Publishing house of ill repute

File this under: it couldn’t happen in America. It is one of the stranger publishing stories I’ve seen in a while. The trophy wife of former Czech Prime Minister Jiří Paroubek, Petra Paroubková, is publishing a Czech translation of a guide for brothel owners by someone who apparently knows what he’s talking about.

The author is Austrian brothel owner Alexander Gerhardinger, who the Czech News Agency report says is a “celebrity among brothel owners” (actually they say he is “a celebrity among brother owners” but that actually sounds illegal, so I’ll assume it was a typo).

Last year Paroubková bought a majority share in Columbus publishers (Columbus apparently being a very inspiring figure for a landlocked Czech Republic). She justified publishing the unconventional how-to guidebook by saying that publishers who put out thrillers aren’t usually murderers. Without the figures in front of me I can’t confirm whether that’s true or not.

Her husband defended the choice of books by saying his wife’s company publishes Russian writers and crime books and that such a juicy topic will be an obvious moneymaker. And sure enough, right next to Brothels as a Business on the publisher’s website are Czech translations of Ilf and Petrov’s The Golden Calf and The Twelve Chairs. Somewhere Ostap Bender is smiling.

On May 24, they are having a book release party at . . . (do I even have to write it?) . . yes, a brothel, and considering her husband is trying to reignite his political career, combined with the fact that members of the media will be there (not including me), it might be the first time in the oldest profession’s history that prostitutes will be strictly forbidden from plying their trade. Then again, maybe there will be a hush hush, wink wink deal between the politicos and the media. It would hardly be the first time.

I wouldn’t want to question Paroubek’s stellar political instincts, especially since he formed a new political party with the unbeatable name of National Socialists – 21st Century Left (sounds like a fascist movie studio).

Photo – A Sketch from Nature by Thomas Rowlandson, a painter who seems to have gotten a little too close to subjects such as this.

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