12.04.2005

Book titles

How about "Presidential Vices"?
Or, alternately, "How to Kill the President in Six Easy Steps"


It is illegal in this country to threaten to kill the President, to make statements about killing the president or to suggest it's a good idea. The Secret Service takes this REALLY seriously.
The first amendment protecting free speech does NOT apply to this.

Yes, you meant it as a joke. The Secret Service has no sense of humor. None.
How do I know this?
I know

24 comments:

Sponge Girl said...

You're scaring me, Snarky.

So does that mean that head-of-state-icide is completely out even as a subject for a book, or just as overt references in the title? Or is an assassination plan okay so long as the book ends in the President saving a village full of Bangladeshi orphans while Saddam Hussein reveals he was Osama all along?

I know Miss Snark is not a legal expert, but the "I know" got me wondering, and shaking in my delicate little God-fearin', gun-totin', honest-to-God-I-swear-I-vote-Republican booties.

Peter L. Winkler said...

Go tell it to Nicholson Baker, or didn't you hear about...

Nicholson Baker. Checkpoint: A Novel (Knopf, 2004)

From Booklist’s summary (via Amazon): “Now Jay has asked Ben, a writer currently working on a book about the cold war, to bring a tape recorder to a Washington, D.C., hotel room because Jay wants to talk about his decision to assassinate the president.”


Last I heard, Baker was not imprisoned in Gitmo. Having a character in an novel threaten to assassinate the President doesn't fall within the legal prohibition, where it is clear to any reasonable person that the charcter and the book are both fictional.

Miss Snark said...

You'll also notice the title of the book is not "How to Assassinate the President".

I also would not be surprised to hear that N. Baker was the recipient of what is known as a "knock and talk" by the Secret Service.

kitty said...

Back in 1984, some sicko wrote a threatening letter to President Reagan but never mailed it. Instead, he left it in a book when he returned it to the public library in Oneonta, NY. The librarian found it and contacted the authorities. All sorts of Feds rushed in and took the idiot away. I think they held him for 6 months.

Yes, even the hint of harm is taken quite seriously.

Maya said...

Miss Snark is telling the God's own truth. I spent four years working in the Emergency Room at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. At least once every six months, the Secret Service showed up with a suspect in tow. In each case, the suspect had been overheard making what sounded like a threat or had sent a letter with what seemed to contain a threat toward the President.

The Secret Service agents always traveled in a pack, and they had zero, zilch, nada sense of humor about anything. Each time, our psychiatrists were asked to do a mental status exam on the suspect and give an educated opinion on whether s/he posed any sort of threat to anyone.

It's my understanding that nowadays, telephone and computer transmissions are routinely monitored by word-recognition programs for combinations of words which might constitute threats to the life of the president. These guys are dead serious.

the chocolatier said...

I hope the SS doesn't have a branch on this side of the ocean ...

Christine said...

Yeah, but that title could mean 'How to kill the President... of Ford Motor Company. Or Fox Broadcasting or [insert favorite evil company here]

LJCohen said...

Miss Snark--I think you're missing a 'NOT' in your first sentence. . . . Unless *you* want a surprise visit from the men in black.

ljc

Miss Snark said...

I am?
What am I missing?
I'm not saying you're wrong..yet.
It's 9am, Im on one cup of coffee, I have to spell check my own name at this hour.

Ig said...

Umm...I meant, "How to Cuddle the President in Six Easy Steps"

Bernita said...

Don't believe this restriction is a new thing.

quanty p biederman said...

I knew the owner of a small shop who lost all his parking for an entire week prior to Regan's visit to town. Irate over the loss of business, he made an offhand comment to a customer about how he wished someone would shoot Regan and get it over with. The SS "detained" him until Regan's visit was over. They weren't kidding.

I knew a photojournalist that said you can "shoot" the mayor, the chief of police, or your own mom, but you may only "take pictures" of the President.

someone paranoid said...

Don't Quotations solve all these problems you all are having? such as
"Police Action" or "Not Contagious" or "Hecho en Mexico"
-c

Existential Man said...

maya, curioulsy and a bit ironic, that the hospital you worked in and where the Secret Service brought those who made threats is the same infamous one in which President John Kennedy died after the Lee Harvey Oswald School Book Depository assassination.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Did anyone ever stop to think that one of those internet "word recognition" programs has probably already scanned this post and thread for the repeated use of *said* phrase.

I'm not going to say it....no way do I want to wonder for the next six months if their monitoring my words.

bordermoon said...

It's odd, but people who are dead-set on assassinating POTUS usually hate everything he stands for (or wants media attention to get a girl), and apparently doesn't realize that the Vice President will ALSO be of the same party as the President.

More people who wish to change the government by violence should remember one of my favorite quotes of all time:

Charles II, to his brother James, Duke of York, upon being told to take more precautions with his life: "Jamie, Jamie, no one will kill me to put YOU on the throne!"

Remember, things may not get better, but they can ALWAYS get worse. I think that's the third-and-a-half law of thermodynamics....

M. G. Tarquini said...

This post has me so frightened, that I won't even post a comment, except for this comment saying how frightened it makes me.

p.s. I only write about puppies and lollipops and I think guns are bad and Hey! How about them Dodgers?

Anonymous said...

Thank God I live in England, and can say 'I wish someone would shoot the President' all I want without worrying about jar-heads coming to arrest me. Ah, sweet civil liberties.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I wouldn't be so sure about that anonymous.

Have you ever heard of the CIA?

Their job is everything, other than domestic!...which I think sorta' includes the UK! LOL

And our Big Guy is pretty tight with your Big Guy!

Bernita said...

Jar heads are marines, not secret service agents.

the chocolatier said...

I think its all down to statements of desire vs. statements of intent. I wish GWB would get impeached, and failing that knocked into a coma for the next 3 years, but would I be the person to hit him in the head with an encyclopaedia? Heck no. Would I pay someone to do it? Hell no ... well, I might donate a quid or two, gotta give to charity after all.

Maya said...

Existential: Yeah, Parkland was where JFK died and Dallas has been trying to live it down ever since. It was a very touchy subject down here because, on the morning of the assassination, a group of right-wing activists took out a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News with a ominous black border saying, "Welcome to Dallas, Mr. President."

The ER at Parkland was physically torn down to remove any remnants of the room in which JFK died.

Maya said...

By the way, Podzinger--one of the new search engines for podcasts--is based on speech-recognition software created for the U.S. intelligence agencies. The research and development firm that created the software is BBN in Massachusetts. The software scours broadcasts such as the feeds from Al Jazeera, looking for topics and even speakers (such as Osama bin Laden) that might be of interest to the agencies.

The new podcasting search engines are amazing.

Anonymous said...

Bonnie: if operatives of the CIA honestly have nothing better to do with their time than cross the Atlantic, scour the United Kingdom, and interrogate small, blonde, bespectacled children's writers who say 'Kill the President!' then I wish them luck with it. I'll bake them a cake.