The Breakfast Table

Provincial Reactions

Dear Lucianne–

You mustn’t start my morning like that! I just received and signed my own book contract the day before yesterday. The notion that it’s anything but ironclad is somewhat less than reassuring.

Now, I suppose this qualifies as old news, but what can I do? I didn’t find the most interesting item in yesterday’s paper until after we had quit for the day. It was in one of the more frivolous parts of the San Francisco Chronicle (which is like saying “one of the wordier parts of Roget’s Thesaurus,” but never mind), Leah Garchik’s “Personals,” our gossip column. And what was the first name to leap out of the first paragraph when I glanced at it? Lucianne Goldberg, no less! Holy cow! The item states that you and Mark Fuhrman have parted professional company (I didn’t even know you’d been keeping company, so obviously the loop has found a route that bypasses me). It goes on to suggest that there are two different versions of what transpired between you. It’s rare, in such situations, to have an opportunity to go straight to the source for illumination. Care to share?

There are times, you know, when you really ought to consider abandoning Imus, however briefly, and lend an ear to anarcho-commie-pinko NPR. They had a story this morning that’s right up our mutual alley. It seems that Jack Kerouac’s last editor has written a new biography of the writer, Subterranean Kerouac, which describes his homosexual liasons in exhaustive and explicit detail. This doesn’t exactly constitute outing, since Kerouac’s bisexuality was already pretty well-known among people who are interested in the literature of the period. (Indeed, Gore Vidal has been boasting for decades about a one-night stand he shared with Kerouac in a New York hotel room. His pride is understandable enough, I suppose; being such very different sorts of writers, they both added a bit of luster to their reputations through the encounter.) But it’s also something Kerouac took some pains to conceal. So what are we to make of the book’s existence? Does it constitute a personal betrayal on the part of his former editor, or is it justified by its service to historical truth?

Here’s the very–indeed, embarrassingly–provincial reaction I had to the chaos in Russia: Poor Clinton! As we’ve had occasion to observe with past presidents, when a guy’s luck runs out, it really runs out. This was supposed to be an opportunity for Clinton to be seen operating grandly in the international arena, but instead, he’ll arrive just in time to witness the barn collapse. And where a week or so ago the White House must have been licking its chops over the stunning visuals in prospect, now…Well, when you see those two presidents posing next to each other, you’re going to think Clinton must have taken a side-trip to Madame Tussaud’s.

Yes, I also got a copy of the e-mail that reader Lynn Anderson sent us about the David Cash case. Very disturbing. Did you notice that the fellow is quoted as saying the situation hasn’t been too bad for him, because his new notoriety has helped him meet women? If the word “sociopath” didn’t already exist, we’d have to invent it to describe this guy.