The Breakfast Table

Our Lady of the Lip Gloss

Say, Kim,

It’s half-past the 4th. Breakfast is almost over. I once had a New Year’s party like this breakfast; people didn’t go home until January 4. That was in LA, of course. I lived on your coast almost ten years, so your portrait of a determinedly apolitical Hollywood is no surprise. Fact is, when I used to tell people there that I came from Washington, D.C., rather a lot of them thought it was a place near Seattle. The food’s gotten a lot better since then. I remember it as the kind of town where they put mayo on the cold-cut subs.

That’s a hot report you’ve filed. The Don Simpson case is appalling. But is Monica really said to be “stalking” somebody? And does Sid Blumenthal know about it? That body-language expert on the affiliate could have been a national feed. D.C.’s affiliate had one, too, but I was brain-dead by then, and wasn’t paying attention. As for the hair, the swept-back thing seemed useful for revealing her expressions, should anyone have been predisposed to react to them. Somebody’s already done a Monica laugh count (24 times, I think); somebody else has already compared everything she said last night with everything she ever said before. I await the excerpt from the book about the show about the affair. Did you see where Clinton spent the evening at a Torricelli fund-raiser in New Jersey? Gloria Gaynor was there, and while Monica was dishing to Barbara, Bill was singing “I Will Survive” with Gloria. That’s some contrapunction.

I’ll just grab one more cigarette before I go. To talk about something else for a minute, did you hear about the plainclothes smoking cops in San Diego? Undercover cops hanging out in bars and restaurants–you can’t smoke in them–waiting to see if anybody lights up, then hitting them with $100 fines. That’s what you get when a therapeutic society mistakes benevolence for two-bit behavioral tyranny: smoking cops. Or campus speech cops who patrol the hurt-feelings beat, or the savings-account cops proposed by the FDIC in their “Know Your Customer” rules: bank employees who would monitor your activity and report anything they think is “unusual” to the feds because you could be depositing criminal profits. Civil protection implies some measure of police power. So the more you try to protect everybody from everything, the more authority you grant to the cops to monitor everything you do. Some moral bullies think it takes a police state to raise a child.

One last thing about Our Lady of the Lip Gloss. We had a lively discussion about whether Monica had filed her phony affidavit for the president or not. Walters asked her about this. Lewinsky answered that she filed it for herself, her family, and, yes, “for him.”

Latte’s gotten cold, Kim; I better hit the road. Thanks for putting up with me. Reason’s based in LA, so I’ll probably see you at the magazine rack. There’s a pretty good one in Westwood, I think.

Blowing smoke rings,