Meanwhile Linda Tripp tapes a personal phone call to protect herself from the Clinton criminal organization and lands in court. Even if the case is thrown out, which some say is likely, she has to pay legal expenses. Cost to Clinton: zero. That'll teach her to fuck with the Lip Biter. As somebody pointed out, the state prosecutor's office in Maryland is treating this more seriously than they do a serial murder case.
I wonder if the local media in Maryland are taking note of those House of Delegates Democrats who took such a personal interest in seeing Tripp prosecuted. It's good to know that these elected officials whose job is to serve the people will always stand up for you for telling the truth. Judging by this and by the impeachment "trial," it's clear that for recruitment to the Democratic Party, being a spineless toady is a far more important qualification than fairness or honesty.
Honesty is the one thing that is intolerable to the Clintons. Name one other person in the Clinton White House besides Tripp who told the truth about what went on there and stuck to her guns. And New Yorkers should be well aware that one of the prime architects of the vindictive tactics of this administration is Hillary Clinton. It was Hillary who had the contents of illegally obtained FBI files on political enemies entered into computers at the White House for purposes of political espionage. It was Hillary who, according to George Stephanopoulos, encouraged others in the Clinton campaign to smear Gennifer Flowers and lie about Clinton's dodging the draft?and she knew these were lies. It was Hillary who, with Sidney Blumenthal, plotted to discredit Sue Schmidt, The Washington Post's chief Whitewater writer. It was undoubtedly Hillary who, as part of a transparent attempt to discredit Juanita Broaddrick, leaked to Clinton bootlicker Eleanor Clift that Broaddrick could not remember the exact date that she says Bill Clinton raped her. Three seasoned investigators of the House Judiciary Committee were sure that Hillary would sic the IRS on them?"I guarantee [it]," one told Dick Morris. And she had "absolutely hands-on involvement" with the Travel Office firings, according to Linda Tripp.
And this is the woman who ludicrously blamed "a vast right-wing conspiracy" for her and her lying husband's problems.
If you thought Rudy Giuliani was too vindictive to be a senator, wait till you see Lady Travelgate. Whatever else you might say about Rudy, he is competent and honest, adjectives that I'm afraid cannot be applied to HRC.
Also, in "Top Drawer" last week, Toby Young asserts that the scandal in Woody Allen's personal life some years ago has crippled him as an artist. The change is in your head, pal; he never was an artist. Woody Allen is a little schlub who dreams of being Ingmar Bergman and makes talky, neurotic films that go nowhere. He's a very funny comic; unfortunately he wasn't happy with that, and wants to be recognized as a great thinker as well. I think his reputation is higher overseas, where the language barrier makes it easier to be impressed by his pretensions.
As for his being sexually attractive to women, it could be because he's irresistibly warm and funny, or because of his unmatched insight into love and relationships, or because he's a brilliant auteur like Fellini or Godard. Or maybe, as I think, because he's writing the scripts.
Joe Rodrigue, New Haven
Trash for Hipster Suckers? With respect to Daniel Freed's review of Mailer: A Biography by Mary Dearborn ("Books," 12/1), to term the body of Norman Mailer's work "mountains of unreadable drivel" is a bit excessive. Granted that some of his passages may be hard to follow, but the same could be said for those of Tolstoy or Faulkner.
However, for the sake of argument, let us grant that it is drivel. What more extreme term would Mr. Freed need to describe the work of, say, Jack Kerouac or William Burroughs?
Dennis Manzanar, Bluefields, Nicaragua
Some of Our Best Friends Are Called Heimy Every time I have read your newspaper, without fail there have been articles and letters that are disgustingly anti-Semitic.
What kind of contribution do you hope to make to our society? In a city like New York, with such a diverse population, with people coming from so many different countries, with every religion represented, all of which contributes to our amazing vitality and our rich culture, your sophomoric racist attacks on all Jews are the lowest form of yellow journalism imaginable. Fortunately, the vast majority of New Yorkers reject racism of any sort. You will not convert anyone to your Nazi beliefs except for a tiny sick and demented few.
What is your goal? A pogrom? Deportation of all Jews? Why don't you openly declare your bigotry on your editorial page? Why not a series of articles written by Father Coughlin? Do you really enjoy spreading hate? What do you hope to gain by it?
Abraham Denowitz, Manhattan
Some of Our Best Cover Features Are Jewish Regarding Ellen Willis ("Radical Culture," by John Strausbaugh, 12/1):
The chick sure can intellectualize. Compared to her, Hegel reads like The New York Times. Secondly, I've read two editions of New York Press, and both featured Jews in the main story. (Willis was one, Adam Heimlich was the other.)
Ellen refers to Clinton's Lewinsky affair as "basically indulging in...bad taste." (It seems that it was Lewinsky who really ended up with the "bad taste.") Of what would Ellen accuse her husband (if she has one) if he got oral sex from someone half his age? Bad taste? Or perhaps dishonesty, disloyalty, irresponsibility and immaturity? And if he were president of the United States, maybe she would think he was reckless as a president and a jerk for disgracing himself and his family. Ellen's comments on this matter seem to me to be just a tad bit abstract, not very real.
Another example: She wants to put "freedom and pleasure at the center of politics." Unless she means the pleasure of altruistic deeds, she can look no further than black youth culture or any fraternity party to see her politics in practice.
The lady is all theory.
Richard Cohen, Manhattan
Piling On MUGGER: Not to ruffle your feathers, but you did overlook a glaringly obvious opportunity to give Michael Tomasky some extra comeuppance for referring to The New York Times as "the world's greatest newspaper" ("MUGGER," 12/8). That claim was staked a lifetime ago by "Colonel" Robert Rutherford McCormick on behalf of his very own beloved Chicago Tribune and radio station WGN. Which of course stands for "The World's Greatest Newspaper."
And then, some paragraphs later, you even cite a Chicago Tribune columnist. You should get some Illinoisy responses from the shores of Lake Meshuggeneh! Go thou and hang thy head in compunction, compunctuated any way you want!
Name Withheld, Los Angeles
Microscopic MUGGER: I don't particularly like Sen. John McCain, and I almost believe what someone wrote?that before the press started stroking his ego, what he was really running for was secretary of defense under Bush. But if he regards every day of his life as a blessing, he's actually right. All of ours are, and if he has the wit to know that and acknowledge that, that's at least a tiny selling point.
Nina Williams, Fredericksburg, VA
Biannual Report MUGGER: I've been reading your column for about six months now, and particularly your commentary regarding George W. Bush. I found your quoted remarks from Joe Conason in your 12/8 column interesting in that they were also made by a couple of Bush's opponents in the latest debate.
Both Conason and John McCain alluded to the fact that Texas has a weak-governor system. This is true. By far the most powerful man in our state government is the lieutenant governor (and the current one, Rick Perry, is one to watch).
However, the attempt by Conason and McCain to use this fact against Bush shows an enormous lack of understanding of politics on their parts. Because of the weak-governor system, a Texas governor's own power of persuasion is his only tool for doing things he wants. Bush's track record in this regard is good. He hasn't gotten everything he's wanted, but who does? Overall, the bills that have been most important to him have passed. His ability to accomplish this in essentially a powerless position should enhance, not reduce, his attractiveness as a candidate. Politics is a game of compromise at its heart, and Bush has an admirable track record at that, especially given that both Texas legislative houses are controlled by the Democrats. (Note: He did have help from conservative Democrats, which still do exist in Texas. But they're a disappearing species, and that's why Republicans have made such significant gains in what was a one-party state for more than a century.)
It's this type of consensus-building that led to his group's purchase of the Texas Rangers. Not only did he assemble the original group, he persuaded some initially balky investors to join after Major League Baseball had expressed reservations about the consortium's make-up. The bottom line is that Bush accomplished things despite operating in systems that did not necessarily favor his success.
Conason, in saying about Bush that he served "less than two terms as Governor in a state where the Governor doesn't have much to do," and that "his qualifications are literally nonexistent," misses the same point Orrin Hatch did in the debate when he similarly claimed that Bush lacks the necessary experience for the presidency. The president is the nation's chief executive. Bush has been the chief executive of several companies as well as the second most populous state in the country. Of the other candidates in either party, only Steve Forbes has been the chief executive of anything more than a boyhood lemonade stand. Of course, Forbes isn't foolish enough to target Bush's experience level in government, since Forbes has none himself. But certainly Bush's tenure as a chief executive of multiple entities, including a government, makes him the most qualified of all the candidates to hold such a position.
Hatch's suggestion that eight years of vice-presidency would train Bush to be a great president made me laugh. I wonder if ol' Orrin thinks eight years of vice-presidency have trained Al Gore to be a great president.
Rod Nunley, Arlington, TX
Not in Texas, Hoss MUGGER: Just read your 11/24 column lambasting the usual suspects at The Manchurian Times.
Excellent piece, but there is a bit of a correction needed regarding George W. Bush's run against Icehouse Annie Richards back in 1994. The truth is that Annie, after one term, was not all that popular. Not that Bush was going to have a cakewalk. Richards was as dirty, nasty and lowdown a campaigner as ever drew the breath of life. This is why all that horseshit about Bush snorting coke, evading Vietnam, knocking some gal up, etc., is just that. Otherwise you can bet Annie and her operatives would have dug it up and hung it around the boy's neck.
But Annie made a big mistake. Once in office she did the usual things that all liberal commiecrats do once in power. She made a big production of sucking up to every deaf/redheaded/lesbian/shortstop/mother special interest group in sight, as well as spent tax money like there was no tomorrow, and usually in such a way as to please the aforementioned groups. She also blocked some popular (with the populace) legislation, such as the concealed handgun licensing law (which was passed soon after she got the boot).
You can get away with that sort of crap up in your neck of the woods, but in Texas it doesn't go over so well. Hence she was not that popular, and at best (for her) it was a tossup, with Bush a slight favorite to win. Truth to tell, the only reason she was ever elected to start with was because her earlier opponent, Clayton Williams, forgot Rule Number One of politics (at least when you're a Republican), which is the media is your enemy, and told an off-color joke about rape with reporters around. Up until then, Williams would have won by a landslide, but after that little fuckup, Richards won it, although not by all that much even so.
Just thought I'd pass this on. I enjoy your work.
Pat Myers, Houston
What About the Masher? MUGGER: In reading your 12/7 column, I misread one of your direct quotes of Jonathan Chait and thought for a moment we had a new convert. Not the beginning of a sentence, but the beginning of a line read: "Gore's campaign lies..." Unfortunately, the line continued: "...in its frantic efforts ..."
Oh, for some honest reporting from the left.
Dick McMaster, Bosque, NM
Moseleying Along I see where Al Gore swore Carol Moseley-Braun in as ambassador to New Zealand. Boy, our Kiwi friends must be ecstatic! Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to name her ambassador to Nigeria?
Steve Hume, Canton, MI
NIT Picking Normally I'd be loath to add facts and logic to a debate in "The Mail," but I'll make an exception in this case. While there may be some kind of fear and terror of New York in the heartland, as Christopher Caldwell claims ("Hill of Beans," 12/1), there's a much more reasonable explanation for the lack of Kentucky fans at the preseason NIT. Unlike the Puerto Rico tournament that Mr. Caldwell attended last year, in order to make it to New York this time the Wildcats had to win two preliminary games to make the "final four" for the tournament and win a trip to Madison Square Garden. The Puerto Rico tournament was a regularly scheduled event that Kentucky fans could plan vacations around. The New York tournament was a question, and thus a less appealing plan, especially over Thanksgiving weekend.
On another obscure sports note, I recommend that any college football fans who aren't working on Dec. 30 check out the Humanitarian Bowl, which features Louisville, with high-scoring QB Chris Redman, and Boise State, whom you've never heard of but who are averaging 33 points a game. Should be lots of fun and a whole bushel of points. Plus, the turf is blue, which is worth checking out anyway.
Devin McCullen, Green Brook, NJ
Rall Politique Regarding John Strausbaugh's latest clueless ravings ("Publishing," 12/8) about my lawsuit against Danny Hellman for impersonating me in a spam to editors and cartoonists, offering money to anyone willing to assault me or vandalize my car and threatening in print that I would be murdered if I were to appear in public in New York:
I don't give a fuck that Strausbaugh thinks I'm a "cocksucker." He's much worse?he's a lousy writer and a shitty journalist. But his support of Danny Hellman on "free speech" grounds is beyond the pale even for Strausbaugh's brand of low-class sleaze.
Let's recap the issue at hand. I wrote a piece criticizing illustrator Art Spiegelman for the Village Voice. Shortly thereafter, Hellman (whom I'd never heard of) wrote an e-mail under my name to a bunch of editors and cartoonists. Posing as me, he attempted to ruin my reputation with my bosses and colleagues. When I sent out an e-mail to tell those people that I'd been impersonated, he sent out a second hoax pretending to be me. Then he went on to post bounties on the Web (for $500 each, the cheap bastard) for anyone willing to assault me or vandalize my car?do both, get a grand. He would never have admitted that he was responsible; I had to hire a lawyer to track him down.
There is no First Amendment right to impersonation, as the judge rightly noted when she rejected all of Danny's motions to dismiss a few weeks back. If you have something to say in the United States, you say it under your own name. An appropriate example of this includes Sam Henderson's parodies of my cartoons that have appeared in your paper.
Hellman read something in the paper he didn't agree with and set out to destroy the professional reputation and peace of mind of the guy who wrote it. That's not free speech. That's a Gestapo-style fatwa on a journalist, to mix metaphors of fascist behavior. To put it another way, what if someone who took issue with Strausbaugh's prose were to send e-mails under his name to his editors and fellow writers?
Ted Rall, Manhattan
John Strausbaugh replies: To recap: What I wrote was that "even a sympathetic writer can't stop Rall from sounding like a malignant cocksucker to me..." Q.E.D.
Theobored I admit that I have not gobbled up every word on the Danny Hellman/Ted Rall imbroglio (zzzzzzzz), so it's entirely possible that somebody else has already made this point and I just missed it, but has anyone considered the central absurdity of Rall's complaint?
Hellman's impersonation prank was in response to Rall's Village Voice article in which he painted Art Spiegelman as the J. Edgar Hoover of the cartoon world?rewarding friends, torpedoing critics, etc.?while making other cartoonists and editors who have remained silent out to be either grateful sycophants or craven worms. Yet Rall now claims that his sudden career problems are the result of Hellman's broadly exposed prank.
If Spiegelman were indeed the Podunk Fu Manchu with vast subterranean powers and a long unforgiving memory Rall has made him out to be, then wouldn't that account for Rall's troubles far more credibly than anything Hellman has done?
And why do I get the impression that Rall isn't so much outraged by Spiegelman's alleged abuse of power as he is envious?
What a pity the son of a bitch is actually funny.
Michael Fonda, Astoria