Every once-in-a-while, FSTS will get a guest post from somebody. (Well, I think it's happened once before.) In any event, this was written for FSTS:
I am a journalist.
That’s all I can tell you. We have a very strict code about such things. We’re not allowed to reveal anything that might cause gratuitous pain, or embarrassment, or a nasty lawsuit.
And so I must remain an unnamed source.
The code, as handed down by Hammurabi through H.L. Mencken and Liz Smith, dictates very careful boundaries in which we are not permitted to humiliate, debase, shame, mock, deride or otherwise expose our subjects to the slings and arrows of Page Six. Unless, of course, we use a tissue-thin disguise, like, say, withholding the actual name, although-we-all-know-what-famous-movie-star-is-stepping-out-on-his-very-pregnant-wife-who-only-eats-turnip-pie-and-bathes-in-diet-Coke-and-has-a-tattoo-of-Andy-Garcia-on-her-forehead. You see my point.
But beyond identifying marks we will not go! It’s the code. And, another thing about this code: we journalists never, never, never turn on each other. If, let’s say (just some wild example that may or may not be true) I saw a gossipister, late of the New York Times, smooching with big time developer in the back of his limousine (which I probably did not), I would never write about it. Not with her name. Or anything close to her name. Maybe some identifying markers, like what-65-year-old senior sex-writer-for-the-New-York-Times-who-recently-took-a-buyout-and-lunches-at-the-Knickerbocker-Bar-and-Grill-with some-overage-has-beens-has-been-leaving-DNA-samples-on-what-real-estate-mogul’s-tongue? … But not her name. That’s just the way we roll. That, my friend, (if you are, indeed, my friend, is the code.
And so I was not shocked when my name did not come up in a recent column by a “former friend” in the style section of the Times. I mean, she did unleash all the bitterness at some supposed slight, which is essential for a good column (see this column for guidelines), she kept the haughty tone of spite and rage at her brave forbearance for the mysterious insult, and she kept the implied revulsion of the wounded populist throughout, but she didn’t name names.
Apparently the essence of her pique is clearly my fault, whoever I am. Our so-called friendship had ended a few years ago (for reasons I will not specify because it makes me look good, and I’m better than that), and she was surprised – SURPRISED! – that she wasn’t invited to the wedding of my son. It was as if she found out that gambling was going on in the back room. In any case, the aforesaid wedding, admittedly an event of some lofty and elite majesty, had taken place without her. Well, she was not invited. And it wasn’t an oversight. There’s the nexus.
But she got some satisfaction when she saw the wedding pictures on Facebook, noting in her column with an almost perfect arrow of schadenfreude that I gotten old.
She even tried to put some space between my son and his new in-laws by suggesting that I would never visit their summer home on the grounds (sic) that the grounds (very sic) were too grand. Good to see the old girl hasn’t lost her touch.
As the English say, she got some of her own back.
You have to admire a writer who skates so recklessly on such thin ice. After all, there was always the chance that her superiors (not that there are any) would chastise her for using their publication to settle a private score, attacking a fellow journalist, identifiable, albeit unnamed, in what was supposed to be an immaculate publication like the New York Times. (I shouldn’t have said that! Sorry, I meant the-newspaper-of-record.)
The point is, she stayed within the rules of the game, that is, she did not mention my name (nor will I,) however, I will say that I am a little surprised that she didn’t crash the splendid wedding. After all, we purposely had all her favorite foods (she loves to eat) and the champagne flowed like a river (she loves to drink champagne flowing like a river), we employed her favorite musical artists, (she loves to pretend to like her favorite music,) and we invited people she hates (she loves to hate people she hates,) and there were even some guests who were public figures, people she could actually name without being sued.
But enough about me. Like the Dude, the code endures.