Note: I Will Now Address a Serious Issue

Goldberg and Orlean

Note: I Will Now Address a Serious Issue

Goldberg and Orlean

Note: I Will Now Address a Serious Issue
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Jan. 28 1999 10:01 AM

Goldberg and Orlean


Dear Satanic Possession Lady,


Good morning! I hope you're feeling better. It sounded like you were having a rough day there, what with your head spinning around like Linda Blair. Do you think it's coincidence that Linda Blair, who was possessed by the devil in a movie, and Linda Tripp, who is possessed by the devil in Maryland, have the same first name? Do you know of any other devilish Lindas? Maybe we can do a joint-piece on this subject for some other magazine, because--this is our last day together! Woe is me. Of course, Slate could extend us to Friday, or into next week, or possibly give us each six-year contracts worth $70.9 million, like Allen Iverson.

As for your friend who thinks this is fizzling, I say, let 'em talk. I don't feel fizzly, do you? I think we're just blooming now, like one of those orchids in that thrilling, chilling, spine-tingling new book of yours (last day to hype your book; I better make the best of it).

We had another mind-meld yesterday, devil-woman: I have long thought (well, for the past two weeks) it would be a great feature story to find all those ridiculous couples you know exist who are trying to time conception in order to have the first baby of the new millennium. (By the way, I don't know about you, but I'm a strict millennium sourpuss, meaning that I will celebrate the new millennium--to the extent that I celebrate any New Year's--on January 1, 2001.)

I have an actual serious issue I'd like you to address, plz: Now that it's crystal clear the House managers have lost their case, can you explain why not one of these yahoos ever bothered to make the most compelling argument for the President's removal, namely, the national security argument, which has been made only occasionally over the past several months?

It goes like this: Here's the President in his office. In walks a woman he doesn't know who flashes him her thong underwear. What does he do? Call security? No. He gets a blowjob. By doing so, he puts himself in a position to be blackmailed. It apparently never crossed his mind that various people around the planet would like to be able to blackmail the President of the United States. I'm amazed he never thought to himself, "Hmmm, I wonder if whatever-her-name-is is working for the Iraqis, or the Russians, or the Cubans, or the French." Monica could have been a corporate Mata Hari, trying to force the President to call up the Justice Department's anti-trust people and order them to drop their investigation of, I don't know, Microsoft. Thank God all Monica wanted was love, and a job--any job--at George magazine.

Gerald Ford said--it isn't it a great morning when you get to quote Gerald Ford--an impeachable offense is whatever the House says it is at any given moment in time. So why didn't they go after him for being absurdly reckless? Please discuss. This is an open-book test. Please feel free to consult textbooks, or Jeffrey Toobin articles.


Big Daddy

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.