THINKING TUNA FISH, TALKING DEATH: Essays on the Pornography of Power by Robert Scheer

THINKING TUNA FISH, TALKING DEATH: Essays on the Pornography of Power

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Selections from the swashbuckling journalism of Scheer, former editor of Ramparts and New Times, current national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, and author of With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush, and Nuclear War (1982). Anyone who enjoys the journalistic equivalent of Don Rickles' comedy will relish this volume. Scheer practices a shoot-from-the-hip writing style, but with the cold calculation of a Wyatt Earp. The collection at hand is a diverse brew, including his famed Playboy interview with interviewer-par-excellence Oriana Fallaci (Scheer's portrayal: ""It was like throwing two Bronx alley cats into a gunny sack and letting them have at it. . .This was the first assignment I've done for Playboy over a ten-year period for which I feel I was underpaid""); a description of the Meese Commission on Pornography (in which he describes Meese, at ease in a restaurant, ogling the cocktail waitresses, as well as Scheer's meeting with a carload of commission members, during which they made such comments as ""nice-looking hooker""); an acerbic reflection on the TV news industry in the person of Joan Lunden (who admitted to never having followed the newspapers, yet was offered a news anchor position--if she changed her name from Blunden). One criterion in judging old columns is, of course, how they hold up in the light of history. Here, Scheer's bombastic prose gets more mixed reviews. For example, his writings about the limits of US power in Vietnam, written in 1965, seem prescient. On the other hand, writing in 1972, he appears somewhat naive about North Vietnam's ultimate intentions. Overall, though, most entertaining--as Scheer thrusts, parries, and cuts with his rapier-sharp prose.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Hill & Wang/Farrar, Straus & Giroux