The company you keep
With the media in Full Metal 9/11 Memorial mode, we should take a moment to remember one of the victims and her special relationship with the place where reason and good taste goes to die:
The last time I saw Barbara in person was about three weeks ago. She generously praised one of my recent columns and told me I had really found my niche. Ted, she said, had taken to reading my columns aloud to her over breakfast.
I mention that to say three things about Barbara. First, she was really nice. A lot of people on TV seem nice, but aren’t. (And some who don’t seem nice, are.) But Barbara was always her charming, graceful, vebullient self. “Nice” is an amazingly rare quality among writers. In the opinion business, bitter, jealous hatred is the norm. Barbara had reason to be secure.
Second, it was actually easy to imagine Ted reading political columns aloud to Barbara at the breakfast table. Theirs was a relationship that could only be cheaply imitated by Bill and Hillary â€” the latter being a subject of Barbara’s appropriately biting bestseller, Hell to Pay. Hillary claimed preposterously in the Talk magazine interview that she discussed policy with Bill while cutting his grapefruit in the morning. Ted and Barbara really did talk politics â€” and really did have breakfast together.
It’s “Ted and Barbara” just like it’s Fred and Ginger, and George and Gracie. They were so perfect together, so obvious, that their friends were as happy they were on their wedding day. This is more than the death of a great person and patriotic American. It’s a human amputation.
Third, since Barbara’s compliment, I’ve been writing my columns for Ted and Barbara. I’m always writing to someone in my head. Now I don’t know who to write to. Ted-and-Barbara were a good muse.
Airports scrupulously apply the same laughably ineffective airport harassment to Suzy Chapstick as to Muslim hijackers. It is preposterous to assume every passenger is a potential crazed homicidal maniac. We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now.
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.
I’m no expert on Christianity, but I’m guessing that she didn’t adopt Jesus as her new muse.