A few days ago, I opened my New York Times to the spot which used to be occupied by the admittedly silly, vacuously addictive but frequently entertaining column known as Boldface Names only to see -- it was still gone. In its place was an article about the former EPA director Christie Todd Whitman and the founder of Greenpeace getting together on promoting nuclear energy, near misses since Chernobyl, blah, blah, blah -- real news for God's sake!! Every day since it disappeared I've keep checking, hoping against hope it might magically reappear but no, clearly it is not coming back.
All right, I myself am a former Boldface namer and OK, I admit it, even got rave reviews from them and I confess -- I loved it!! Boldface Names was old-fashioned "seen about the Big Apple" harmless fun harkening back to an era before the 24-hour drumbeat of celebrity gossip devoted to the exploits of actresses I don't watch on Lost and whether or not pop stars named after beaches stormed in World War II should have their children removed by social services appeared. It was like enjoying a Greyhound in a world of Mojitas! And when I made Boldface Names, I felt like I had made it! Boldface is one powerful font -- even when you get a book review in the Times your name is in regular font ! What is a former BFN to do now? When I'd see my name in the column I'd cut out the article and put it up over my desk -- now that I've been reduced to regular font, I'm depressed. The only thing I've got now where my name is in boldface is a notice from the parking violations department about an unpaid ticket. I taped that up, but it just doesn't have the same effect.
Of course as any sentient adult in the US must know by now, this is all due to scandal which has blanketed news cycles involving second stringer Page Six contributor Jared Stern's attempts to extract money from billionaire businessman Ron Burkle in return for receiving more flattering coverage. Full disclosure, I too have been on Page Six and I never bribed anyone -- ok, not entirely true, I did invite Anthony Haden Guest, who is somehow associated with the page, to perform in one of my fired essay evenings but the guy has been fired -- numerous times -- even trade! But why Mr. Burkle should pay attention to extortion from Mr. Stern is beyond me. The writer, with whom I am not acquainted, was frequently photographed in a fedora and a monocle!
As a second stringer contributor myself to NPR's Day to Day, I believe I can say with authority I can't imagine anyone taking me seriously with any financial propositions, particularly were I sporting a fedora and monocle! Moreover, Can a person be taken seriously in this day and age in a monocle? It is commonly accepted wisdom that someone in a fedora and monocle is not to be trusted with financial propositions. OK, I just made that up, but it seems like it should be commonly accepted wisdom!
OK, I admit -- as an actress I have appeared on screen in eyewear that was outfitted with clear glass, worn for effect only, to make me appear perhaps more intellectual, but a monocle, that's where I draw the line.
This entire scandal reminds me of the other recent supposed scandal which gripped the news cycles -- the disclosure that author James Frey's stories were less than factual. Having dated my fair share of former heroine addicts let me unequivocally state, they were all liars and given to exaggeration about everything, particularly details of how down and out they really were.
And now this nonstory has prompted the Times to, as was said in the paper, focus on its more journalistic pursuits.
I propose a compromise solution. Why not pepper the Boldface Names with real actual newsworthy items. To start with, let's galvanize those former generals who recently banded together in effort to get the military back on track , I mean some of them are downright adorable in a very Gregory Peck old-movie-star way that just screams out Boldface Names!
It is my hope the retired generals throw their collective weight, instead, into a effort to steer the Times back on track up. Rummy isn't going anywhere, at least not this week, but Tarzan is opening up on Broadway and there's nothing I'd like to read more about than Anthony Zinni on the arm of Liza with a Z at the opening-night party in the Boldface Names column.