“Perhaps it’s best to simply regard Gerry’s book as the political equivalent of an ageing hardman action star taking a role in The Expendables…”

The Guardian’s Marina Hyde on the “exciting publishing news”, the terms may be used advisedly, of the forth-coming publication of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ Little Book of Calm Little Book of Tweets.  From the Guardian article

Enormous congratulations to Gerry Adams, who is formally elevated to irony’s army council. The Sinn Féin president is the subject of exciting publishing news, with the forthcoming release of a collected volume of tweets and selfies. According to the party bookshop’s blurb, “this little book shows the lighter side of his personality”.

I think that’s probably best, considering the alternative. Still: it’s potentially an explosive Volume II.

And, after noting that “in truth this is still a sparsely populated genre”…

Publishers may correct me, but to my knowledge this is only the second formally released such compilation, coming after last year’s Selfish, which was – naturally – a self-curated collection of Kim Kardashian’s selfies.

…Marina Hyde ends on a nostalgic note.

Even so, it is tinged with WTF-ery, particularly as Gerry’s most significant recent mention in dispatches came throughout those transcripts of calls between Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. “We’ve all taken our licks for Gerry,” Clinton remarks testily at one point. “I don’t know what the real deal is between him and the IRA,” the president says in exasperation at another dicey point during the peace process.

“It’s hard to put pressure on him when you don’t know what’s going on. It’s just bizarre.”

It feels quite a jump from that to My Little Book of Tweets – but then, it is a marked feature of this age that so many end up self-ironising in the end. Perhaps it’s best to simply regard Gerry’s book as the political equivalent of an ageing hardman action star taking a role in The Expendables, the movie franchise where Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger and so on have graduated into gently sending up the 80s versions of themselves.

As the publisher’s notes remark cheerily of the Sinn Féin president: “Many years’ experience of politics have taught him not to take himself too seriously.” Although, of course, Sly and Arnie and Gerry all took themselves very seriously indeed back in the day. As Arnie said only this week: “[Sly] and I were at war in the 80s. We hated each other and the reason was we both have a big ego. It was a battle of who makes more money at the box office, who has more muscles, who killed more people … we are now great friends and realise we really used each other as motivation.”

Well, quite. The sadness is that Gerry’s arch rival died without having been bitten by the Twitter bug. Though we might [speculate that] Ian Paisley’s tweets would have tended toward the one-note – one-word, mostly – it would have been nice to have had the companion volume to this doubtless charming forthcoming release.


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