The Breakfast Table

Mental Slobber


I didn’t actually rub my hands together when I got your e-mail on privacy issues–but I came close–and I think there might have been a little mental slobber, too. We wouldn’t have this circus of an impeachment trial starting tomorrow if Clinton’s privacy hadn’t been invaded. And why? Because despite mountains of historical and literary evidence to the contrary, people continue to insist that every gesture and thought in private life has profound implications for how one conducts public affairs. Watergate’s blamed for the aggressiveness of the press in ferreting out dirty secrets. But in my view another minor culprit is Jimmy Carter. I’m being flippant here, but is it possible that when Carter admitted to Playboy that he lusted in his heart, he unwittingly gave license to the media to take inventory of the heart’s contents, which are none of their business?

I’m less bothered by invasive photographers and reporters than by their clients–you know, media pandering to the public’s taste for gossip and the politicians who want to discredit Clinton for political reasons. Seems tricky to determine when exactly a photographer puts a subject “in physical jeopardy.” Did they really do this with Diana? What would have been the consequences if her driver simply stopped and threatened to beat the shit out of the paparazzi?

I have to go to a meeting but I’ll get back to you later with more on the issue of gossip. Because today is Wednesday and in New York–especially on the Upper East Side and Long Island–Wednesday is the New York Observer day. I love this pink weekly–color of the paper, not the politics. For just a taste of what’s on the front page, check out this lead: “When Marisa Tomei boarded Donald Trump’s Boeing 727 jet on Dec. 12 for Atlantis, the new 600-acre resort and casino on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, she was carrying Tuleh in her suitcase.” (Tuleh is a clothing line.)

Now that’s news!

A splendid day to you.