A Friendly Phone Tap
Doug Wead, a longtime confidante to President George W. Bush, and now a man with a book to sell, recently disclosed tapes of his secretly recorded telephone conversations with the President, then governor of Texas. He explained that he taped the conversations because he believed they’d be an important historical legacy.
Some time ago, I began secretly tape-recording my telephone conversations with my friend and fellow writer, Renée. Some might view the public airing of these tapes as a betrayal of our friendship, a cheap publicity stunt, or long overdue revenge for her giving me stupid nicknames, like “Rockin’ Robin,” “Robin Red Breast,” and “Robin-laid-an-egg.” (For the record, I’ve never laid an egg.) I justify the secret tapings because I believe Renée’s going to be a huge historical figure one day. She’s an American, after all, and according to national obesity statistics, everyone who lives here is destined to become huge. I mean if I were on the telephone with Jesus or Paris Hilton, I would tape record them, too.
It’s true that many of our conversations concerned questions about Renée’s “immature” past. When she’d call me in the mornings to tell me she’d lost her house keys, her underwear, and her little Pekingese, Tater Tot, in the Astros locker room, she’d insist, however, that her activities involved nothing more than “just, you know, wild behavior.” But since I do know wild behavior, I turned up the recording device and articulated my questions very clearly.
“What about the rumors of cocaine?” I asked.
“I wouldn’t say cocaine,” Renée sniffed. “There are some code
words, ‘snow,’ ‘blow,’ ‘yayo’--proper ways to say things if you catch my
drift there, Robin-bobbin. Look, Ro-Ro, I’ve sinned and I’ve learned.”
The code words didn’t just apply to her drug and alcohol abuse and sexual promiscuity. She also used special words to talk about the gays. For example, when she met her fiancé’s parents, prominent evangelicals from Ohio, she knew her gay-hating in-laws wouldn’t like that she’d lived among the gays in New York and even allowed them to cut and color her hair. “I’ll just tell them my neighbors weren’t really homosexual, just French. Then I’ll fake a little trance, fall to the ground and writhe around some, and say everything changed when I accepted Christ into my life. It’s part of my schtick,” she said.
Renée also said a lot of harsh-sounding stuff about other writers even though, frankly, she’d still be a boozed-up loser blogging in her pajamas if it weren’t for my advice. “Joan Didion is going to wear very thin,” she said, accurately describing the writer’s physique. Philip Roth she dismissed as a “lucky hack. I will do nothing for him if he does to me what he did to Claire Bloom. Period. And there’s something fishy about Salman Rushdie, heh-heh-heh,” she laughed.
So if, all in all, the private Renée turns out to be not so different than the public one, then grossly selling out a close friend, disclosing her $10K-a-day powder habit, and breaking up her engagement, was nothing less than my patriotic duty to the public good. I just feel that the historical point I’m making—remember, Renée could be huge someday, and I happen to have a book to promote—trumps a personal relationship. I’ll always be friendly towards Renée, even if she doesn’t take my calls anymore.
The Seven-Figure Story
Renée here: The good news for Diane Sawyer today is that she won the Tsunami Lottery. With so many stories of wrenching devastation and pervasive loss and hopelessness, how DO you choose which to tell? Well, you wave some money and a book deal at the prettiest one of them all until she says yes: former Sports Illustrated cover model Petra Nemcova--you know, blond, crazy boobs, insane cheekbones--was caught in the tsunami and lost her fiance, and she's finally agreed to sit down with our Lady Di of Journalism. I don't discount for a minute the intensity Nemcova's personal tragedy, and if a 7-figure book deal's gonna make her feel better, she's fortunate to have found some good, lucrative solace. And I'm much happier that Di is talking to Petra rather than any of the other 499,000 tsunami victims, because...well...because she's hot?
My Protest Vote
So today is Presidents' Day, and I'm hard at work, unAmericanly not
taking the day off! I'd like to think of me, slaving away here sans health care, as a protest vote since my vote in November clearly meant nothing. Take that, W. -- it hurts, don't it? (Oh, that's right, you wouldn't know what it means to hurt since you probably have a good prescription plan, too.)
And what we meant by "Chat With R&R"...
...was, evidently, "listen," because apparently no one else can post to this blog but us right now. And so for now, you'll simply have enjoy reading our thoughts on major world events like, "I, personally, was a little alarmed how closely yesterday's photo in the Times showing an Iraqi commando detaining a suspect resembled an outtake from 'Cops,'" (Suicide Bombers Kill at Least 35 in Baghdad Area
) and "Did Christo really intend to make the Gates look like a giant car wash, or was that just a happy coincidence?" ('The Gates'
But we're hoping to fix this and make it an actual chat because we're sure you, our friends and more importantly, our fans, have excellent opinions that we'd like to hear. So as soon as we get this all figured out, we'll look forward to getting your comments and debating them in a lively fashion. Or, if we sense it's a debate we might lose, we'll just start SHOUTING AT YOU IN ALL CAPS UNTIL YOU CONCEDE. It'll be grand, we promise... stay tuned!
Thanks, Renee's Mom!
Robin here... So we've been "live" for a day and are happy to report the SHAKING love-fest has begun. Right, fine, so our first e-mail was from Renée's mother, Jane, but she finds the site a must read. See that, we're not just hollering into a void... our mothers are totally listening.
The site should be accessible very very soon--and we've certainly been enjoying clicking the links and cruising around the site like kids whiz-banging down the aisles of a toy story. So we hope everyone else enjoys the site even just a tiny itty bitty as much as we do...let us know what you think. Email us.
website will be going live on Wednesday, the book hits the shelves on May 3, and the book party will be just a few days after that at Bubble Lounge in Tribeca...and since the whole point of writing a book was to be able to plan a party, well, that's a good thing.