The Curmudgeon has never been a big fan of autobiographies. For the most part he’s not real keen on biographies, either, mostly because The Curmudgeon in him doesn’t think many people are worth reading about.
In general, autobiographies have struck him as being about two things: bragging about what you’ve done during your life and settling scores with those you think have done you wrong. The last autobiography he read, though – well, started to read, only to throw up his hands in disgust and swear off the genre forever – was actually quite different. That one was written by a man named Clark Clifford, who was an important advisor to Democratic presidents from Truman through Carter. In his book, Clifford did the exact opposite of the usual autobiography, showing such extreme modesty, at least up to the point where The Curmudgeon stopped reading, that even though you knew this guy was at the center of some of the biggest political decisions of the twentieth century you learned absolutely nothing from reading his accounts of them. At the point at which he stopped reading The Curmudgeon couldn’t understand why Clifford even bothered writing a book if he had no intention of saying anything enlightening.
This came to mind recently when The Curmudgeon signed into his online account with the Free Library of Philadelphia in search of e-books to read on his Kindle, looked through the most recently published non-fiction available, and noticed an absolute epidemic of autobiographies.
Now despite his own dislike of the form, The Curmudgeon understands why some people like autobiographies and also understands why some people would be interested in reading about some of the people who’ve written such books recently. He understands why people would be interested in the new autobiography of Bruce Springsteen, or the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson (but less so that of Wilson’s cousin, Mike Love, who also recently published an autobiography). And he certainly sees the value of reading about the life of the notorious RBG, Supreme Court super-justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose career has been even more world-shaping than the aforementioned Clark Clifford.
And he’s wiling to give fans of Arnold Palmer and Carol Burnett their due, too, although the only way he’d read their autobiographies was if he had dysentery and those books were the only ones available to help… pass the time.
But autobiographies of athletes Carli Lloyd and Lenny Dykstra?
Abby Wambach? (Do you even know who that is?)
Television reporter Elizabeth Vargas?
Singer Bobby Brown?
And while he’s certainly a fine actor, does anyone – ANYONE – really need to know the life story of Bryan Cranston?
BRYAN CRANSTON, for crying out loud?