Jeffrey Goldberg

Jeffrey Goldberg

A weeklong electronic journal.
March 12 1999 9:30 PM

Jeffrey Goldberg

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I am writing in a real hurry this morning, because I am eager to plant myself in front of the television and watch the Dow break 10,000. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when the Dow breaks 10,000. Perhaps I will buy back--at $83 a share or so--the AT&T stock I sold last year for $40. That was a smart move. (Here's my latest investment strategy: On New Year's Eve, I'm going to invite all my friends over with their laptops. At midnight, we'll turn the laptops on and see which ones explode. Then I'll buy stock in the computer makers whose laptops survived.)

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This is my last diary entry, and, as such, I think it's important to report on what I've learned this week:

1) People read the diary. As evidence, I cite the impressive number of hostile e-mails I have received.

2) People who read the diary suffer from an acute irony deficiency. (Get it? Irony deficiency?)

3) Strike that--people who read the diary and then write hostile e-mails suffer from an acute irony deficiency. I have no knowledge about people who read the diary and then don't write. I don't even know if they exist.

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The hostility has been focused on two particular points I raised this week: The first was my mild defense of the Second Amendment, which provoked, predictably, outrage. One e-mailer accused me of being a "brainwashed cracker." Let me tell you something, buddy: I wear your scorn like a badge of honor. I've long fashioned myself a bit of a redneck (a "Jewneck" is what I call it), though I'm self-conscious about it, which I suppose negates any real redneckedness on my part. But I do feel genuine affection toward NASCAR, and I own a John Deere cap. Another writer suggested that, unlike his highly evolved self, I apparently didn't care that children get shot in school. Let me make my position perfectly clear: I think that children getting shot in school is bad.

The hostility--more surprising to me, in this case--was also provoked by my vigorous defense of SUVs and the men who love them. One of my best friends, in fact, nearly stroked out when she read my pro-SUV tract. I told her what my friend Bill Powers told me in justifying the purchase of a Ford Explorer: As a parent, you are morally bound to take the Israeli position. Meaning, Israel does what it has to do to defend its people, and parents must do what they have to do to defend their children, and if that means protecting them from the world with two tons of steel, so be it. (When I mentioned the Israeli model of home defense to Malcolm Gladwell, who recently wrote an anti-SUV editorial in The New Yorker, he expanded on the theme, suggesting that the true Israeli position would be for me to preemptively slash the tires of any SUV in my neighborhood that is larger than my SUV. Let me state here, today, that if such an event occurs in American University Park in Washington, D.C., it wasn't me).

Another correspondent tried the psychological approach on me, suggesting that I come to grips with my feelings of "male inadequacy" before I kill people in passenger cars. This criticism is off base, because I am not inadequate. I am semi-adequate.

An observation: SUVs are the new cigarettes. The cultural elite is turning on SUVs, and when the cultural elite turns against a product, it creates fertile ground for class-action lawsuits. Big Tobacco, meet Big Truck.

Truth be told, I'd rather be driving a minivan. There, I said it. How inadequate could I feel if I'm willing to admit that? Granted, I don't want to drive up to the firing range in a Chrysler Town & Country, but I'll get over it. Anyway, gasoline prices are creeping back up, and minivans get about 4 miles to the gallon, as opposed to SUVs, which get 4 gallons to the mile.

I have to go now--the market's opening in a few minutes. I'm still not sure how I'm going to celebrate when the Dow breaks 10,000. Maybe I'll go outside and shoot my SUV.