RIP, Miss Peggy Lee, and Talk, Too

Written by Taki on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts.

An embarrassment
of riches this week. Subjects to write about, that is. First of all, the great
Peggy Lee dies, and as they say, especially people of my generation, there will
never be another like her. She had great influence on me in my youth with her
rendition of "I Got It Bad and that Ain’t Good." I used to sit
up listening to the radio while locked up in prep school and in love with a
girl who was locked up in Ethel Walker’s, and my-oh-my, did I suffer. "Lover"
was another sultry song that raced my motor, but by then the sweet young thing
at Ethel Walker’s had become history.

Miss Peggy
Lee had the right stuff. She drank, took drugs, had affairs but sang like an
angel, and never complained. Today’s self-obsessed morons could take a
lesson from that brave lady.

And speaking
of bravery, there was none around when they scraped the bottom of boxing’s
deep barrel of grime and corruption at the shameful sham punch-up between Mike
Tyson and Lennox Lewis last week in New York. Rather than parade Tyson in front
of the public, it would be more appropriate to submit him to a psychiatric examination
to determine whether he is actually sane. Poor Mike–and he will one day
end up very, very poor. (Don King will make sure of that, the way he’s
made sure others whose careers he’s "guided" have ended up broke.)
Time and again he’s been forgiven by the gangsters who run boxing for monstrous
behavior inside and outside the ring. But if Tyson belongs in a looney bin,
King belongs behind bars. The two television companies that paid for last week’s
shenanigans should be blacklisted by all sport-loving people, but I shall not
be holding my breath for this to happen. There’s too much money involved,
too much corruption and much too much greed.

And then
we have my old friend Tina Brown. Too much has been written about her magazine’s
demise for me to add anything, so I won’t. Except for a take by an Englishman
by the name of Craig Brown. According to Brown–no relation–it was
the "visionary and skinny mogul Harvey Weinstein" who had the idea
to boost Talk’s advertising revenues by producing a "magazine
they don’t produce any more." "Great idea, Harvey," said
Tina, "but how do we turn it into the type of magazine they don’t
produce any more?" "You wanna know how we do it, Tina? I’ll tell
you how we do it! We don’t produce it any more!"

Well, the
pencil-thin and devastatingly handsome Weinstein did have a point. He managed
to achieve the most brilliantly successful closedown in magazine history. But
don’t any of you go to bed feeling sorry for Tina Brown. She understands
today’s culture and knows that fame is but the sum of misunderstandings
that accumulate around a well-known name. She’ll be back spinning in no
time, probably in some connection with the grotesque Clintons. And there’s
always Mort Zuckerman.

Which brings
me to Chuck Schumer and Enron. The media speaks of Enron as a Republican scandal,
but if anything it’s the Democrats who benefited and who tried hanky-panky.
Bush Cabinet members refused to help, the Clinton administration went out of
its way to, yet the unspeakably phony hacks are blaming the Bushies. Thanks
but no thanks. I know all about the lies of The New York Times, so nothing
surprises me.

Mind you,
this Thomas Friedman chap sometimes makes sense. He recently wrote about how
America has won the war in Afghanistan but has failed to win the hearts and
minds of the Arab-Muslim world. Well, a five-year-old could have told me the
same thing, but just because it’s obvious, it isn’t necessarily wrong.
There is an iron curtain of mistrust and misunderstanding (as Friedman calls
it) between America and the Muslims, but not for the reasons he gives. Which
is America’s failure to really explain itself to the Arabs. Uncle Sam does
not have to explain himself. Uncle Sam needs to reassess his thinking about
Israel, and reassess his policies toward the Saudis. When Benjamin Netanyahu
said following 9/11 that the militant Muslims do not hate America because of
Israel, but they hate Israel because of America, I realized to what extent Israel
is pulling our chain. America is loathed by the Arabs because its military might
is used by Israel to kill Palestinians. You can argue this until the cows come
home, but it’s the U.S.-Israel relationship that motivates terrorist attacks
against America and Americans. And it’s countries like Saudi Arabia that
finance the terrorists who carry out these attacks.

Given the
fact that anyone who dares to say anything against Israel is immediately denounced
as an anti-Semite by Norman Podhoretz and his ilk, it is hardly surprising that
most pundits won’t even hint at what I just wrote. At a dinner party one
month ago, Scott McConnell and I asked a writer friend which country was far
more likely to be a danger to the United States, Iraq or Saudi Arabia. "Iraq,
of course," he said casually.

Sorry, close
but no cigar. It’s the Saudis who finance those who export hate against
America, not Saddam.