Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.
SUCK IT UP Buttercup
Author: Robert D. Cass
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing, New York
Discovered at: Donated by Mark Lisanti
The Back Cover Promises: “Finally, a book that leaves nothing up to chance. Absolutely every word us put to good use.”
Representative Quote: “This is important, everything else is BOGUS don’t stop. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Keep going. Keep going. Keep your desire burning, keep it burning, burning, burning, burning, burning, burning. Keep the fire burning. Don’t stop. Ever. Don’t Stop. Ever.” (page 71)
At first glance, SUCK IT UP Buttercup inspires something approaching awe.
For over 400 pages it hollers and pants like some demented pep-squad, chanting that you should keep going, ignore the BOGUS, and for God’s sake SUCK IT UP. Paging through this the first time, agog at its shapelessness, its run-ons and repetition, its hectoring positivity, I could almost feel the spittle flecking off author Robert D. Cass’ lips.
Consider this burst from page 21:
“Whatever it takes is what you need to do. Whatever it takes, whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. Don’t ever, ever stop. Don’t ever stop. Never ever, ever give up your right to keep going and keep fighting and keep striving to be everything you can be. Fight for your right to be successful and don’t take no for an answer. Fight, fight, fight. Keep going, don’t stop. Don’t stop fighting. Keep going, keep going, who cares what anyone thinks?”
You see, the eighth habit of highly effective people is reading page after page of gibberish.
Exactly 100 pages later:
“Keep going. Keep your head down and forge ahead. Don’t stop. Keep going. Don’t stop. Keep going. Move forward relentlessly, endlessly, purposefully and forcefully. Keep pushing, don’t stop. Stay the course, stay focused, do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. Don’t stop. Don’t stop.”
And that, I bet, is a transcript of sex with Tom Peters.
To be fair, I’ve only quoted so far from Cass’s 162 page first chapter, “Perseverance.” Let’s peek into chapter three, which he swear-to-God calls “Perseverance Continued”:
How can one writer say so little, over so many pages, with such exuberance?
Unlike every other self-help author in existence, Cass doesn’t pretend to have a system. Instead of suggesting you visualize your goals or repeat back the names of the people introduced to you, he’s happy barking on and on. In fact, he offers but two bits of practical advice in the book. First, there’s chapter two, “Two Types of People,” which runs 31 words and suggests you avoid incompetent people. Then there’s this conclusion on page 427:
“If you have arrived at this page without reading every single word in between you are probably not as successful as you could be.”
Honestly, your Crap Archivist is stymied, here. Is this the some rare, singular vision, an impossible flower thriving in that DMZ between madness and genius? Is it a fever dream? A complex modern novel capturing the stream-of-conscience of a schizophrenic GNC customer?
Whatever Cass intended, the grandeur of his achievement dims upon closer inspection. With some dismay, I discovered that the “relentlessly, endlessly, purposefully and forcefully” paragraph from page 121 is repeated, word for word, on page 221. Then it also turns up on pages 232, 244, 256, 268, 280, 291, 303, 315, 326, 338, 350, 361, 372, 383, 395, 406, and 417.
This is discouraging.
Still, I sucked it up and worked out what I could of the Cass code. Turns out, Cass’ batshit manuscript consists of two repeating sections, with much repetition and overlap between them. The more common section runs 43 paragraphs; the infrequent one, which offers no unique material, is pared down to 32. Both sections wheel throughout the course of the book, with the longer one appearing 34 times and the shorter 11. Minor variations in spacing and indentation at the start of each section suggest inattentive cut-and-pasting.
Again, I ask: is Cass trickster, fraud or fool? Does he truly expect readers to plow through every word when he didn’t bother to himself?
And what in the hell does he mean when he promises — right there on the cover but never anyplace else — a “FREE 6 month subscription and Audio Updates”?
One bit that’s not cut-and-pasted: Cass’s acknowledgments. Between all-caps exclamations of BINGO!, GO PATS!, and GO SOX!, Cass offers shout-outs not just to friends and family but to his favorite musicians:
“Mick Jagger, for Satisfaction. Keith Richards, for proving that drugs do preserve. Charlie Watts, for not smiling. Third Eye Blind, how’s it going to be. When you don’t know me anymore!”
He crams most of these greetings into a single paragraph running eight pages. The most revealing:
A big thanks to you, too, Cass! You keep right on sucking, you hear? And stay away from my jeans!
[The Crap Archivist lives in Kansas City, where he originates his on-line Studies for the Voice‘s sister paper, The Pitch.]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 9, 2009