Secret Struggles of the Blessed and Privileged
Last week was a total grind around Calbuzz executive headquarters: We come home with a sunburn from a weekend playing Pebble Beach and our assistant tells us the pool house has termites, the Jaguar place can’t service the car until Tuesday, the 152-inch flat screen is on back order and there’s not a single aft balcony stateroom left on the Cabo cruise. And the gardener simply will…not…stop with the leaf blower.
At times like this, when the world is too much with us, we head straight for White Whine, one of our favorite bookmarked sites, where we can quickly put things in perspective by checking out folks with real problems – from careers (“it’s just that I went to college so I shouldn’t be waiting tables or whatever”) to clothing (“breakin’ in a new pair of Sperrys is the worst”) to travel (“just had my praline spread confiscated by TSA Dulles. As far as I’m concerned the terrorists have now won”). Tales of true suffering always make us feel more empathy for political and media types near and dear to Calbuzz:
Gavin Newsom. Poor, poor Prince Gavin. It’s not enough that he had to go get his own TV show because he’s sooo bored with his crummy $136,000 lite governor gig with its crummy staff, benies, perks and pension. No, he actually has to go to Sacramento one — sometimes two! — days a week, as he understandably complained on the set of the show to his buddy, hotel man Chip Conley:
Between segments of the show, Conley asked, “How often are you up in Sacramento?”
“Like one day a week, tops,” Newsom said. “There’s no reason…It’s just so dull…Sadly, I just, ugh, God.”
It takes a strong, strong man to endure.
Elizabeth Warren. At least half of us have a major crush on Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor who’s running for Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat in Massachusetts, so it comes as no surprise that we greatly sympathize with her desire that the media just stop already with reports about her career-building affirmative action claims to Native American heritage.
As far as we’re concerned, all doubt was put to rest on the matter with disclosure of documentary evidence that she’s contributed recipes to the “Pow Wow Chow” cookbook, including that traditional Cherokee favorite: “Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing.”
Grover Norquist. It makes our blood boil that so many Republican congressional wannabes are all of a sudden refusing to sign Grover Monster’s no-tax-pledge, denying him the high homage and honor that is his due as the single most important person in Washington, if not the world. So it serves them right when Grover injects himself into local House races, like the one in California’s 24th , where he’s smashing and bashing Abel Maldonado for Maldo’s evil behavior in trying to keep the state government running back in 2009, while promoting an under-appreciated third rate actor who can’t spell his own name right.
Bob Woodward. After Woody spent his career dragging other people’s secrets into the light, it’s simply outrageous that a young reporter would do the same to him. But now comes Jeff Himmelman, who learned everything he knows about reporting from Woodward, writing about a previously undisclosed interview with Washpost Pooh-Bah Ben Bradlee, who expresses doubt about Mr. Watergate’s whole Deep Throat garage yarn:
“You know I have a little problem with Deep Throat,” Bradlee told journalist Barbara Feinman in an unpublished 1990 interview, according to Himmelman’s account. “Did that potted [plant] incident ever happen?…. And meeting in some garage. One meeting in the garage? Fifty meetings in the garage? I don’t know how many meetings in the garage…. There’s a residual fear in my soul that that isn’t quite straight.”
How could Himmelman even think of publishing such a thing? Good for Woodward for trying to ruin his life.
Richard Grenell. Pity Poor Richard. The erstwhile flack for Mitt Romney got tarred, feathered and run out of town by Republican evangelicals for being gay, after a lifetime of loyal service enabling and ennobling the party that hates gays. Now he’s reduced to spending his time renovating his house in Palm Springs where at least, he told our pal Hank Plante, he doesn’t have to keep proving how brilliant he is:
“First of all I am a huge fan of midcentury modern architecture, furniture, culture, and I combine that with the Southern California sensibilities of life: being very smart but not having to wear it on your sleeve and prove to everybody you’re so smart.”
Dianne Feinstein. How in the world is California’s Senior Senator supposed to have a fair shot of being elected for a fifth time when her name doesn’t even appear at the top of the ballot in every county? Is it too much to ask that in a race where she’s faced with high-powered challenges from the likes of Orly Taitz and several dozen other fierce rivals, she shouldn’t have to remind people who she is before they go to the polls, as she did in Santa Barbara last week:
“I am on the ballot,” she said. “I’m third from the bottom so please find the name.”
Luke Russert. Not since Edward R. Murrow has there been such a talented, insightful and courageous TV journalist as NBC’s Luke Russert, spawn of the late Tim Russert, who nonetheless keeps hearing that he only got his job because of corporate patronage and who his father was. As if.
“There will always be people who will say, ‘Oh, he’s only gotten where he is because of his father,’ and that certainly helped. But I’ve been able to stay here because of me.”
If you don’t believe it, just check out his incredible body of work.
Michael Bauer. Our old friend and Old Chronicler is hands-down the best restaurant critic in the U.S., if not the universe, so we take as gospel his word that things are not easy out there on the front lines of the food beat, where he’s forced to put up with such torments as only one cocktail list per table, mismatched flatware and servers mouthing clichés. Not to mention that he has to visit every restaurant at least three times before he can write.
The horror, the horror!
Jeff Himmelman’s book on Ben Bradlee is the best read I’ve had in years.
Meanwhile, that quote from my Richard Grenell story about his being “a huge fan of midcentury modern architecture, furniture, culture,” brought me this email from a reader: “If he loves midcentury that much, he’s in the right party.”
I just think it’s sad that Abel is running for office and this is the first I’ve heard of it. I guess it’s going pretty well, right?
As for Warren, Rachel Maddow (who some of us also have a–completely platonic–crush on) reported that Elizabeth Warren appears to be 1/32 Native American. For the record, the chief of one of the bigger tribes is also 1/32 Native American. It appears that’s all you need to run for the highest office in the tribe. So, if confirmed–and I did read one report that said the genealogist who’d verified her ancestry has now backed off–Warren does have a right to list it as part of her heritage. That said, why should I care? I care about her economic policies. And I like those a lot!