As Seen on TV
An email conversation about the news of the day.
July 2 2002 12:03 PM




You know E.J. is my role model, so how can I argue? He just said it better.

Otherwise, this seems like a particularly Venus-and-Mars kind of day: I don't care about staplers; you don't care about Martha Stewart. I do care what kind of music gets made, but it's no wonder people can't get too worked up over Eminem with bombs falling on that wedding party in Afghanistan, the Middle East in such a crisis that you keep thinking it can't get any worse, and who knows what facing us in Iraq.

Also, I think at some point you just get tired and try to pick your culture battles more carefully. I know I am so much more lax as a private duty culture cop here than I was at home and have a much harder time shielding the kids from violent TV and objectionable advertising. Before we moved to Italy, it was not only PBS only, but I actually had some problems with the way the kids spoke to each other on Dragon Tales, remember?

Now, we're sitting in the little family-friendly trattoria across the street, in the middle of the day on a Saturday, and the kids look up at the television the owners have on and see an explicit sex scene followed by a shot of a bride in her flowing white gown slitting an animal's throat. Naturally, the owners scurried to change the channel, but I'm not thrilled that you can stumble across that stuff at any hour of the day on television here. "Why would a bride do that?" Della kept saying.

Then I read in the Herald Trib today about how frequently rape goes unpunished in rural Mexico and think how lucky we are to be living in a place where television is more frightening than real life.

I have to disagree with the recent Slate piece on the Herald Trib, by the way. The critic called the paper "strange and archaic," with its black-and-white photos, but that quaintness is one of the things I love about it. It's hardly our only news source, but I am very happy to have the best of the NYT and Wash Post, the analysis and features in particular, in a form I can hold in my hands and take with me to the dentist's office. And slamming Flora Lewis' column in the Trib on the week she died, I'm sorry, is what my Kentucky grandmother would have called beyond the beyonds.

I know I shouldn't, but can I add just one more thing about the former vice president? I'm not saying he would win if he ran on the environment. I'm saying that since he seems determined to run—and anybody would be, in his position—he ought to do it in a way he would never have to apologize for. I'm saying that if he ran on an issue he cared about, as he purports to care about the environment, and used the campaign to put that issue in front of the American public every single day, the way John McCain did with campaign-finance reform, then even if he didn't win, I can think of worse ways to go out.




The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.