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Searching for Michael Jackson’s Nose, and Other Preoccupations of Our Celebrity-mad Culture

by Scott Feschuk

Scott Feschuk can best be described as a Canadian enthusiast of American television. He has been amusing readers of the National Post with his wry column devoted to pop culture musings. Searching for Michael Jackson’s Nose is a stitched-together and fleshed-out compendium of Feschuk’s amiable, if largely unmemorable columns devoted to such matters as Star Trek conventions, what Madonna wears in her videos, and what it’s like to be a Canadian invited to a big Hollywood party.

The problem with recycling used journalism is that no matter how much it’s been updated or edited, it’s usually stale by the time it gets into a reader’s hands. Is anyone really interested in reading about Survivor, Temptation Island, or The Bachelor at this late stage of the game? Worse, the writing is often self-indulgent and reliant on catch phrases. Feschuk is no Leacock, and he’s no Marshall McLuhan either. This is less a collection of intelligent, witty commentary about the medium than a portfolio of awkward comedy pieces.

There is some excellent material in this book, especially the columns that celebrate an annual event (known as “evergreens” in the biz). The best of these include his “Simple Ways To Make the Oscars Less Tedious” and “How To Write an Oscar Speech.” Other hilarious but somewhat dated pieces include his questionnaire on how to become a bachelorette and “The Barbara Walters Interview,” which imagines Barbara Walters interviewing herself.

Writing about television is always a challenge, given the medium’s lack of intellectual content. But readers who like talking about American television or are simply long-time fans of Feschuk’s self-effacing commentaries will probably enjoy this book.