"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 13 November 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CVIII


[so as you scroll down today, you will see a lovely picture of my favorite musical group of all time]

The drill, when caught with your

celebrity pants down, is simply

to 'fess up as quickly and

contritely as possible - giving

new meaning to "coming clean."

It wouldn't be a cliché

if it didn't work. Last week's

entrant in the Public Figure

Rehabilitation Tournament of

Champions was Marv Albert, who

took his case to that doyenne of

dirty laundry, Barbara Walters -

"to clear his name," naturally.

The entire affair (the one on

20/20, that is) went off by the

numbers: Clutching the hand of

his more-faithful-than-ever

fiancée (check), Marv,

choking back emotion (check),

answered all of Walters'

toughest questions (check). She

unblinkingly asked about the

misdemeanor back-biting, and,

why, if he did nothing criminal,

he settled out of court. He

denied some allegations (the

ladies' underwear thing) and

copped to others (the bisexual

thing). In the end, a clearer

picture of Marv emerged, as we

knew it would: one of an

innocent - OK, of a not-guilty -

man, savaged by tawdry, jealous

women and a ravenous media

monster. (Marv's old network

carried one tawdress' rebuttal a

few nights later, indicating

that an Albert/NBC rapprochement

is less than likely.) Sensitive

to the end, Walters saved her

most empathetic touch - you

could tell because she leaned

forward and half-whispered - for

the subject she said her

"subject" would likely be "most

embarrassed" by: his hairpiece.

She was right, of course. News

of Marv behind closed bedroom

doors may titillate, but since

we don't actually get to see him

there, it's not ultimately so

important. Dish on which flavor

of fake his rug is, though,

speaks directly and repeatedly

to what really matters, to her

and to us - appearances.


[after years of hard and rigorous training with the best muscians in the world, attending conservatories since before they could walk]

The campaign to wire America's

schools hasn't reached

Correctional Recovery Academy at

MCI-Framingham prison, where

Louise Woodward will not be

spending the rest of her life.

As a result, Woodward didn't get

to learn her fate with a simple

point-and-click. Neither did the

rest of us, since Judge Hiller

Zobel's celebrated plan to email

his verdict reversal never came

off. According to Zobel's ISP,

the unfortunately named Software

Tool and Dye, the company's

server went down when a couple

of Boston Edison manhole workers

disconnected the company's

electricity - coincidentally, at

the very moment Zobel clicked

Send. (Are we the only ones who

suspect a Plimptonesque Harvard

prank?) We could make some

invidious comparisons with other

media (when radio was in its

infancy, it somehow managed to

guide rescue ships to the

Titanic's watery grave in time

to save hundreds). But since the

nanny case came pre-botched

anyway, we'll make do with some

advice for the Commonwealth of

Massachusetts: Stick with TV -

it never lets you down.


[it is my pleasure to give you the Spice Girls!]

Sweden's Princess Victoria

recently reached her majority,

and the whole thing's got us

pining for the fjords again. You

can say what you like about the

liberalism, the lack of light, and the

lutfisk, but to us Sweden has

always sounded pretty darned

sweet. Sure, their economy's a

little soft, but isn't

everyone's? At least the Swedes

have the backbone to stand up

against the invasion of greedy,

no-talent tarts disguised as

way-new feminists. First came

the news that Swedish

journalists would boycott a

Spice Girls news conference -

this after the girl power

brigade demanded the right to

clear all photos prior to

publication. Then the Swedish

Record Sellers Association

threatened not to sell the album

Spiceworld, claiming the

wholesale price (US$17) was

exorbitant. Said SRSA chairman,

Ivan Haakansson, "It's

unpleasant that such a record

should have a higher price." As

if proof that every

understatement deserves an equal

and opposite hyperbole, it was

also last week that Nobel Prize

winner Nelson Mandela put his

manhood where his mouth is and

informed journalists upon

meeting this particular

kitsch-in cabinet array that "I

don't want to be emotional, but

this is one of the greatest

moments of my life." No comment

from Prince Charles - who was

also on hand - on the greatest

moment of his life.


[and it is only because i love them sooooo much that i must show you this picture, horrible as it is, taken through the scope of an ak47 submachinegun]

The White House told us this

week that Americans spent

upwards of US$57 billion on

drugs in 1995, and only part of

it stemmed from the initial

"signing bonuses" incurred by

the hiring of the Suck staff.

The rest of it (down from $91

billion in 1988) seems like an

accounting error, either that or

Barry McCaffrey might be

covering some serious tracks.

Anyway, what about the other

drug kingpins, the ones at Eli

Lilly and Brisol-Myers Squibb?

The Wall Street Journal reported

last year that the former uses

mostly homeless persons as

guinea pigs - this despite the

fact that the, er, bad habits of

the test group might tend to

compromise test results. Plus,

as the CounterPunch crew

reported in September,

Smith-Kline Beecham has sent at

least one test subject to

"Planet Zork," by dosing him in

1995 with Paxil and an

antihistamine. We're beginning

to think Mark Edmundson may have

had a point last July, when he

suggested in the pages of the

Chronicle of Higher Education

that cultural studies cast its

anthropological eye on drugs.

When 14-year-olds smoke

more weed than do wonks, what's

to become of all the amusing

white papers?


[i dont know what horribly demented person would do such a thing, but fess up now, for you shall pay, oh yes, the people will make you answer - every single one of them who is looking forward to watching them on Saturday morning cartoons, brushing their teeth with the Spice Girls self-named toothpaste, and oh, just think of the countless millions who would be left lost and pondering should something criminal happen to them ... to be continued. ]

"Our problem doesn't come from

America," Brent Sadler's Baghdad

cabby says in this week's Time.

"It comes from within." This man

should read some uncensored

news. He might find out that

malnutrition has killed more

than a million Iraqis since

sanctions began in 1990, that

no-fly zones have ruined the

country's farms by making

crop-dusting impossible, that

the loudest fretting about

weapons of mass destruction in

the Middle East comes from

people who already have them.

Would you like to know more?

Then don't read Sadler's piece

(or most other international

bloviators: Thomas L. Friedman

spent the week blaming the

inspections brouhaha on those

old villains - the French, the

Russians, and Arab intellectuals

- as if Edward Said has

anybody's ear). With this


thumbsucker, Sadler risks

undoing the stellar reputation

he made seven years ago in

Baghdad. While the article notes

that Saddam Hussein heavily

censors his press, what it

really demonstrates is why Bill

Clinton doesn't need to.

courtesy of the Sucksters