I’ll have what she’s having

With my customary Sunday morning dread, I leafed past the letters in the NYT Magazine, knowing that just a page or two away, a Deborah Solomon “interview” with some thug, criminal, or charlatan would, as usual, be another head-slapping missed opportunity, wherein the creep in question would fool Solomon again, and in the journalistic equivalent of “Lucy and the football,”  Solomon would end up lying on the ground like Charlie Brown, vowing to kick that ball next time.  Each week, she’s funnier, in her way, than the mystifying, inaptly named, and mercifully now vanished “funny” pages.  Solomon must now do the spadework on her own, and she hardly ever disappoints.  But today was different.

It started off in the usual way, her “quarry,” Reza Pahlavi, a less handsome ringer for his dictator papa, the Shah, was just the sort of vermin you’d find scurrying around the mop boards when things are “in play” in Iran, and he looked more than ready to play Bugs Bunny to Solomon’s Elmer Fudd.  But then, things went off the rails.  Solomon asked actual questions.  Even some rather rude ones, by which I mean relevant.  I could hardly believe my eyes when her first question, which pretty much pegged him as the Ahmed Chalabi of of the “real men go to Tehran” set, finished with, “What do you do on a day-to-day basis, exactly?”

Of course,  ol’ Reza then coughs up some laughable drivel about democracy and separation of church and state, things the heir to the Peacock Throne obviously takes about as seriously as Dick Cheney takes a subpeona, but never mind.  Reeling, because everybody told him all she’d ask about was his dog, or maybe his shoes, Pahlavi must have just about tipped over when the next three questions basically nailed the glaringly obvious fact that he was, of course, continuing a decades-long, CIA assisted, intermittently US government supported, campaign for somebody, anybody, to get him his damned throne back.  He lied of course, and rudely, but danged if Solomon, in what must be a career first, called him on it.  ”Why would you call your decades of living near Washington ‘temporary’?”  This time he told the truth, he was so gobsmacked.  ”Because my desire has always been to permanently return to my homeland.”  And Washington is the only place on earth so kooky and corrupt as to actually make that happen.  Though on a roll, Solomon does not point that out, but she doesn’t have to.

At this point Pahlavi was probably already on his cell phone calling out the remnants of dad’s secret police to haul this impertinent bimbo off to Cheney’s now-vacant undisclosed location and teach her a thing or two, and Solomon clearly senses this, so she goes back into Solomon mode.  Since Pahlavi evidently doesn’t have a dog, she asks about a nice subject on which they agree, that bad, bad, Ahmadinejad, religion, and blah, blah, blah.  His cheesy, rehearsed answers for this crap are what he had on his note cards, so he can hang up the phone.  Things seem back on track.

But then Solomon asks about the secret police.  Really.  Like Obama, Pahlavi wants to focus on the future and not that icky past, but incredibly, Solomon persists, quite unlike her White House counterparts. “You don’t feel obligated to acknowledge your father’s misdeeds?”  (admittedly, “misdeeds” is a mild term for it, but this is Deborah Solomon….)  Pahlavi says his dad did the right thing by going into exile, and if only Ahmadinejad would do the same, everything would be great.

But just when I was absolutely convinced that Solomon had been taken over by a pod person who was an actual journalist, she went one better, making for TWO followup questions, on the same day.  Get this… “When your father fled Tehran and went into exile, he reportedly took a lot of money with him.  Would you describe yourself today as a billionaire?”  Of course Pahlavi lies, evades, and misdirects, but it’s obvious he’s as surprised at the question as I am.

Solomon wraps up thusly:  ”Do you feel bitter about not getting to be Shah?”   Granted, the question is worded in the curious, touchy-feely sort of daytime TV-speak for which Solomon is famous, but it’s a damned good one, and you can tell he doesn’t like it one bit.  He lies, of course, but pathetically, “This is not a personal matter.  This is not about me.”  Right.

Today, Charlie Brown finally, and rather unexpectedly, kicked the football straight through the goalposts.  That’s news that’s fit to print.


  1. Karen M says:

    Guess I’ll have to read that interview later on today…

    Thanks, ‘Hag! I’d never have known about it otherwise.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    Usually that page can be safely skipped, unless you want to start out Sunday in a bad mood. I do feel that it’s as important to recognize good behavior as it is to make fun of the other kind.

  3. heru-ur says:

    You wrote, “… continuing a decades-long, CIA assisted, intermittently US government supported, campaign for somebody, anybody, to get him his damned throne back.”

    Hag, we can agree on that sentence 110%. Another great post; thanks.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Thanks, Heru… We agree on a lot of things, as you know, and CIA/MIC meddling all over Hell’s half acre is certainly among them. Glad you liked.