The Breakfast Table

The Reasons To Love W.

Dear Bart,

Who takes a week off after having a baby? I’d like to know. Even I, who have virtually no job, was once found in the delivery room just post-baby, talking to an editor on the phone (and certainly it couldn’t have been about breaking news …). I think it was an urgent book review, or something. But the prime minister of England? A week off???

On the other hand, it is England, after all. What happens there that’s so pressing? The Henley Regatta? Wimbledon? Face-making contests? Pub hops? You’d think he could take a moment for the new kid.

Did you see that Helen Thomas quit? She couldn’t take working for United Press International’s new owner, Sun Myung Moon, and his Belgian religious-nut proxy, the odious Arnaud de Borchgrave. No American should work in America for anyone with a “de” in his name.

Do not attack W., Bart! They did include Jodie Foster in Babes With Brains–why do all smart guys love that girl in particular? Answer: Because there are no other movie stars like her, because she’s smart.

My reading W. is not the same as you reading Victoria’s Secret (naughty boy). W. has very few underwear boys in it, whereas Victoria is filled with push-up-bra girls (as you seem to be aware). Besides, my husband loves W. because it has Suzy, and Suzy is a wonderful gossip column filled with unlikely “de”s “von”s “della”s “van der”s and simple “d”s whom one would never work for simply because they have no businesses and do not even work, themselves, unless you call going to parties work. The odious “Arnaud de” never makes Suzy. But then, religious nuts are not big on the social circuit, which is the one good thing you can say about the social circuit.

May I just quote you some unlikely names that appear in boldface in Suzy, as if one were supposed to recognize them? “Muffie Potter Aston,” “Buffy Cafritz,” “Kuki Gallman,” “Baron Andreas Zadora von Gerlof,” “Beth Rudin DeWoody,” and “Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel” (I am not kidding).

Last night, I went to my brother’s law-school graduation and was forced to listen to Al Gore plead with the students to dedicate themselves to public office. The students had loftier ideas about salaries, you could tell from their little bits of speeches. Only a son of the landed gentry could talk about serving in public office the way Gore does, but on the other hand, it’s important to remember that the only other job he ever had was newspaper reporter.

He’s a funny man, reminds me of Pinocchio but not in the usual his-nose-is-growing way. He seems like something wooden and inanimate that has suddenly been brought to life, but hasn’t been able to shed its innate stiffness and falseness. He seems a nice enough guy, but he shouldn’t be in a line of work that forces him to make speeches (and us to listen to them).