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The Big News


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Jonah Goldberg

Editor’s Note: G-File returns on Saturday for Supreme Court and Leon County commentary. For the latest from Goldberg, go to Just Like Ozzie and Harriet.

This column, as everyone who reads it knows, is an odd thing. Not odd like films from New Delhi or Alec Baldwin’s reputation as a “thinker,” but odd nonetheless. I have conversations with my belly (say Hi, Joe). My couch has in the past served as the Ed McMahon to my Johnny Carson (“hey-ohhh!”). However, to the best of my knowledge, Carson never spent hours lying on top of McMahon while watching Xena and Baywatch Hawaii (though I know a place in Amsterdam where you can get a comic book which depicts more or less that. Don’t ask.). I have discussed my hernia operation and my hangovers, my theories about Star Trek, my ever-expanding girth, the sloppiness of my apartment, and the Marion Barry cocktail my friends and I invented after he won reelection after being released from prison (it’s equal parts Jaegermeister, Kaluha, Bourbon and Coke; “So black not even the man can keep it down!”.

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The reason why this column’s “narrative thrust” — as people I can’t stand might say — became so personal is simple: I didn’t know how to write a daily column any other way and, besides, not very many people were reading when I started, which gave me the luxury of being wildly self-indulgent like Bill Clinton under an assumed name at a Bangkok hotel. But that’s all changed. The column’s not daily anymore and, as frightening as this may be for the future of the republic, lots of people read it (at last count, I have 50 million visitors an hour, if you count all “dimpled” visitor sessions. Of course, if you count accurately rather than use the Gore method, it’s a lot less).

Aside from the overall success of NRO (See What They’re Saying About NRO), I think one of the main reasons so many people keep coming back to this column is that, especially on the web, people like to make a personal connection with the author. In fact, the e-mail I get from readers is stunningly personal (sometimes too personal. For example, Tom, you should have that burning sensation checked out. Sharon, you might not get a prom date, but you can still have a good time with your brother). This is why the deadly serious pocket-protector conservatives are willing to tolerate my frivolity; the pop-culture junkies willingly endure my odes to Burke and Pliny the Elder (Pliny the Younger owes me money; and the Fozzy Bear jokesters will occasionally accept a serious column.

So why am I telling you all of this at a time when Al Gore’s lawyers are attempting to saw Florida off the seaboard like Bugs Bunny in that cartoon? Well, because a very important thing happened in my life recently and I feel like I should tell you about it. You’re like my pen pals.

Close readers of NRO and this column may have noticed that I had promised to announce some big news on Monday. But when Monday came around, there was no big news. Here is what happened:

In London last week I asked the fair (long-time NRO contributor) Jessica Gavora to marry me.

Here’s the wild part. She said, “Yes,” (although, technically she sort of just nodded and took the ring. Hmm, I better get confirmation).

I could not have been — or be — happier.

When we got back, I went around bragging about it like a six-year-old who’s just learned his father is Santa Claus. Of course, I reasoned, I must share this news with the hoards of hyper-intelligent G-file readers. They have so little joy, cooped up as they are in their veal-pen cubicles. And besides, damn it, I’m very proud. So, on Monday, I was about halfway through an engagement-announcement column, when Jessica called. She had just read the Friday column and saw that I had promised to announce “Big News.”

“You don’t mean our ‘big news’ do you?”

“Well, yeah. I do.”

“Jonah, this isn’t about the latest development with your belly. This is about our life.”

The conversation continued on like this for a while. And, while I didn’t actually say “Yes dear” it might as well have ended that way.

Soon I called in my lawyers. I pointed out that this relationship has been certified and while the official result is not assured, we should move on as quickly as possible with the transition and that means certain rights and privileges adhere to me. Her lawyers responded that certification is essentially a ministerial finding and that …

Okay, I give up. This joke can only make her look bad and that is the last thing I want to do. The truth is that Jessica soon changed her mind and she is fine with me boasting to the world that she was deluded enough to say yes to a bozo like me (If you’d like to tell her to reconsider her e-mail is [email protected]). Of course, I shouldn’t push my luck — we all know what happened to Howard Stern — but for the time being I’ve got a green light to tell you about it. One of these days I will recount the romantic tale of my actual proposal. There are actually plenty of things to discuss, like what this will mean for my couch since Jessica and I are moving to a new apartment on Friday. Fear not, he’s coming with us (“You are correct sir!”).

But for now, let me just confess that it is difficult for me to pay too much attention to the buffoonery in Florida as I am profoundly distracted by my relief and awe in her decision.

But since I owe you people some real content (you could always check out my syndicated column) let me share one anecdote that keeps coming to mind as Jessica and I plan our lives together.

When America and the world watched on television as the U.S. Senate debated whether Clarence Thomas had spotted a pubic hair on a Coke can, Judge Robert Bork commented to his friend (and my idol) Irving Kristol that they were surely witnessing the end of Western Civilization. Kristol dryly responded “Of course it’s coming to an end. But don’t worry about it. It’ll take a long time and in the meantime, it’s possible to live well.”

All I know is that even if that human toothache we call Al Gore manages to cheat his way into the Oval Office or if he forces the NASDAQ to continue caving like a Frenchman in the face of mild German aggression, I will still be able to live well. Because I will be with her.



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