The Breakfast Table

It’s Nobody’s Bidness

Dear Erik–

One should be wary of taking Norman Mailer’s advice on either fighting or gentlemanly behavior. There is a body of evidence that says that once he steps outside with you he punches you in the stomach and walks away. You are not guilty of that at all. Rather, you changed the subject–a Clintonesque move some feel the Sudanese are cleaning up after as we type.

If the only fault one can find with Clinton’s current mess is an invasion of his privacy, let me weigh in. I have some gripes on that score having had my forty-year-old sealed divorce records obtained by White House operatives from a dusty basement in a small southern town. Linda Tripp is properly ticked and litigious about having her confidential personnel records and raw data FBI files opened, pawed through and disseminated to our high-minded elitists at the refined old New Yorker magazine. Now that is what I call not only invasive but illegal rooting in private lives.

However, this particular scandal took place on taxpayers’ time, on government property, between two government employees. Messes made were cleaned up by other government employees and covered up by the once-proud Secret Service. A government phone was used for phone sex on government time and government employees were sent as errand runners while government lawyers intimidated more government employees into silence and complicity. Yoiks! There’s no privacy argument here. This is theft pure and simple. That is something to feel queasy about.

And it doesn’t stop. The slime tube that runs straight into Geraldo Rivera’s broadcast studio oozed out the news that the first Democrat to call for Clinton’s resignation (McHale of PA) may be having a candor problem concerning the medals he won in the armed forces.” Golly Gee. I wonder why that was brought up? How soon will we be hearing about Henry Hyde’s secret shopping trips to Lane Bryant or Senator Hatch’s penchant for chocolate covered goats.

Note for clarification: When was the last time someone “outed” a straight? I can see Boy George getting peckish about it but other than that …

All that being said, I’ll let you off my fight card. You clearly are too much of a gentleman to get Kinsley punching the air and shouting “Yes. Kill. Kill.”

Speaking of Kill. Has your copy of Brill’s Content reached you? This thing should be strangled in its crib if for no other reason that it is so damn much work. The cover has two pix of Bill Gates. One taken recently in a tux and the other an adolescent police mug shot. Looks like the DNC and Tony Lenzner’s goons aren’t the only ones mucking around in people’s privacy. I even saw Brill on some talk show crowing about how hard his staffers worked to get the police picture like it was some kind of investigative trophy to be proud of.  Do we care if Bill Gates pinched a pillow from a motel in 1977 or whatever he did to get picked up and let go in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is the kind of magazine you might welcome if you found it as the only reading matter in a Greyhound station when your bus doesn’t leave for six hours. It isn’t for anyone who actually has a life.

You are so right about today’s papers–vacuity squared. I’m now going downstairs and wrestle my late copy of Newsweek away from the doorman. I’m sure it will give us more food for thought.

One last disagreement. I don’t see what’s coming as a deluge of hypocrisy. I see in the weeks to come one great national hot shower. We are about to be cleansed of the values of the Sixties for once and for all. Perhaps we can replace them with a cleaner, simpler way of governing. Now them’s fightin’ words!