Well, the tapes are coming out today. I can actually hear them on MSNBC as I write.
I’m not entirely sure why the Republicans have released the tapes. The only clamor I’ve heard for them has been from television producers. The transcripts have been out for a long time. Where is the news? If there is an arch-Republican political calculus behind releasing the tapes, I’d be fascinated to know what it is. In fact, I’m in the novel position of being in agreement with people like Lanny Davis, who argue that all this does is reduce a serious national situation to prurience and voyeurism.
My guess is that the tapes will change few minds. Those who hate Linda Tripp will continue to do so. Those who defend Linda Tripp will continue to do so. But at the margins the tapes will hurt Tripp. Many people believe she had a single motivation from the outset, and therefore much on the tapes will be seen as pretense. Linda Tripp’s situation was far more complex. When I met Linda, she would only talk fondly of Monica Lewinsky. Lewinsky has every reason in the world to hate Linda Tripp. But that doesn’t mean that Linda set out to hurt her.
Thankfully this television-made contretemps will blow over by Thursday when Ken Starr will hopefully straighten out the keel on the ship of state.
THERE THEY GO AGAIN
In today’s Washington Post, George Lardner Jr. writes an epic-length hit piece on Lucianne Goldberg, my mother. It was probably very difficult for him to write such a long piece with his panties bunched up like they seem to be. It is a relentlessly nasty piece, dredging up “friends” of my mom’s who, with a few exceptions, I’ve never heard of or met. The few real friends are quoted as negatively as possible.
As for the enemies, the renowned succubus Kitty Kelly makes her dutiful appearance. Lucianne Goldberg and Kitty Kelly have been Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty for two decades. Kelly has been trying to slither her way into this story and scratch out my mom’s eyes all year long. In the end, with enemies like her . . . Dominick Dunne says he stopped speaking to his friend of thirteen years because he was offended by the taping. I know first hand the real story, and the idea that Nick Dunne is standing on principle is laughable. He’s standing on a mountain of ego. My mom and Dominick Dunne have been fighting like ladies bridge partners for almost a year. I always thought Dunne was a nice guy, but he’s behaving like my mom won the blue ribbon in a blueberry pie contest and he’s throwing a tantrum about it being store-bought.
Obviously, I am a little close to the subject matter. But it seems to me the piece is a sea of agendas that would give Jacques Derrida a headache trying to deconstruct. Lardner never spoke to me about the piece, but managed to find people my mom couldn’t pick out of a lineup. Ultimately though, the piece is so damn long and so one-sided, it will probably go nowhere, especially in the fog of the tape release. The further you get from it, the more it resembles a bad Chinese meal — an hour after consuming it your left with an empty feeling and a bad taste in your mouth.
PERJURY IS PERJURY
The best piece of the day is in the New York Times, under the headline, “In Truth, Even Little Lies are Prosecuted.” It turns out, lo and behold, that perjury in civil cases is prosecuted. People go to jail for it. What is odd about the piece is that it doesn’t discuss the number of people who go to jail for lying to a Federal Grand Jury, which in my mind is more pertinent to the impeachment debate.