Book Article

Fast Food for Thought

Ivana and Kathie Lee Give Good ... Advice

Looking for the really deep dope on life, love, and children? Baffled by the complexities of existence? The man-woman conundrum have you confused? Set down the Simone de Beauvoir. Dump Deborah Tannen. Give Bruno Bettelheim the boot. Then pick up the latest books by those two philosopher queens, Ivana Trump and Kathie Lee Gifford.

Trump's The Best Is Yet to Come purports to be a guide to dealing with divorce and enjoying life, but that belies its substance. Echoing her obvious predecessor, Kierkegaard, Trump speaks of a split-up as '' ... an illness of the soul ... just like a physical disease ... The battle is between you and your cancer, or whatever.'' On the subject of loss: ''So maybe it was all for the best. All the heartache and the pain. Maybe the way to think of it is as a rebirth. Nobody said giving birth is easy, but there's no other way to get the job done.'' Trump also gives out an 800 number to call to find the perfect plastic surgeon. Let's face it, this is the sort of thing Hannah Arendt was always closemouthed about.

Then there's Kathie Lee. Her Listen to My Heart is ostensibly about child rearing, but Gifford is constantly slipping in snippets of her homespun philosophy, too: ''I was so grateful for the sense of humor I have and the sense of humor my little boy has ... and thankfully, the sense of humor God has.'' What theologian ever put it so succinctly? Then there's her take on living: ''For every sweet thing in life, there's somebody who wants to come along and spoil it.'' Well, yes.

Are you a spiritual searcher? Looking to have the major questions answered? The cynics will tell you such wisdom can't be found in books. I say, hah! Here are two wordsmiths who have proved them wrong.

Originally posted May 12, 1995 Published in issue #274 May 12, 1995 Order article reprints
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