Bestseller lists were once crammed with self-help books, self-healing books, and self-awareness books. Now, only a few make it to the top 10 .
Where have all the advice books gone?
Maybe they’ve been sent to Yasser Arafat’s Ramallah compound. Ol’ Yasser could use some advice. On how to stay alive, for example. Or how it's probably best to announce an unconditional ceasefire before 60 suicide bombers detonate themselves in Israel. Promising a ceasefire afterwards just seems impolite.
You can’t blame the man. Terrorists are about the only demographic not catered to by self-help authors. What is Yasser (or Usama, or Saddam) going to learn by reading Your Sacred Self,or You Can Heal Your Life, or Who Moved My Cheese?, or Reinvent Your Life?
Likewise, the poultry-themed feel-good sector completely ignores terrorist needs. Titles like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul , Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother’s Soul , and Hot XXX Chicken Action for the Mentally Ill aren’t going to lure anybody to the Tora Bora Barnes & Noble. (Well, possibly that last one might. Too bad it’s sold out.)
Let’s help these people, and anyone else who needs some straightening out. Following are tips from my upcoming book, Reclaim Your Crazy Life: Advice for Mad Bombers, Taliban Lunatics, Stupid Journalists, and Other Losers.
Dead al-Qaeda soldiers do not have the ability to restore your eyesight:
"Hundreds of mourners have descended on the graveyard from as far away as Mazar-i-Sharif, Kabul and Uruzgan province. What began as daily homages have grown into all-night vigils. Men, women and children sleep by the graves. Devotees recite the Koran throughout the night. The paralyzed, ill and blind flock to the site seeking miracle cures, which many claim to receive."
If you don’t want people to think you are part of an Axis of Evil, don’t fund Palestinian killers:
"Saddam Hussein is paying $25,000 to the relatives of Palestinian suicide bombers — a $15,000 raise much welcomed by the bombers' families."
Rocks aren’t food:
"[Jalat] Khan, 30, who sought safety on the border with Pakistan during the U.S. bombing campaign that began in October, said he swallows up to one pound of stones daily...'I had a very healthy and strong body when I started eating stones,' said Khan, who compared his taste for pebbles to an addict who craves tobacco or drugs. "Then I became weak and thin.’"
It’s hard to fake being an Afghan laborer if you don't look anything like one :
"He was dressed in the traditional garb of an Afghan worker but nothing could hide David Hicks' true identity...the Australian Taliban fighter at first pretended he was a deaf mute, then attempted to persuade his captors he was a Malaysian traveller. But his interrogator saw the truth in Hicks'blue-green eyes."
If you claim that a media conspiracy stops certain things being said, it doesn’t help your case if you then say those things , repeatedly, and without punishment:
"That George Bush Sr, former head of the CIA and president, is by< any measure of international law one of the modern era's greatest prima facie war criminals, and his son's illegitimate administration a product of this dynastic mafia, is unmentionable."
Get your facts straight before you accuse the President of funding terrorists:
"Why does Michael Moore keep saying the Bush administration gave $43 million to the Taliban — months after that story was ebunked?"
Political plans hatched in mud huts inside refugee camps rarely succeed:
"Maulvi Mehmood Din, a former senior Taleban official in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, is back in a mud house in a refugee camp outside Peshawar and plotting a comeback with several senior leaders."
If you’re a major newspaper and you think you can get away with misrepresenting Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, you should first learn about this new Internet thing:
"Like your average petty felon cooling his heels in the countyjail, the Chronicle is very, very sorry it got caught. But it doesn't really, deep down seem to think that it did much wrong. Such attitudes are bound to get beaten out of the media in an era when anyone with an Internet connection can play media critic."
Asserting that you have "no voice" when in fact you have a weekly newspaper column will lead people to conclude that you are dumb:
"I am an American who is tired of having no voice in a maelstrom of groupthink and who is reduced to withdrawing completely and shouting in order to be heard."
And here’s a timely tip to end with: you’ll save a fortune in chocolate expenses if you convince your infant children that the Easter Bunny is an Easter Beast and that Easter eggs are actually unexploded M67 fragmentation grenades . Their trauma equals money in your pocket. Happy Easter, folks.
Tim Blair is an Australia-based journalist who first encountered the horror of environmentalism as a grade school student, when a bearded teacher told him that all the fossil fuel in the world was about to vanish and everybody would soon be driving electric cars. Born in 1965, he has been a senior editor at Time magazine, a columnist at Sydney's Daily Telegraph, and the editor of Sports Illustrated's Australian edition. He currently writes for various Australian newspapers and magazines, publishes Timblair.com and has owned dozens of cars and motorcycles — none of them electric.