AS I SEE IT 5/16/2001
Mick Foley has done it again...
Foley is Good came out this past week, making this his third book including the #1 New York Times bestseller Have a Nice Day!: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, and the children's book Christmas Chaos.
The book picks up where Have a Nice Day left off, just as Foley got the WWF title put on him for the first time, including his family's reactions. It brings up his own reaction to the infamous Tony Schiavone's "that'll put asses in the seats" remark on Monday Nitro on the night the pre-taped RAW aired, and his conversation with Schiavone afterwards.
The book goes over the controversial Royal Rumble match where he received 11 chair shots to the head as his family watched... seen by a PPV audience and filmed by filmmaker Barry Blaustein for the Beyond The Mat movie. Foley takes readers through his feelings as he approaches this match, stage by stage...and shows how uncomfortable he was in making his family watch what turned out to be one of the most brutal matches in WWF history.
Foley discusses his feelings as he begins to wind up his full-time career, and what physical effects his career has had on him and (more importantly to him) is having on his family. Throughout the book, you can sense a man who cares deeply about his wife and his children; who tries to bring them along with him on the road whenever possible, but who always makes sure he remains an active part of their lives, even while on the road for days at a time.
Readers hear about the fun-loving side of Mick Foley and other WWF performers like the seemingly always-suffering Al Snow, the Hardys, Adam (Edge) Copeland, Jay (Christian) Reso, and Scott Taylor as they do group invasions of amusement parks; as they rib each other (check out the hilarious "Britney Spears phone call" and Shane Douglas's imitation of Pat Patterson via telephone to Foley) and generally act like kids in grown-up bodies.
More seriously, Foley does a chapter on drug use within wrestling. While consciously not doing a "tell-all" type chapter, he does let the average reader get a sense of the drug use within wrestling; focusing particularly on prescription painkiller abuse, discussing the cases of Brian Pillman, Rick Rude and Louie Spicolli. Foley also explains from a personal perspective how easy it is to fall into such use, given the physical and emotional demands of nightly matches and of a full-time touring schedule.
Foley is Good also takes time to remember two others within the business who were clearly important to Foley, Brian Hildebrand and Owen Hart. He lets you see the real life people behind these wrestling personalities, and why they meant so much to him and to so many others. The section where he had to call his family from the Kemper Arena, and tell them of Owen Hart's death, will bring you to tears.
Foley also gives an interesting look at the publishing business and the story of Have a Nice Day!: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, from the initial attempts to have the book ghostwritten, to Foley taking the project over; all the way to the peculiarities of book tours, book reviewers, and prejudice against his book by some well-known talk show hosts famous for promoting books, merely because it was a "wrestling book".
Foley also discusses the infamous 20/20 interview where segments of his statements were intentionally taken out of context and "cut and pasted" to make it appear that he was endorsing backyard wrestling, when in fact he is very critical of it.
The two above subjects are a large part of the reason he has given this book the sub-title "And the real world is faker than wrestling".
The book also has an entire 50 page chapter devoted to the PTC and its campaign of corporate terrorism. While coming straight from his heart, this section is very well researched, and fact-based. Rather than just deliver a rant, Foley supports each argument with research and footnotes worthy of a college theses.
In this section, he first brings up some of the reasons L. Brent Bozell may be the extremist that he is, including having a father who was a speechwriter for Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Foley brings up the relationship between Bozell's father and Joseph McCarthy to illustrate how L. Brent Bozell borrowed his tactics directly from McCarthy and his father. The book also brings up the extremist political record of Bozell's father in later life, including his 1970 arrest and conviction for "smashing his way into a family planning clinic of George Washington University with a large wooden cross"; and Bozell's mother, who attempted to rush a stage to assault feminist author Ti-Grace Atkinson during a speech at Catholic University.
It shows parallels between McCarthy's tactics and Bozell's current tactics, citing the 1950 example where Joseph McCarthy made advertiser Adam Hat Company drop longtime radio/newspaper commentator Drew Pearson, or be threatened with a "national boycott", in language not far away from any one of a hundred Bozellian tirades; and a 1954 example when McCarthy forced Time Magazine to drop a critical series of Joseph McCarthy after contacting advertisers of Time, and telling them not to advertise "with a pro-Communist magazine". Time promptly dropped the story.
Foley is Good also brings up the parallels between McCarthy's use of "The Big Lie" and the PTC's tactics, that being "telling a lie often enough and loud enough to make it fact".
Foley is visceral in his comments about the "Wrestling with Death" campaigns of the PTC. You can sense real anger in Foley's references to the PTC's use of dead children to raise money, score ideological points, and have a very real effect upon the fortunes of WWFE, Inc. and the viewing habits of wrestling fans.
Foley outlines his telephone attempts to get the perspective of the PTC on 12 different occasions, and was actually hung up on twice by a PTC employee who was also clearly a wrestling fan. The employee clearly knew who Foley was, but hung up after apparently being told he couldn't speak with Foley.
The section also contains comments by PTC Advisory Board members Senator Sam Brownback and Joseph Lieberman, which revealingly show their ignorance of any actual WWF programming, while representing the organization and its campaign against this programming.
This book is like Foley's first, about one man's journey within the professional wrestling industry, rather than a "wrestling book". If you'd like to recommend it to friends who don't care about wrestling; you can do so, given how easily it takes a layperson through those areas of wrestling not understood by non-fans.
For readers who would like to order Foley is Good it can be ordered from a variety of sources:
* Directly at WWF Shop Zone for $26.95 from this URL.
* Amazon.com is selling the book for $21.56 at this URL.
* Borders is selling the book for $26.95 at this URL.
* Barnes And Noble is also selling the book for $21.56 at this URL.
* Canadian bookseller Chapters.ca is selling the book for $27.65 (Canadian) at this URL.
* UK and European readers can purchase the book through Amazon.co.UK for £13.10 at at this URL.
It's also available at many local US bookstores and discount stores, including Target.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)