The Breakfast Table

Gipper License Plates; Bowie’s Shareholders

My dear Mim,

I’m afraid that, out here, the Brooklyn Museum story is a trifle parish pump; although, as an ex-Manhattanite, I realize the five boroughs are one hell of a parish. I fear, though, I don’t even know what institution Phillip de Montebello represents, although I could hazard a guess. I also have to confess that I don’t much like whatshisname’s dissected sheep in formaldehyde. In California, my local news informs me, we have our own small piece of unacceptable art being trust upon us. The DMV is issuing license plates with a color picture of Ronald Reagan in a cowboy hat, and while this may be a covert Random House promo for Dutch, I fear the LAPD may well start treating the new plates as a mobile loyalty oath. I once had an L.A. cop boast to me how he had apprehended a car thief by simply pulling over a black man driving a Toyota with a Grateful Dead bumper sticker. In L.A. you have to take care what you affix to your automobile. I often wonder how the Goths fare who have a parody of the Christian fish on their cars with horns and the name Satan.

Whenever David Bowie releases product, I always have to admire his media campaigning, and current politicians could learn a lot from his methods. Over the weekend we’ve seen him on both Saturday Night Live and the Late Show With David Letterman. He stood up Howard Stern last night, which probably garnered him more mileage that actually being on the show when Howard waxed repeatedly wrathful, as, although David pleaded flu, callers reported him carousing in the Mercer Kitchen until 4 a.m. A feature of any Bowie hype has always been a lot of small planted gossip stories. One of these turns up in the very handy Brit news digest The Week, which claims David likes to travel on London tube trains, but has to disguise himself by wearing a hat and glasses and carrying a Greek newspaper. I guess that now David Bowie is a public company, quoted on the stock exchange, he has to really try. He not only has his own ego willing him to succeed, but also shareholders.

Although you may not be aware of it, the standard line of the average conspiracy debunker is that the conspirators are not smart or organized enough to hold the plot together. I think it’s one of the tacks Gerald Posner took in his book JFK book, Case Closed. My only answer is “No, they’re not that smart. I’m onto them already, aren’t I?” I must admit, however, that I may have been wrong about George W. being a “self-admitted cokehead.” I suspect I have misread Maureen Dowd. Would a self-admitted drunk and alleged cokehead be better?

The Donald is well known in SoCal, but in the convolutions of the Reform Party, my money is still on Jesse Ventura. CNN is promising to air an interview with Annette Bening this afternoon, but I may be asleep. The teaser was “whose husband may run for president.” The tease started me thinking about Bening as first lady. Didn’t we see her naked in either Bugsy or The Grifters? That would be a decided first for a first lady.