The Breakfast Table

No Martians in 2004

Well you have certainly gotten cranky on your way from New York to Boston.

When you say you “virtually winced” at my description of Al Gore as “one of us,” do you mean you actually winced? Or that you winced online? And was it the virtual wince that drove you to virtual Republicanism?

Al Gore is a Martian. But he’s our Martian.

And I don’t want him to run again, either.

The worst thing about the Washington Post episode—from my point of view, which is certainly not to be confused with yours—is that the Washington Post did the right thing in not firing employees in the wake of the 9/11 slowdown and now, apparently, they want a medal for it; it’s their excuse for not giving their employees a raise. But surely a company that made $230 million in net profits last year has the wiggle room to give its employees some sort of raise. And the company isn’t even publicly held in any true sense of the term. The only investor whose confidence the Washington Post needs is that of its largest Class B stockholder, Warren Buffett.

The Newspaper Guild at the Washington Post died a sad and much-written-about death during a strike in the late 1970s, and you could make a case that that strike coincided exactly with the exact moment when journalists in Washington moved into their current status as the standing government.

Coleen Rowley is on television as I write, and she is definitely Frances McDormand in Fargo.

So it’s Thursday afternoon, and our “Breakfast Table” comes to an end. Four days and you didn’t once use the word “Über” in a sentence. Four days and I feel as if I have run a marathon. I want to go out into the world wearing a foil cape and walk around the streets of New York being admired for my amazing stamina. This week you, Kurt, have recorded at least one radio show, traveled to Philadelphia and Boston, and undoubtedly written three chapters of your novel. I have done nothing but sit here at this typewriter desperately trying to think of things to say. In return, I have had the treat of spending four days in Andersenville, savoring things like “Assistant Blowback,” the Catholic Church = the FBI, plagiarism = shoplifting, “boards of directors are to corporate governance as grandparents are to child-rearing.” I have three books to read—de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener, and Disraeli’s Vivian Grey. If I ever meet Eminem, I know what to talk to him about: whether Desi and Lucy’s divorce affected his music.

Four days. It’s been swell. See you on line at the DMV.