Abstract for 2008 Honors Colloquium

Dan Piepenbring


"Jumping the Shark: a novel"

When NBC cancels his long-running TV drama, Marco Escoffery's life jumps the shark. The actor's wife serves him divorce papers with breakfast; his savings account obsolesces; he flees to New York (well, Jersey City) to find the grass no greener.  Dithering tabloid journalist Conrad Leach helms the papaROTC, a clandestine media generator terrorizing celebrities for quick headlines. In Escoffery's suffering, Leach smells megabucks.  Thus unfolds a surreal, madcap plot in which the line between fact and fiction is yesterday's news.  Two parts satire and one part philosophical treatise, Jumping the Shark chronicles America's infatuation with fame, technology and identity.