Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious: what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?
Me: [In any given week, Katie, I read more journals than you did all last year. And I annotate the margins.]
Couric: But, like, what ones specifically? I’m curious.
Me: [Journal of Comparative Demographic Trends, Parameters of Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Pacific Rim Public Policy Review. Familiar with any of those? I didn’t think so.
[Ask me instead whom I have ghostwritten for: the Economist Intelligence Unit, Current History, Jane’s Defence Weekly…]
…Oh yes, and Foreign Affairs. Its standards certainly have been slipping lately. Sometimes, when I fall under the sway of what William Styron memorably termed “darkness visible,” I ask Piper to pull out the October/November 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs and read me the Rudy Giuliani essay. What preposterous tripe. Giuliani actually writes that maintaining international security is like policing a city. And he thinks the North Vietnamese insurgency was crushed by 1972!
Piper knows which passages I find especially ludicrous, and she makes googly eyes while she reads them. And we laugh and laugh.