The Breakfast Table

Bill Bradley Saved My Infant

Dear Merrill,

What do you mean? The L.A. equivalent of the New York Post is just the whole city itself.

I actually saw the Today show Ricky Martin concert, not because I was awake for it (of course) but on a Denver local newscast when I was visiting my mom. They kept saying, “And coming up, Ricky Martin mania!” or whatever, like it was a news item, and I’m sitting there thinking “ah, the sad state of journalism”-type thoughts, but I didn’t know the half of it because then so anyway when they finally got to the segment, they actually rebroadcast the whole show, not just clips or highlights, but the whole thing in its entirety! I mean, what the hell is that? Afterwards, they cut back to the anchorwoman and she’s trading quips with the other newscaster and fanning herself in that Hand-Gesture That Wouldn’t Raise an Eyebrow in the Middle of Sunday Services way that very, very middle-aged, very, very white people do to indicate that they have become sexually aroused. The noble fourth estate!

An equivalent would be when papers run giant articles reporting the content of an upcoming 60-second campaign ad. Today’s was in the New York Times, on Bradley’s first big promo spot, in which, because he drafted a bill to allow women to remain hospitalized for 48 hours after delivering a newborn, a woman claims that “Thanks to Bill Bradley, my daughter is alive today.” It turns out that her baby was born before the bill was ratified, but the explanation offered was that the bill’s postpartum passage gave her the confidence she needed to have another baby, later. Now, as a carbon-based life form, my cells require regular fluid intake to survive. Yet, somehow I don’t see myself ever earnestly emoting to a camera “Thanks to public-works pioneer Thurmond Elias Plefko, the Madison commissioner of waterworks from 1834 to 1872, who installed my city’s water system, I am alive today,” although technically I suppose its sort of true.

Speaking of public works, while I have no idea what Dick Riordan ate for lunch, I can tell you what’s in his toilet bowl even as we speak: water that nature, in her wisdom, intended to be thousands of miles away from him. Since L.A. is a savage desert hellscape not fit for human life, it has to suck its lifeblood, Scream, Blacula, Scream-style, from the whole western half of the continent. No offense, some of my best friends are Angelenos (because they are comedy writers, and there is an unwritten law saying anyone who writes comedy has to live in a sprawling array of car phones and one-story buildings stretching hundreds of miles in every direction), and besides, any city that can come up with Being John Malkovich, which is, in addition to being a nice metaphor for Hillary Clinton’s identity-shifting Senate bid (as well as, well, her whole existence), quite possibly the greatest movie ever made, deserves nothing but admiration.

I’ve heard An American Movie is fabtastic and I’ll see it tonight so I can discuss it with you tomorrow.

By the way, I see now that Mahir has made Time magazine! Look on his works, ye mighty, and despair!

Gee this is fun,

P.S.: I should probably add somewhere in here that my mother is a wonderful person and I love her very much.