Last Call

Last Call

A Hopeless ‘R’

By From the January-February 2014 issue

After a conversation about politics, my grandmother and I used to say, “Isn’t it terrible how Republican we are? Aren’t we just hard-bitten, incorrigible Republicans? Isn’t it terrible?” Yes, it is. I am so Republican, I sometimes worry about myself.

I never wanted to be a partisan (and I never wanted to be a Republican, though that’s another, if related, story). I would rather be a nice above-the-fray type. “A pox on both their houses” and all that. David S. Broder, the late “dean” of the Washington press corps, seemed to float above the parties. And think of two other Davids: Gergen and Brooks.

Many of my colleagues say, “I’m not a Republican, I’m a conservative.” They usually say it with pride and satisfaction (self-satisfaction, actually). Well, I’m a Republican, as well as a conservative. I’ll vote for (almost) anyone with an “R” after his name.

Last Call

Holiday Home-Going

By From the December 2011 - January 2012 issue

From our December 2011 issue.

Fifteen Christmases ago I prepared to leave Washington, D.C., and a five-year stint in politics, to return to journalism. It was a perilous journey.

The plan was straightforward: Finish work as a Capitol Hill staffer on Friday the 20th; spend Saturday loading my little Saturn; crash that night on a friend's sofa-bed in the suburbs (where a loaded car would be less likely to be broken into); drive to a maternal aunt's house near Asheville, N.C., on Sunday; and arrive home in New Orleans on Monday the 23rd (with a jaunt Christmas Day to my paternal grandparents' in Pass Christian, Miss.), there to logistically regroup for a while before my new job in Little Rock.

Last Call

Smoking Gun

By From the November 2013 issue

A FEW MONTHS back I was standing in a car park in the UK smoking a cigarette. Not one of those hideous underground car parks, but a nice one, in the open air. A woman in a white 2008 Fiat Panda drove two hundred yards over from her spot and pulled up next to me and wound down the window. “Your smoke is damaging my health, please put your cigarette out,” she said. I just stared at her, unable to speak. Her face was wreathed in this curious mixture of jubilation and vindictiveness and—I don’t think this is going too far—hatred. She hated me on sight. And she was utterly jubilant in being able to do so, that she had someone in her sights on whom she could exact her vituperation. Seeing me smoking satisfied some desperate craving within the woman, more desperate perhaps than the one I have which makes me smoke cigarettes. She may well have been driving around all day searching for someone to persecute. My guess is that she worked in a local government social services department, probably as a middle manager, and owned cats, but I cannot prove this. That may be just my prejudice coming through. 

Last Call

Road Ragin’

By From the October 2013 issue

I HAVE A disease. That may sound strange given that I’m a seemingly healthy 26 year old with a rigorous five-hours-a-day hot yoga routine. But in today’s victimization culture, I’m convinced not only that I can be classified as sick, but also that my sickness should entitle me to, at the bare minimum, free health care for the rest of my life, promptly accessible by a call on my Obamaphone. My condition is called intermittent explosive disorder, or in more common parlance, road rage. I’m a generally calm and measured person who develops homicidal tendencies behind the wheel of a car. If you’re a fellow RR-sufferer, you know the noisome cocktail of symptoms: the rush of blood to the head, the parched grip on the steering wheel, the urge to shout “Learn how to drive!” every time a fellow denizen of the highway commits a microscopic infraction.