The Breakfast Table


Dear David,

One of our readers is pleading with us to be less cartoonishly polemical. What do you think?

I think most of America is disgusted with both Clinton and Starr. Your insistence that we must choose sides is pretty far out of the mainstream. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m all for the radice. But I do reserve my right to be revolted by both sides in this particular stand-off. Clinton’s “style”, as you called it–his rule by polling, and now floating the idea of of saying he had a kind of sex that doesn’t strictly conform the legal definition, is beyond weak. I’d prefer not to know what he and Monica did. Starr’s a nut.

Maybe I’m just awfully glad it’s Friday–and that I’ll be far from the fray on Monday when the hysteric moment comes.

The idea of a Third Way–as promoted by E.J. Dionne in a column last week in the Washington Post–strikes me as rather vague and goofy. I think E.J. is absolutely charming. But these chin-rubbing philosophies that emanate from Brookings leave me cold. Too many loopholes. And I’m not sure what look like new political ideas really aren’t watered-down versions of the old.

Here’s a topic that’s outside our usual political vein: did you read the New York Times Magazine piece last weekend about Raymond Carver? It seems his editor was responsible for his trademark stripped-down style. Does that diminish him? Other famous writers–especially Thomas Wolfe–benefited from heavy editing. Some of Carver’s later work was more florid–something his editor hated, but it was well received. Any thoughts?

Have a great weekend. I’m making mine Monica-free.



Week 1:

Mon., 8/10; Tues., 8/11; Wed., 8/12; Thurs., 8/13; Fri., 8/14

Week 2:

Mon., 8/17; Tues., 8/18; Wed., 8/19; Thurs., 8/20; Fri. 8/21