The Breakfast Table

The Dark Side of the Alpha Male

Dear Todd …

I feel like we are really starting to bond now. I, too, have never seen an episode of Moesha, and even more amazing, I have never even read a TV Guide description of an episode.

However, I think you will be impressed when you learn that I was actually planning to attend the opening weekend of Pokémon: The First Movie so I could discuss it with you here. Although I have never seen that TV show either, I have been regularly purchasing assorted Pokémon merchandise for my two crazy nephews. But then it began to occur to me that if I showed up alone at a public screening of Pokémon, I would soon begin to notice the parents of children hugging their young ones close to them as they eyed me with horror and suspicion. I began to rehearse excuses about where my absent kid might be.” He’s … uh … in the lobby returning phone calls.” Then it dawned on me that there could well be some kind of a city ordinance against a lone adult attending a screening of Pokémon unaccompanied by a child. So, sadly, I never went. However I could not fail to notice that in today’s paper we learn that the Pokémon movie was “the highest grossing Wednesday premiere of any film to open in November.” Now that is an accolade to be proud of. This whole tradition of being really, really specific in the details of the honor you are bestowing is a trend I applaud and would like to see expand. I wonder what the highest grossing Friday premiere in a month ending with an R during a World Series playoff game was? And what would be wrong with a category in the Academy Awards for “Best Actress in a Top-10 Christmas Film That Opened Between Thanksgiving and the 15th of December”?

Before I get off the topic of show business, I also noticed a lot of items about the questionable ratings of the new Martin Short talk show. King World executive Andy Friendly is quoted as saying, “We’ve lightened up the show with a new backdrop and more female-oriented material.” It has been my experience that once the executives start lightening things up with a new backdrop, it is only a matter of weeks until the launch of a segment called “Send us your home videotapes!!!” And then, I’m afraid, we will have to bid them all a fond farewell.

Moving right along, are these darn guys running for president now more transparently phoney than usual or is it just me and my razor-keen observational abilities? Not just because George W. couldn’t name leaders of world hot spots. (Although I loved his answer regarding the prime minister of India, which went, “The prime minister of India is … I don’t know.” He apparently was thinking that if he got up a head of steam and energetically repeated the question, the answer might come to him from nowhere.) But I just read a piece in which the supporters of George W. are explaining their attraction to him with thoughts like “Don’t ask me what draws me to him. I was terribly fond of his parents, so he has a place in my heart.” This makes me think that more of the candidates should be using a “get to know my parents” kind of an angle in their campaigns.

And as for the ever-morphing Al Gore, pictured this weekend wearing an army hat for Veterans Day, maybe he should just hire a spokesmodel to deliver his speeches while he’s figuring out who to be. By the way, I think he got the wrong message about being an alpha male from Naomi Wolf. In my opinion, the proper route to appearing more alpha is not earth tones, as suggested, but would be for him to wear a leather jacket, suck on a cigarette butt, and make a bunch of appointments to meet with women’s groups that he suddenly cancels at the very last second without offering an explanation. Now that’s an alpha male as I have come to know and love them. (His other option would be to employ the technique they explain in dog-training manuals for use when you have a problem dominating your alpha-male pet. What they tell you to do is to pin him down and lie on top of him. If Gore tried that on Bradley during their next debate, I think we might all see him a little differently.)

Your new best friend,