The Publisher Santa Forgot

By Art Buchwald
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Nobody likes to be fired at Christmas. The recent example is Rupert Murdoch's pink-slipping of Judith Regan, who tried to publish "If I Did It," a book by O.J. Simpson hypothetically telling how he would have killed his ex-wife.

Regan, who worked for HarperCollins (a Murdoch company), was a very fine publisher and one of Murdoch's stars. She thought she had a real blockbuster with the Simpson project.

Simpson, who was acquitted of the 1994 killing of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend but told by a civil court to pay $33.5 million to their families, had been forgotten. The fact that he still owes the victims' families all that money had an effect on whether the book had sales value.

There are several reasons why Murdoch got mad. One is that he didn't like Judith Regan personally, particularly since most of the books she had published in the past were full of sleaze. There was even talk that she had an affair with Bernard Kerik, the disgraced New York City police commissioner and an author for ReganBooks.

But this doesn't mean she should have been fired at Christmas.

Regan was in the celebrity business. And you live or die by going too far.

Regan was quoted as saying, "I wanted to sit face-to-face with the killer because I wanted him, and the men who broke my heart and your hearts, to tell the truth, to confess their sins, to do penance and to amend their lives."

The question now is what do you do at Christmas with people like Regan, who is a bad Santa, and O.J., who was counting on the royalties to make his Christmas brighter?

Strangely enough, it's the National Basketball Association that has come up with a solution. Carmelo Anthony, forward for the Denver Nuggets, got into a big fight on center court and cleared the benches in a brawl in Madison Square Garden. Anthony sucker-punched the Knicks' Mardy Collins, and 10 players were ejected before it was all over. The NBA suspended Anthony for 15 games.

So here's what I want to happen this Christmas season: Judith Regan still sits on the bench. She doesn't get to play, but she has a very good seat for basketball games.

She could even scalp her tickets.

As for O.J., nobody knows what to do about O.J.

Originally I was going to say something nice about Christmas, but the spirit wasn't with me.

It doesn't matter really, because people aren't going to worry about Christmas. They have too many other things to do, like using their credit cards.

Where do I fit in? This Christmas I have a warm spot in my heart for everyone -- the good and the bad, the nice and the naughty.

2006Tribune Media Services

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