Politics & Policy

London Dispatch

Checking in on and from the U.K/E.U.

I’m in London, which is cool. Actually, it’s not so much cool as windy — there are near-record and deadly gale-force winds plaguing southern Britain. But you wouldn’t know it from looking at British hair. It seems the young Brits take their ‘dos very seriously these days — which is not necessarily the same thing as keeping them clean, mind you. Nonetheless: It seems that young British men have re-channeled their imperial ambitions to keeping their coifs fashionable. Indeed, assuming cultural trends still move westward across the Atlantic, then I can now report that the Eighties wet look will be returning soon to American shores very soon..

I know what you’re thinking: “This is precisely the sort of hard-hitting cultural reporting that keeps me coming back to the Goldberg File week after week.” Well, I just want to tell you: Message received! In my next dispatch: Whither Euro-House Music.

Anyway, I’m actually here in London to tape a TV special on Iraq for the BBC. It’s actually a pilot for an allegedly “hip” new politics show, so I have no idea if or when it will be on TV here or anywhere else — though I suspect it will be on German TV eventually, if only because I have learned that everything is on German TV eventually. I have one German channel in my hotel room and I’ve spotted such golden oldies as Airwolf, The A-Team, and a host of ancient American dramas that I’d forgotten ever existed — all of which involve American settlers of the old west.

Speaking of golden oldies, I’m writing this as I watch Logan’s Run on Turner Classic Movies — a.k.a. “one of the few reasons we shouldn’t feed Ted Turner to feral cats face first.” As for Logan’s Run, I had not remembered that so much of this dystopian classic — and classic bit of nonsense really — actually took place in a shopping mall (the escalators are in every scene).

If you don’t remember, Logan’s Run starring Michael York, was based on the premise that overpopulation would reach the point where everyone would have to be put to death at the age of 30, society would be run by computers, and singles jumped from bed to bed with no regrets or consequences. In short, the film was a nearly pitch-perfect distillation of America’s hopes and fears in the 1970s. (Note to sci-fi geeks: I will only accept protests in defense of Logan’s Run from people who’ve actually seen it in the last few years. It is immeasurably worse than I had remembered, though in a pioneering way).


Well, it’s the next day. I’m in my dressing room here at the BBC — a compound no smaller than Saddam Hussein’s most lavish presidential compounds. Generally speaking, it has been an astounding learning experience to see where the arguments are here. These guys consider the “war for oil” argument much more serious and damning than most others. Indeed, fair Britannia is ruled by clichés about the war far, far more than anyplace outside American college campuses. But, since my computer crashed and I lost what I’d written up to the words “pioneering way” above, you’ll have to tune in Wednesday for the rest. Sorry, but for the record, this is the shortest G-File ever. You….were….there!

Cheers (as these strange-yet-strangely-endearing people say),



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