Pinocchios

by Jay Nordlinger

In today’s Impromptus, I hopscotch around, as usual. I begin with the Republicans and health-care reform, and end with Linda Bridges, our late colleague here at NR.

I’d like to publish some mail touching on previous columns. A reader from Toronto wrote to say that he thought of me while reading his program at the National Ballet of Canada. They were doing a new Pinocchio, choreographed by Will Tuckett, the distinguished Englishman.

Over the years, I have railed against what I call “safe-zone violations” — the intrusion of politics where it doesn’t belong. (I have an essay on this subject in my new collection, Digging In.) Also, in a column this month, I railed against “relevant” as maybe the most bogus word of our time.

The National Ballet of Canada had a Q&A with Tuckett in its program. Here is one exchange:

Q. “While this has always been a children’s story, Pinocchio seems to have been showing up in American politics a lot of late. Will this Pinocchio have any political overtones?

A. “… I don’t think people will be going to see Pinocchio hoping for a treatise on the global political situation. I hope people will be thinking that it will be great to go to the theatre and have an enjoyable evening where nobody is dictating what they should think. One of my least favourite words is ‘relevant’ in terms of art. As soon as you’ve said that awful word, you watch the project get up and run off the table into the land of irrelevant. …”

My hero, Will Tuckett.

In my Impromptus on Friday, I had an item on the National Enquirer, which seems to me the epitome of fake news — Cruz and JFK and all — but is not one of the publications that President Trump labels “fake news.” On the contrary, he treats it with great respect (and they have been great to him).

A reader writes,

My husband grew up in Florida and says that a large number of nationally recognized writers would take a sabbatical from their jobs at the Washington Post or wherever and come work for the National Enquirer, where they would make more in a couple of months than they made in a year at the regular job. He used to watch them sit around in a bar and dream up outlandish stories for the Enquirer, and said it was wonderfully entertaining, but he always understood why they never wrote for the Enquirer under their real names.

Well, I may be taking a sabbatical soon. I have some entertaining ideas, and I could think of ways to spend the dough …

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