Art Garfunkel made some noise this week, paying a stiff fine for his recent marijuana use, but otherwise all we could detect were the Sounds of Silence. On Thursday the biggest story since the last time the Red Sox won a World Series hit the Internet. Everyone who is anyone, which domestically alone means some 250 million Americanos, quickly learned about its substance. Everyone immediately knew what the story meant. Yet on Thursday evening and Friday morning not a word about it penetrated the Evening News and the next day papers.
Even on his fabled web Media Notes, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz, who has given new meaning to comprehensive daily coverage, ignored the big story, thus erasing it from history. So, on the day when the only question to raise was, "Is Kerry kaput?" Kurtz began his Friday column with, "Could George Bush lose?" (Tell us, Howie, when did you first become an editorial writer?) To compound his cowardice he even resuscitated Arianna, who's been pondering the Kerry "style" -- in this case how it falls short of Howie Dean's, not Bill Clinton's. Has ever a media culture produced a sicklier collection of contemptibles?
It figures that the Kerry connection has fled to Kenya, all so that life might yet against imitate what passes for art. Some years ago in the movie White Mischief the drop-dead Gretta Scacchi portrayed a former London intern dividing her amorous time between two John Kerry's lording it over colonial Kenya while their country was at war. Their names alone suggest a Kerry family tie: Sir Jock Delves Broughton and Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll. In due course they all made war on Mozambique, from which Sir John Kerry carried away his ostensible wife, Lady Teresa, as booty he's never known what to do with since. How did she ever clear U.S. Customs?
Some might think it's all in a day's work. For instance, it's widely known that the current executive editor of the New York Times is married to a former flame of Kerry's. Big John reportedly dated Patti Davis, a moderate Reagan Republican. He was close to TV soap opera stars. The scary thing is that someone might link him to Arianna herself.
Which is not to say that some good might not come from the recent turbulence. Hot debates are underway concerning the ideal Kerry running mate. Thanks to the Kenya cutie, the road to a suitable partner has been cleared. Among the finalists and their advantages:
Ms. Gennifer Flowers: Brings a wealth of hands-on experience. An intimate of the greatest Democrat presidential hunk since Michael Dukakis, whom Kerry served as lieutenant governor, she survived unprecedented media scrutiny, deflected attention from the man in the hot seat, and emerged on good terms with the New York Times in recent weeks, after more than a dozen years on its blacklist.
Ms. Monica Lewinsky: Provides great name recognition, a subservience that reminds Democrat old-timers of Hubert Humphrey's happy service to Lyndon Johnson, and solid bureaucratic command of White House, Pentagon and United Nations operations. Especially admired overseas if widely feared in the Middle East.
Ms. Jane Fonda: Would bring ideal balance to the ticket, her North Vietnam travels matching Kerry's knowledge of South Vietnam. Could rally remnants of the Chicago 7 to Kerry's side and is known as the fiercest of loyalists. No longer beholden to Ted Turner, Tom Hayden, and Roger Vadim.
Ms. Juanita Broaddrick. A controversial choice, but a necessary one if the Kerry strategy of running against the George W. Bush of 1972 is to win broad-based support. Herself a victim of the notion of old news, Ms. Broaddrick would legitimize Kerry's commitment to timelessness and gentlemanly ideals.
Ms. Paula Jones: But only if winning a Southern state proves necessary and James Carville hasn't run out of $100 bills.
Among the losers: loose-lipped Wesley Clark, the one-time imploder of Kosovo who has now imploded one too-many times; Richard Gephardt, who is rumored to respect women; and the biggest cutie of them all, John Edwards -- an unfortunate victim of namism. A two-John ticket will never wash with the American voter. Kerry needs no reminders that Jane Fonda's nickname for him is Klute.
We won't call him that. Just the usual EOW, which he'll mistake for Erotica of the Week. Close, but no cigar.