Judith Regan and Me

I wasn't going to blog about this, but then GalleyCat had his experience on Regan's Sirius radio show, so I thought I should add to the evidentiary mix. The Thursday after Thanksgiving, I was interviewed by Ms. Regan for that show. My motive was clear, if not clouded by doubt about hanging telephonically with the woman who was this close to publishing the O.J. "hypothetical" murder memoir: when you're trying to sell a book, you'll talk to anybody willing to promote it. Especially since many of the more conventional avenues were closed to me: Good Morning America rejected me, for example, as "too highbrow"--apparently somebody had leaked word about my secret consulting with Stephen Hawking.

So, I'm sitting on the bed of our New Orleans home, fixin' to talk to Judith Regan on the phone, and wondering just how long it will take for "it" to come up. She comes on the line, and for the first ten minutes or so, she conducts an absolutely splendid interview, from an author's point of view. Asks good questions, elicits funny stuff about the book, seems interested.

Although....every few minutes, some little wisp of steam escapes that warns of the eruption to come, some little comment about "They're always gunning for successful women in this country"--which has nothing to do with anything we've been talking about. And she does say, at one point, "I suppose you've made fun of me." "Yes, I did one piece about you on my radio show."

Then, suddenly--Mt. Judith erupts: A five-minute (at the least) monologue about people gunning for successful women, "they" get them all eventually, why wasn't there this much ruckus when Katie Couric interviewed O.J. on the tenth anniversary of the murders (isn't Katie successful? I wondered to myself, since Judith was using all the oxygen at that moment), and then--"Harry, you're a journalist"--this based on her reading my earlier post on the O.J. book that linked back to my coverage of the Simpson civil trial--"what would you do if O.J. approached you and wanted to confess?" I demurred on the job description, but when she insisted on an answer, I fell back on the truth: "Judith, every day at the civil trial, O.J. would head straight for where I was sitting, because his pal Star Jones was sitting directly behind me, and I would mentally dig a hole straight to China every day at that point, so I don't think I would be the person to take any confession he might want to offer at this point." Or words to that effect.

But Ms. Regan was not to be brought back to reason, or my book. She kept on the subject of the drive against successful women, until I finally pointed out that nobody seems to be gunning for Oprah. "Not yet," she replied. Frankly, she seemed so at sea for an answer to the question of the shitstorm that had rained down on her, I finally offered one: "I think one reason people may have reacted so angrily and energetically against this project was because it was an opportunity to attack Rupert Murdoch."

"Why would they want to do that?" she asked. She really did.

I decided to be comedically blunt: "Because he's evil."

That really set her off. "You take his money. You're like all the Hollywood hypocrites, you criticize him but you're happy to take his money."

"Judith," I said, trying to get her back into a mood which might allow for mentioning my book again, "a good friend once told me that the only way to really hurt Rupert Murdoch is to take as much of his money as humanly possible."

"That's demented," she replied.

"I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a saint in the media-mogul business these days," I finished up.

For the record, there was no mention or suggestion of Jews or anti-Semitism in any of this half-hour-long conversation, even by her.

Of course, some of the words she did utter will make for fine dining in the "war" that her lawyer Bert Fields says is coming. I suggest a Bordelaise sauce. And, BTW, the aforementioned comic novel stubbornly remains available, and, yes, it does make a splendid Christmas/Chanukkah/Kwanzaa gift.