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Picks and Pans Review: Private Parts

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by Howard Stern

A funny thing happened to Howard Stern on the way to cranking out a typically wretched ghostwritten celebrity autobiography: He worked hard with his collaborator, the peerless Larry “Ratso” Sloman, and has produced a reasonably funny book.

Unlike other smart people masquerading as morons who have taken pen to paper in the recent pas I—Rush Limbaugh, Morton Downey Jr., Charles Barkley, Frank Zappa—Howard Stern has not written Private Parts as a plea for compassion and understanding—as an attempt to prove that there’s more to Howard Stern than meets the eye. Instead, he has written a book that is even meaner, more tasteless and more demented than his incredibly offensive radio and TV shows, and a book that reveals him to be a human being with serious personal problems. Sort of a tall, ugly, still-breathing Sam Kinison or an Andrew Dice Clay with a brain. Anyway, not Jay Leno.

Stern’s twin obsessions are lesbianism and bullocks—there is, of course, some overlap here—so the book is filled with tales about rectal thermometers, lesbians, youthful adventures in his mom’s undergarments, lesbians, spanking, lesbians, flatulence, lesbians and a controversial percussive diversion known as Butt Bongo. This material will be familiar—and reassuring—to his listeners, many of whom are not, in fact, reasonably intelligent people masquerading as morons, but are, in fact, real-life morons.

Material that will have somewhat wider appeal are the author’s hilarious tirades against such acknowledged threats to world peace as Sinéad O’Connor and Michael Landon, all of whom deserve Howard Stern—and a lot worse. The poet laureate of urban American white trash, Stern has written a book that reads like a direct transcript of his radio show: 85 percent racist, sexist, homophobic ranting, mixed in with some really good jokes about Rodney King’s dubious driving record and the big girl in Wilson Phillips that no one else in the media wants to describe as “chunky.”

There’s also a lot of stuff about lesbians in the book. (Simon & Schuster, $23)