The Breakfast Table

Me and MCI, and Other News

Dear Mick–

In a survey of news uncommented upon by us about which I might at least have something entertaining or informative to say, I ran into the commuter train crash in London, which has so far a death toll of 26 and is of course horrifying, but speaks for itself; and the MCI WorldCom-Sprint merger. Hmm. I once had such an ugly experience with the customer-service department of one of those companies that I wrote its president a letter of complaint on the letterhead of an impressive magazine in which I stated my intention of reporting in print how unpleasant it had been dealing with his company at every conceivable opportunity and that I would consider myself to be doing a service to my readers thereby. OK, it was MCI. This has been my first opportunity! Readers, beware! MCI was mean to me! Me, me, me, me, me! I find it hard to discharge my punditry duties in this space without coming across as unbecomingly stuck on myself. You have been managing this very gracefully, I notice with (unbecoming) egotistical irritation.

CNN’s Inside Politics is, at this very moment, according to Bernard Shaw, going to address the question: Can Minnesota’s governor walk away from his controversial comments? I wasn’t taking notes, but I think this is pretty much the exact same question that was being posed yesterday. I know the answer! Call on me! In a word, Yes! Yes, he can! It seems to me self-evident that if your poll approval ratings can go from 70-something to 50-something in as short a period of three months, they really didn’t mean a whole hell of a lot to begin with!

Philippe de Montebello is the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I did mean to say. To get even more parish-pump, the magazine-publishing news of the day is that Miller Publications is putting Spin, Vibe, and the Blaze up for sale. And to get even more parish-pump than that, Leonard Stern also recently announced that he was selling the Village Voice, my very first employer, as you of course know since I got the job owing to your recommendation when I had no experience at all, because you were tired of hearing me blather on, much as I am doing now, but more crankily, as we sat in bars back when we met in the go-go ‘80s.

Do you really think, to jump back to your initial e-mail, that Warren Beatty would be a candidate worth breaking one’s heart over?

I am looking forward more than I can say to the season premiere episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer this evening.