April 19, 2005

I can't help but wonder what could have been

From Timothy Crouse's excellent 1973 book on the press coverage of the 1972 campaign 'The Boys on the Bus.'

"The next time I saw Robert Novak was also at the Democratic Convention. He was coming through the front door of the Fountainebleau Hotel to collect his rented car on the huge portecochere outside. 'Number 5!' yelled the car jockey. Novak was wearing wrinkled checkered pants, scuffed black buckle shoes and a seersucker jacket that was buttoned too tight over his pygmy belly. As he waited, he acknowledged hellos from passers-by. 'Hi, Governor,' he said, nodding at an obscure Southern pol.

I went up and asked for an interview and this time he agreed to talk to me if I would drive with him to the Carillon, Humphrey's headquarters. We slid into his green compact Olds and started inching up Collins Avenue, with the air conditioning going full blast.....

...Novak didn't look at me as he talked, but he spoke fast and volunteered a lot of points. He and Evans had written a lot of critical articles about Nixon, he said, without getting the 'cry baby' reaction they had gotten from many McGovern supporters....

...We had broken through the worst of the traffic on Collins Avenue, and were coming up fast on the Carillon, so I asked Novak about his fabled sources.

Novak wouldn't name any of his sources and didn't seem to want to talk about them. 'Evans and I are switch-hitters,' he said. 'We write different columns and have different news sources. I use about fifty to a hundred sources regularly, I suppose. I don't really know how many. God bless 'em, though.'

Beside Novak, on the front seat, there lay a manila folder, filled with Xeroxes of his columns. On top of that was a small yellow sheet, with his day's schedule typed on it. It said: '3:30, Pierre Salinger, Doral Hotel.' No matter what Evans wrote about McGovern, the fact still remained that McGovern needed them more than they needed him. So Salinger was very much at home to Novak, and, the next night, Frank Mankiewicz smailed and smiled and was only too glad to show Evans around the Mcgovern trailer." [Emphasis added]

* Unitarian Jihad, by Jon Carroll. excerpt:

"Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism -- 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion."

* TMFTML on Colin Meloy and the Replacements. excerpt:

"We've been thinking a bit about The Replacements since we recently received a copy of Colin Meloy's Let it Be. The book is quite good, although it's mostly about Meloy growing up in Montana (we're probably the last people in the world to know that his sister is novelist Maile Meloy). Meloy does an excellent job of conveying what it feels like to be a kid, open to everything but limited in possibilities and dependent on friends and older relations to show you what's out there.

"We ourselves had to rely on the English fellow who owned the record shop that sat directly across from our high school to turn us on to The Replacements: We started with Pleased to Meet Me and worked our way backwards. Enough has been said about the band that it would be superfluous to add anything here (except to implore you not to buy Don't Tell a Soul; it sucks in such a way that it seems to violate all laws of physics); if you don't know much about them, pick up the Meloy, which, while nowhere near authoritative, will give you a brief enough outline and is actually enjoyable to read.

"Anyway, what we've been thinking about is Westerberg's first solo record, 14 Songs, which followed his work on the Singles soundtrack (how 'Waiting for Somebody' doesn't qualify for his new best of is beyond us). We'll agree with the general consensus that his later solo records have been bland, pointless affairs, but we listened to 14 Songs again the other night and we still think it's a great fucking record, more mature than the old 'Mats stuff but not as deliberately AOR as what would come to pass with the cavalcade of crap he waxed over the next ten years."

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