Peter Golenbock, author of 7, the controversial Mickey Mantle book due this week which along with O.J.‘s If I Did It got Judith Regan canned, says he was surprised by the firestorm the book created and thinks that the decision not to publish both his and O.J.’s book was “un-American.”
Golenbock who says Mantle was “funnier than Chris Rock,” tells the “Mr. Media” podcast he doesn’t understand all the fuss. Some excerpts:
ANDELMAN: Did you ever anticipate the negative storm that has come up around this book?
GOLENBOCK: Well, I didn’t anticipate that Judith Regan would get fired. I knew when I wrote it that some people would really love it, some people would like it, and there would be a small majority and probably a vocal majority who would resent it, “Oh, how can you say such things about Mickey, my idol, Mickey?” So I knew it wasn’t going to come into the world quietly. On the other hand, I had no idea that the Daily News was going to spend three days telling people that my book should be thrown in the garbage can and spending three days trying to get Judith Regan fired. That was a surprise.
ANDELMAN: How did the book wind up with Judith in the first place? Had you published other books with her?
GOLENBOCK: No, but based on the content, I figured that this would be the first place to go. Judith had a strong history of writing books with sexual content, very, very successful books. I mean, sex is a very funny thing. It’s a very large part of our society. We have Playboy and Maxim and God knows what else, and if you look on TV, there is sex here, there, and everywhere, and yet, you know, for a certain part of society, it drives them crazy. They try to pretend that it doesnâ€™t exist and that nobody does it. And so you write about sex, and they act like you are committing some kind of crime.
ANDELMAN: How did you feel about being lumped into this category with O. J. Simpson and his book?
GOLENBOCK: Well, see, I have a funny philosophy, which is that under the First Amendment, a writer has a right to write anything. If O. J. wants to write his whatever that thing was, he’s got a right to do it, and I as a book buyer have a right to decide whether I want to buy it or whether not, and I think canceling these books is a disgrace. It’s a political solution. But once they decided to pay O. J. the money and have him do this book, I think they have some sort of obligation to publish the thing. You know, let the public decide. They’ll either go tromping off to the bookstore and buy the thing, or they won’t. I mean, it’s a very un-American thing not to publish a book. It goes against the Bill of Rights. It upsets me tremendously. Then, of course, when they did it to me, I was equally upset, though I had more than a sneaking suspicion that somebody else would pick it up, but just the notion that it might not get published because somebody has it out for somebody else is a very un-American thing.