A Tale of a Loser

William Grimes reviews a new book by a total and utter loser in yesterday’s NY Times. He’s such a loser that it has become his calling card, ‘he savors his humiliations like fine dinners.’ The man is Toby Young, whose first book was called “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.” Boy he sure did.

He tries to board an airplane using a Blockbuster video card after losing his passport, then hosts a stag party for himself where none of his friends bother to attend, and remains ‘entirely unashamed about his pursuit and worship of the famous and rich.” He writes a column for The Spectator called “No Life,” and the editors kill it. He meets Harvey Weinstein at a party and tries to deliver a pitch while drunk and gets thrown out on the sidewalk. Later he goes camping by himself in the mountains of Wales and gets lost in a snowstorm: only his ringing cellphone brings him back to his tent, where it is his wife asking how things are going.

Later he gets married and has kids, and his boorishness and stupidity aren’t as funny any more. While as a man he matures, his kids just don’t provide the same sparks as his foibles as a single man. Even posing naked to promote the book can’t make him interesting or funny any more.