Something that hasn't been discussed with regard to the Kitty Kelley biography of Nancy Reagan is the effect that the book is having on the environment.
Irwin Goldberg, president of the Anti-Best-Seller Wilderness Fund, is trying to draw attention to the damage Kelley's book is doing to this nation's forests.He told me, "Thousands of acres of trees have been chopped down to make pulp for Kitty Kelley's book. If people keep buying it at the present rate, they may have to start whacking away at the rain forests of Brazil. We're looking at an ecological disaster."
"It's funny, but I don't think of trees when I think of Kitty Kelley," I said.
"That's the trouble. People are under the impression that biographies grow in bookstores. They don't realize that everything about book publishing begins and ends with trees. Our organization wants the public to understand that every time they buy a book they are helping to create a vast wasteland."
"Then you're warning everyone that the Nancy Reagan biography is an environmental hazard?"
"We don't care how many times Frank Sinatra visited the second floor of the White House," Goldberg said. "Our only concern is how many tree stumps it took to describe those visits. The fierce urge by the public to read the worst about a first lady is turning Canada into another Sahara Desert."
"What about the public's right to know?" I asked, playing the role of devil's advocate.
"If the citizens of this country realized what damage was done to produce enough paper for this book, they would waive their right to know. When it comes to deforestation of woods, as opposed to decapitation of personalities, there is only one choice to make."
I told Goldberg that Shakespeare once said, "Anybody can write a book, but only a best-seller can flatten a forest."
"We have studies to show that it is not books of poetry but biographies bursting with undocumented quotes that are lousing up the planet Earth."
"I have one question to ask you."
"Shoot," Goldberg said.
"If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, can it still be used for a Kitty Kelley book?"