Whoredum meets dum-dum.
Yes it’s about a journalist but not in the way that we usually call journalists “whores” in that “I’m kidding. I kid. No. Really I’m just kidding…You whore” kind of way.
One evening last summer at the Players Club, Kimberlee Auerbach, an almond-eyed 32-year-old with a moony smile, a voluptuous figure and an ear-splitting laugh, was introduced to some men as an employee of Fox News Channel.
â€œOne of the guys said, â€˜God, and you look so nice,â€™â€ she recounted. â€œAnd I started to get defensive, saying, like, â€˜Hey, theyâ€™re opinion shows, they cater to a certain demographic, and that demographic is a very real demographic.â€™ And Iâ€™m getting uppity about it, and he said, â€˜God, you sound like a stripper defending your profession.â€™ And Iâ€™m like, â€˜Are you calling me a whore?!â€™ And then someone chimed in: â€˜A media whore!â€™â€
The exchange stung, said Ms. Auerbach. But she regularly confesses much, much more before large crowds at the Moth, the â€œurban storytellingâ€ series held at the club.
â€œI can be a bad little girl!â€ she once declared. â€œI can embrace my inner whore!â€
Ms. Auerbach is a woman addicted to public confession. She put that stage performance on a tape reel she distributes to comedy festivals to advertise her talents as a monologist. She hopes those skills will one day translate into a job as the host of her own self-help TV show.
Presently, Ms. Auerbach has a five-year plan to broadcast a message of honesty, empowerment and self-esteem to fearful, weepy women everywhere. But right now, she said, her offstage confessionâ€”that she works at Fox Newsâ€”is making her double life all the more painful.
Ms. Auerbach was sitting in a cafÃ© on the Upper West Side on a Sunday evening, wearing a pink sweater, blushing like a secretly naughty bride and punctuating her story with that crackling laugh. She veered between her obsessions with tarot cards (she once gave an on-site reading to a Fox producer) and womenâ€™s identity issues (â€œA lot of women cry a lot and want to be loved a lot and have something safeâ€), but continually returned to the thorny reality of her day job, which clearly challenged her self-image as a cultural healer.
Andy Borowitz, the comic author and CNN contributor, said that Ms. Auerbach had won a number of competitions at the Moth. â€œTo get to her level, you have to complete with people who take it very, very seriously,â€ he said. â€œSheâ€™s very charismatic. Sheâ€™s got a lot of character.â€
One story in particular stayed with him, he added, â€œsomething about her mother and sex toys. That detail is lodged there.â€
â€œMy mom gave me a â€˜back massagerâ€™ when I turned 16,â€ Ms. Auerbach explained.
On to the good stuff:
She tried Off Broadway acting, but she didnâ€™t like how her emotions waxed and waned with audience approval. So she moved to California and got into documentary filmmaking.
â€œI was working for two lesbian documentary filmmakers in Sausalito and one of them fell in love with me, and I got caught in a bizarre lesbian love triangle,â€ said Ms. Auerbach. â€œI had no idea about it until it was too late, and then I went back to New York and got into this kind of news world.â€
She got a job at Worldwide Television News as a â€œbroadcast coordinator,â€ helping outsource news crews around the globe. While there, Ms. Auerbach got a preview of the conservative media universe. It centered on a mystical figure named â€œJonah.â€
â€œWhen I was living in California, when I was very lonely and had no friends, I fell in love with a street sign named â€˜Jonah,â€™â€ she explained. â€œI have no idea why, but I became obsessed with it, and I thought that I was meant to marry a Jonah. Maybe I was a Jonah in a past life. I had no idea what Jonah meant.â€
One day she got a call from a man named Jonah, who was looking for a news crew in Japan. â€œI flipped out, because Iâ€™m like, â€˜Oh my God, this is my future husband!â€™ And Iâ€™m so excited, and Iâ€™m on the phone with Jonah!â€™â€ she recalled.
After some extended flirting, she had the man fax her a handwritten note that she immediately analyzed using a book on graphology. â€œThe loop of his â€˜Jâ€™ meant he was strong and passionate and I had met my soulmate and itâ€™s crazy!â€ she said. â€œI was so crazy!â€
But when they met one night on the Upper West Side, she knew within 10 minutes that he wasnâ€™t the fantasy Jonah. It was Jonah Goldberg, the conservative columnist at The National Review, son of right-wing Web pundit and Bill Clinton antagonist Lucianne Goldberg.
Ms. Auerbach laughed so hard and loud she could hardly breathe. The man sitting behind her at the cafÃ© made a pistol with his hand and pretended to shoot. Her laugh was exceptionally loud.
After meeting Mr. Goldberg, she said, she concluded: â€œThe universe is totally fucking with me!â€
Mr. Goldberg noted that he was heavier at the time, but when he looked at Ms. Auerbachâ€™s picture on her Web site, he didnâ€™t recognize her. â€œIt did not ring a bell,â€ he said. â€œI truly, honestly donâ€™t remember it. Clearly, she got a very good handwriting analyst.â€
Yeah, right. And the day this story came out in the New York Observer, people thirty miles away could hear Jonah’s scrotum shrivelling up like a salted snail.
(Thanks to Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog for tossing me this lil Scooby snack instead of running with it himself. Besides, he’s on the Schiavo beat. Poor bastard.)