Thursday, March 10, 2005

Is there Life after Dan Rather?

I am a little sad today because Dan Rather stepped down last evening from the CBS News, and it all feel very unfair, like what is happening in other areas of journalism to journalists except for Jon Stewart who is kidding(?) but very popular so they won't touch him(watch this space.) I had drinks with an old friend, a lawyer, who represented the producer who was fired for the same incident, but of course couldn't tell me the terms of the settlement. But I could tell from how he drank his Diet Coke that it hadn't been easy.
I also got sad because my friend Walter Wells will be leaving the Herald Tribune, and no matter how happy he says it makes him, it makes me sad because I love having friends in places where they can do some good, even though they won't let me write about Bali. But that does mean I will be able to write four letter words again free;ly, as the Times machine won't censor the mail, so that made me happy.
Then this morning I got sad again because Glenn Davis died. He was 'Mr. Outside' , a halfback for Army when I was a very very little girl and men always asked me where Mr. Inside was, like I would know what they were talking about. I finally did when someone explained it to me,(he and Blanchard, Mr. Inside, were a dynamic dup at West Point) so I got very interested in his career. Over the years I used it as a yardstick for how old people were, that they still made that tired reference. He lived a long life(he was 80) so I don't feel bad about that, but I do feel bad because he made a movie in which he played himself and hurt his knee, shortening his later career with the Rams and several muscles. But I mostly feel bad because his celebrity made him able to date Elizabeth Taylor and marry Terry Moore for a couple of years, which demonstrates, as I am beginning to see clearly, one of the perils of celebrity. Ever since I got to suck on movie stars in my tranparent Vanity Fair lollipop I have been meditating on those perils.
At the party itself I did have the nice experience of running into James Woods, and thanked him for my cousin Susie, whose toes he sucked on the train to New Haven to see Uta Hagen in a play. I had never met him, but Susie had told me of her adventure, and as written in an earlier e-mail, asked to go with me to the party, so I had an angel on my shoulder if not an escort at my side (Gwen Davis 1, it said firmly on the invitation.) So I told him I wanted to thank him for Susie, that being one of her happiest recollections. He wrinkled his not unintelligent brow and asked to be reminded of the incident, I told him as many details as I could recall Susie's telling me, and gradually he brightened and said "Like 25-30 years ago?" and I said yes, and he said "Cute little redhead. Yeah, I remember. Give her my best." I told him I couldn't do that as she was no longer with us, but didn't say she was on my shoulder, as many people don't know hpw to deal with that. So I just said I was grateful to him for having made one of her best memories. During my magic time in Bali, I had an assignment from Jack to sit in silence every day and invite someone in who was no longer with us. Susie could hardly wait her turn, but before her I was visited by a particularly beloved friend who had died in an untimely and unseemly fashion in Bali the year before, and told me, as I lamented the facts of her exit that she didn't like it either, but I shouldn't cling too hard to the things of this earth for myself or the people I loved. Still, I am back in New York, and it is very much of this earth, so I am having, as those nice folks say, "a challenge."
And still I feel a little grief-ful over Glenn because with him dies all I ever really knew about football.

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