Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The Seamy Story of Karl Rove and Ali Akbar Generates a Video for the Ages
Our friends at The Liberal Grouch blog have taken an ugly story--the reported gay affair between Karl Rove and GOP operative Ali Akbar--and turned it into a video that had me doubled over with laughter on the first viewing. In fact, it might be the funniest thing to hit YouTube since a talking dog named Clark Griswold started asking his owner about maple-flavored bacon.
I played a small role in bringing the video to life, so maybe I'm not the most objective observer. But I feel safe in saying that if you have Germanic roots, possess a healthy hatred for Karl Rove, or both, you are likely to find this a genuine hoot.
It all started yesterday morning when I checked my blog statistics and noticed a visitor to Legal Schnauzer from someone at Holtzbrinck Publishing in New York. They arrived at my blog by conducting keyword searches on "Karl Rove gay" and "Rove's lover is Ali Akbar." It seemed something potentially juicy was going on, and I wasn't about to let it slip unnoticed.
My first thought was, "Who in the heck is Holtzbrinck Publishing?" I had never heard of them, so I was amazed to discover, via a Google search, that this is a big-time outfit. The Georg Von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, it turns out, is based in Stuttgart, Germany, and has published works by Ernest Hemingway, John Updike, Agatha Christie and other literary heavyweights. It also publishes international magazines, such as Nature and Scientific American, and now owns Macmillan Publishers.
As a veteran of 30-plus years in journalism, I should know a thing or two about the publishing business. But Holtzbrinck was a new name to me. I overcame my shame long enough to send an e-mail to a couple of friends about the curious visitor to my blog. One of those friends was Bill Schmalfeldt, aka "The Liberal Grouch."
Bill replied and asked if he could use the information for a post on his blog. I said, "Sure, why not?" having no idea how he would treat it. He gave the story a wicked comic twist in a post you can read here. But the real highlight comes in a video that still has me chuckling--and you can view it at the end of this post. The "Liberal Grouch," it seems, is not all that grouchy. In fact, he seemed to be having loads of fun at the expense of Rove and Akbar. Liberals need to do more of that kind of stuff.
As for me, I have no idea who was viewing my blog at Holtzbrinck Publishing. It might have been the CEO; it might have been a janitor with too much time on his hands. When the person first appeared on my blog stats, the visit was for a little more than five minutes. By the time, I noticed them again in the afternoon, the visit time was for more than four hours. I sent an update to The Liberal Grouch, and he responded with a new post titled "Someone Is Really, REALLY Interested in Al Akbar and Karl Rove."
Before I start drowning in my own self importance, it's only fair to point out that my blog stats do not prove that someone at Holtzbrinck was reading Legal Schnauzer for a full four hours. It's possible that someone discovered my blog, read for a while, and then left it on the screen for much of the day while doing other things. But this is my blog, and I am self important, so we are going to assume it was the CEO or a high-level editor who was reading my posts the entire time--enraptured by every word.
That leads to this obvious question: Is someone floating a book proposal about Karl Rove and Ali Akbar--and is Holtzbrinck interested enough to be researching the subject?
Of course, we also have this question: Did a supply clerk at Holtzbrinck hear about the Rove/Akbar affair and decide to while away the hours on a slow work day, the Tuesday after Labor Day, by perusing a strange blog in far-off Alabama?
I like the first scenario better, so that's what we'll go with.
Even if a book never comes from yesterday's events, we will always have the Grouch's classic video. For a guy named Schmalfeldt, working on a tip from a guy named Shuler (who has a blog devoted to the memory of a miniature schnauzer), it seems only fitting that a Germany-based publisher inspired this slice of comic genius. Enjoy!