Goldberg Kicks Ass!

Goldberg and Orlean

Goldberg Kicks Ass!

Goldberg and Orlean

Goldberg Kicks Ass!
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Jan. 25 1999 4:29 PM

Goldberg and Orlean

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Dear Susan J. Orlean III,

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It's easy to find out what I look like--just watch Monday Night Nitro on TNT. By day, I hack out copy, but by night I'm Goldberg, the professional wrestler. Can I tell you how hard it is to get through life with no neck? It's hard.

Can I also tell you what wonderful things Goldberg (you are a wrestling fan, aren't you?) has done for my name? I took my car for inspection last week at the D.C. DMV--yeah, it's as bad as it sounds--and the guy checking my brakes says, "Are you related to the wrestler?" This has happened to me a dozen times over the past year. Jews have reached a new level of assimilation in America when people associate our most stereotypical names (see: Bonfire of the Vanities) with professional wrestling. By the way, Goldberg Kicks Ass!

I don't think I'm related to Michelle Goldberg--do you know what she does now? By the sound of it, she's probably a fellow at the Sinclair Institute.

But speaking of back-waxing, I always thought that Condé Nast was lush. Do you mean to say there's no one walking the halls handing out hot towels every twenty minutes? I'm heartbroken. Hey, did you watch the State of the Union? I was nodding off, but I think I heard Clinton promise every American family a hot-towel warmer, just after he promised to buy every American family 100 shares of (pre-split) Microsoft, and a new mini-van, and a complimentary Swedish massage at Eve Arden.

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I've always wanted to color my hair, but I can't think of a color. Any suggestions? A friend of mine who until recently covered the Treasury Department bleached his hair surfer-blonde, like the guy from that band Goldfinger (which is Robert Rubin's favorite band--not Rancid, as many people think).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've seen some big and tall women on the TV news. We're not talking Roker-sized women, but still. Anyway, I don't knock Roker--he learned an important secret, which is that a black man in America has to appear non-threatening to heartland whites in order to succeed on the TV news. You can either be like Bernard "I Have the Personality of an Especially Humorless Gastroenterologist" Shaw, and act the part of wonk, or you can just be fat.

Seriously, in response to your query concerning my looks, have you ever seen "Shaft?" I look like Shaft.

Best wishes,

Jeff-Jeff

Jeffrey Goldberg is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and Slate. Susan Orlean is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Orchid Thief, which was published this month.