The Breakfast Table

Brooks and Horwitz

Dear righteous wife:

Glad to see you can still get enraged by American hubris after all these years. I was struck by something else. Have I been spending too much time in the Bible Belt, or was this the raunchiest Academy Awards ever? I caught a half-dozen Monica jokes, several Shakespeare double entendres (“little Will is very large” and Gwyneth Paltrow “actually did Shakespeare”), a geyser of cum (viz. George Michael, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams), and even a beaver joke. How do you reckon that played in Peoria, much less Tehran or Riyadh? And who was the clown who accepted his award by saying “Love is groovy. Be positive”?

Anyway, guess we shouldn’t lower the tone of this august forum. Aren’t we supposed to chat about serious news? Since we’ve both spent a lot of time in “the former Yugoslavia,” let’s start there. Should the world let Holbrooke work out some stopgap deal that the Serbs will no doubt break as soon as he’s gone, or start bouncing rubble right away? I’m inclined toward the latter but doubt it will accomplish anything. A Serb sniper in Sarajevo once told me that he was shooting at Bosnian civilians to avenge the Serbs’ defeat by the Muslims at Kosovo–as in the battle of Kosovo, in 1389. Do we really think that people who pick at the scab of their history for that long are going to get sorted out by a few bomb runs? Speaking of historical memory, or lack thereof, that was my favorite of Whoopi’s jokes, when she described World War II as “the sequel to World War I.”