Well-known New York book publisher Jonathan Karp, head of Simon & Schuster, sent out this mass e-mail this morning. It seems to be an ingenious and subtle way of hyping Simon & Schuster’s forthcoming anonymous novel, “O.” But it also got me thinking.

From: "Karp, Jonathan" Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 08:34:09 -0500 To: "Karp, Jonathan" Conversation: O Subject: O On January 25, we'll be publishing a secret novel simply titled O, about President Obama's campaign for re-election in 2012. The author of the novel wishes to remain anonymous. You may be asked to comment on whether or not you are the author. If so, it would be great if you refrained from commenting, in solidarity with the principle that a book should be judged on its content and not on the perceived ideology of its author. The author, an individual with integrity and talent, is someone who has been in the room with Barack Obama and knows the political world intimately. In fact, you may know this person, or know of this person -- if you are not in fact the author yourself. Thanks in advance for your consideration. I apologize for the impersonality of this blind group email, but this seems like the best way to protect the author's identity. I hope you enjoy the book. It's terrific. For a sneak preview of O and a special video address from the President of the United States, go to www.othebook.com Best regards, Jonathan Karp Publisher, Simon & Schuster


Even though I’ve been in "the [White House press briefing] room" with Obama, I’m going to be frank and say to say I didn’t write the book (I hope this doesn't scuttle my book deal with Simon & Schuster on life inside THE WEEKLY STANDARD). But I started reflecting on who that I know has been in the room with Obama? Who is an “individual with integrity and talent?” Who “knows the political world intimately?” I realized I know such a person. And I’ve even heard him—in unguarded moments—refer to Barack Obama as “O.”

He’s my boss—Bill Kristol. So I asked him if he wrote the book.

There was a split-second reaction of shock, and then a moment of hesitation. Then he regained his composure, and answered: “No comment.”

I wonder...