophants there would have been far less turnover in his administration and there would be far fewer tell all books.

      Maybe the fact there are so many anti Trump books is more reflective of the nature of those whose whole careers are predicated in maintaining the status quo in DC

  6. Are these two women what feminists really want as icons of working women? This is truly “barefoot and in the kitchen” stuff. Katie should have just stayed on campus and taken the job of sorority house mother at UVA and I have no idea what Ms. Grisham should do.

    The Grisham book has been being leaked out a headline at a time for a couple of weeks on the Daily Mail and reported as if it’s all gospel truth. What a joke. I can’t believe the Paper of Record has stopped to review it. But it’s crack cocaine for the Trump Deranged and the Dems. Gotta keep Trump in everyone’s mind. And what on earth was Katie Couric thinking? Is she that short on cash? Did Bernie Madoff wipe her out? There’s no upside. Wouldn’t her market have been a chirpy, upbeat recollection of all the wonderful things she enjoyed and accomplished during her perfect life and working career? This is bizarre, completely unprovoked career suicide. Doesn’t she have any friends or advisors or even children who could have counseled her against doing this. It just makes no sense.

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