"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 4 June 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXXXIV


[ever wonder what makes people attracted to one another?]

In American politics, somebody's

got to lose before anybody else

can win. On Tuesday, the

Lewinsky family, after an

unfathomable five-month delay,

sent rusty but lovable lawyer

William Ginsburg back to an

uncertain future of Judge Judy

auditions. And almost at the

very same moment, Monicagate

early adopter Matt Drudge

treated a crowded National Press

Club luncheon to 75 minutes of

his patented "Walter Winchell by

way of Herbert Stempel" mugging

and shrugging. Anyone who still

doubts Drudge's skills as a

prose stylist had merely to note

his ready use of paraleipsis (he

refused to mention the rumor

that Phil Hartman met his wife

through a prostitute), anamnesis

(John Peter Zenger and Horace

Greeley nodded their Rushmore

heads toward the stripling

newshawk), and martyria (the kid

had a tough time growing up, and

now lives in the part of

Hollywood "where you twinkle and

then wrinkle and people forget

about you."). It was an

impressive win over a

self-styled "tough" crowd, but

it's dismaying that, having

shown more mettle than anybody

in the Washington press corps,

Drudge still has to put on this

no-goodnik dog and pony show.

Playing the outsider may still

carry some clout for the folks

back home, but even the Press

Club bus boys could see that

Drudge has finally arrived in

company with whom he belongs.

So, it seems, has Monica. Her

new top lawyer bears the

Pynchonesque name, Plato

Cacheris, and his former clients

include another comely but

overemployed Girl Friday - Fawn

Hall (a minor player in the

Teapot Dome scandal). This

meta-hobnobbing with amanuenses

past may work well for Monica,

and it could certainly help

historians, for whom the melding

of the Reagan and Clinton eras

is now complete.


[simple notions like the way he walks or drops your keys can make or break an attraction]

Given the media's recent

sepulchral preoccupations, the

teardrop tornado provoked by the

premature exit of The Larry

Sanders Show should have puzzled

nobody. The special-issue

elegies and US$4 million dollar

a minute dolor of Seinfeld's

painfully protracted passing

created a hype bubble as

flawless as the product was

flimsy. With Larry, the critics

finally found a sharp and

foolproof needle: "Unlike some

final episodes we could

mention," Time magazine coyly

observed, "the last Larry

Sanders puts all the virtues of

the show on display." Inspired,

perhaps, by the show's

verisimilitudinous unreality (in

which he himself was once

featured), The Washington Post's

Tom Shales went so far as to tip

the hands of professional couch

tubers everywhere when he

confessed: "Although 'Sanders'

followers are smaller in number

than the 'Seinfeld' legions, we

like to think of ourselves as

selective connoisseurs and of

'Sanders' as gourmet television

- special and clever and

incalculably above the fray." Of

course you do, Tommy Boy, and of

course you are - the rest of us

just whinnied every time Artie

said "cocksucker" and will miss

such frank chatter when the show

begins its tragically

vulgarity-free syndication

cycle. More typical of the

media's current necrophilia were

the Sinatra-ish prequiems for

Disney's The Enchanted Tiki Room, a

generic, second-rate Disneyland

attraction that is in fact still

extant. And, of course, in these

times of funerary inflation, the

actual, coroner-certified death

of stand-up comedy's equivalent

of The Enchanted Tiki Room, Phil

Hartman, was good for a

Dateline and a few introductory

minutes on Biography This Week -

even if the nation's more

cold-hearted headline writers

were secretly wishing that

Hartman's old SNL colleague,

David Spade, had been the

recipient of the crazed

ex-model's Just Shoot Me moment



[is it based on some silly notion of 'type'?]

Neither India nor Pakistan seems

to have the long-range warheads

that would demand we bring back

school air-raid drills, but now

there's an equally meaningless

preparedness exercise for a real

threat. The Calgary Herald

reports that schools around the

country are staging "psycho

drills" designed to help kids

survive attacks by demented

fellow students shooting up the

Little Blood Red Schoolhouse.

Counseling and surveillance

cameras are also being used to

help cut down the rate of

cutting down. But lest we get

too excited about these new

techniques, the article quotes

analysts who have discovered

that "there is no foolproof way

of stopping a demented student

from opening fire on his

classmates." Or, for that

matter, from stopping demented

teachers. Former Emory

University business professor

Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld lost a

management deanship at Georgia

Tech after Emory provided

surveillance video of the dean

zig zagging down a hallway and

kicking the walls. Some might

call Sonnenfeld mad as a fucking

hatter, but he prefers to be

known as an eccentric professor

type and is suing Emory - where

he established a school for CEOs

- for jinxing the new job. We're

betting Sonnenfeld will pass up

the standard AR-15 revenge in

favor of some diabolical

genius-type stuff involving

Atlanta-area executives. At the

national level, that could mean

more pubic hair in the Coke and

more rambling monologues from

Larry King.


[or is it all arbitrary and based more on timing, mood, social factors, and alcohol intact?]

Of course, kids who want to go

crazy as quickly as possible

should just jump right into

their stash of PCP. Six students

at Bakersfield, California's

Washington Junior High were

hospitalized for angel-dust

effects, after apparently

attempting to escape the

crushing boredom of life in

California's oil belt. Whatever

these kids were up to, they have

our sympathy, but more

importantly, they have our

curiosity. We recall the

superhuman freakouts caused by

PCP on old episodes of The

Rookies, but other than that,

dust looked like a '70s stalwart

that stood no more chance of a

comeback than Rodney Allen

Rippy. Who knows? With

glue-sniffing resurgent and the

Strangelovian Drug Czar Barry

McCaffrey waging a mini-Vietnam

against Colombian drug lords,

maybe the last, wheezing gasp of

'70s nostalgia will be quaint

drug chic. That's a long shot,

but we're not throwing out those

old "714" T-shirts just yet.

courtesy of the Sucksters