Headshots: The NSA Promotes Book Sales



Turns out the land of the free and home of the brave is actually the land of the free (but we’re watching you just in case) and home of the brave (brave enough to talk shit on your Verizon plan while Obama listens in). Turns out when he isn’t bombing Syria in an effort to start WWIII, good ole Obama has been spying on, well, us.

This totally explains that time the interns an I turned on the auto-responder to say we were “going up to NYC to get bombed” and ended up getting pulled off of Amtrak and getting cavity-searched by a team of uniformed lesbians, and not in a fun way.

Most media outlets are discussing the invasion of privacy and civil liberties issues as they relate to the latest evil turn by Obama. But, as you know dear Headshotters, we do things a little differently here in the Headshots offices. We find the untold story, the underreported tale. And in this case, it’s domestic spying’s affect on literature.

What? Literature? Not even movies?

Hold on, this is where it gets interesting. Amazon sales of the seminal George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four went up 7,000 percent after news of Obama’s NSA abuse made headlines. The Orwell novel, to the uninitiated, is a dystopian consideration of the intrusion of government, and the origin of the phrase “Big Brother”, which of course was made into an international reality show hit (with now residuals paid to the Orwell estate, oddly).

In that vein, here’s a few other books whose sales should increase as the government continues to get into our biznizz.

1. The Bible


When the going gets tough, the tough get religy. Religiousy. Goddy. Gaudy?

Our literary sales research interns did a wide reaching study of book sales during eras of government distrust (Watergate, the Bush administration, the late ‘80s popularity of Jim Belushi) and discovered that in each of these instances the sales of the Bible went up 6660.666 percent.

Weird, right?

They ran the numbers twice, just to be sure. And we demand that our interns be at least math minors in a reputable post-secondary institution (we also ask that they be double jointed and not have any allergies to ointments or leather, but that’s for another column) so the numbers are accurate, and don’t even include Bibles stolen from hotels and Flying J truck stop washrooms.

2. Filth by Irvine Welsh


The Trainspotting author’s most challenging work, Filth, is the story of a corrupt egotistical cop who commits some of the most atrocious and reprehensible acts by a novel’s main character in recent memory. Welsh’s novel serves as an analogy for institutions run amok with power, and the failings of governments to police themselves. Also, there’s a talking tape worm, which in this thesis represents the parasitic dependency we all have on the state to protect us, and the irony of our anger when we find that they’re doing all they can to protect us. Also, the novel deals with drug abuse, sex, sodomy, pornography, prostitution and alcohol abuse, and in times when we fear even our own government, aren’t these the things we turn to?

Or, you know, if it’s Tuesday. Sales will rise 4,000 percent by the time Obama invades Syria.

3. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand


The libertarians and anarcho-capitalists love it when the state gets caught with its fingers down the panties of the people. It gives them a chance to champion their Bible, Russian-American crazy Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I’ve never read the book myself, because I have too much respect for trees and my sanity, but from what I can assume it’s about a university student who only took first year poly-sci and fell in love with libertarianism and then decided to hate the state and everything it provides and stop paying taxes and moves to an island where everyone is righteous and lacks humility. Even if that’s not what it’s about, sales of Atlas Shrugged will no doubt increase several thousand percent, and nine months from now many unfortunate children will be named Rand. Or Ayn. Or Galt.

Please don’t read this book.

4. Poetry


If the government is spying on us, and we need to become reclusive and introverted, then where better to turn than to poetry, the art of reclusive introversion!

If we’re to be afraid of your own government, then does it not make sense to recede into ourselves.

And through that logic, wouldn’t it make sense that poetry experiences a commercial renaissance?

I know what you’re thinking, poetry sucks. But what you’re thinking of is slam poetry or experimental poetry, and not actual literary perfection and moving opuses of ambitious and engaging world play. I’m thinking stuff like Actual Air by David Berman, The Dream Songs by John Berryman, Li’L Bastard by David McGimpsey, Not Me by Eileen Myles, What Narcissism Means to Me by Tony Hoagland, Politics by Kathy Acker, or Lucifer at Starlite by Kim Addonizio.

Imma telling you, if poems were stocks you’d be betting your retirement on sestinas.

Or, you know, the karate shop of love:

5. Cash by Johnny Cash


If the government is reading our emails, checking our messages, and listening in on our phone calls, the natural reaction of the populace will be one of not just self-preservation and self-protection, but a giant fuck you to the man.

And who better encapsulates the notion of fuck you then the man in black, the original outlaw, Johnny Cash? If you’re looking for a way to react against the powers that be and their intrusiveness, then why not read the tale of them man who told God, country music, and the establishment to kiss his ass, in his own words. We predict that once Nineteen Eighty-Four sells out, Cash will be the next big book of the Big Brother book boom.

The President is checking your Facebook account while World War III seems on the horizon as Russia backs Syria against the trigger- and drone-happy USA.

Looks like we’re all going to be in our bunkers for a few years.

Let’s at least bring some good reads with us. The TV reception is going to suck.