Christopher Buckley is the author of eleven books, many of them national bestsellers, including THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, GOD IS MY BROKER, LITTLE GREEN MEN, NO WAY TO TREAT A FIRST LADY, WASHINGTON SCHLEPPED HERE and FLORENCE OF ARABIA.
Buckley was born in New York in 1952. He graduated with honors from Yale University, shipped out with the Merchant Marine and was managing editor of ESQUIRE magazine at the age of 24. At age 29, he published his first best seller, STEAMING TO BAMBOOLA: THE WORLD OF A TRAMP FREIGHTER and became chief speechwriter to the Vice President of the United States, George H.W. Bush.
In 1989, the late Malcolm Forbes hired him to start a new magazine, FORBES FYI. He has been editor of chief of the publication since then. Buckley has written for most national newspapers and magazines, including THE NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, WASHINGTON POST, TIME, THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY, SMITHSONIAN, US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, VANITY FAIR, VOGUE, CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER. He has published over 50 comic essays in THE NEW YORKER magazine. In 2002, Buckley received the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence.
Naylor made his living by defending the tobacco industry which is responsible for killing 1200 people a day.
“We need not more confrontation, but more consultation.” Steal from the Jesse Jackson School of Meaningless but Rhymed Oratory.
He told the tale of Turkish Sultan Murad IV’s anti-smoking hysteria. Murad IV beheaded people for breaking his anti-smoking ban.
Nick Naylor’s office, the Academy of Tobacco Studies, is on K Street in Washington, D.C.
K Street is known as the location of many lobbyists.
At one point he mentions the 'Nuremberg Defense‘- “I vas only paying ze mortgage”
Tobacco has been under government attack at least since 1964 when Surgeon General Luther Terry issued his famous report SGR Reducing the Health Consequences of Smoking.
The Surgeon General of the United States is the nation's leading spokesman on matters of public health.
We meet Jeannette “the very picture of a Yuppie dominatrix”
Nick has lunch with the Mod Squad at Bert’s
MOD= Merchants of Death, not The Mod Squad, a 1960s cop show
Like Hollywood joke writers, only developing sound bites to deemphasize the lethality of their products
Polly was happy that the Michigan Supreme Court had ruled that sobriety check lane were unconstitutional, even though the US Supreme Court had said they were constitutional. [Sobriety checklanes involve the seizure of the vehicle without suspicion, and therefore violate the state constitution. Sitz v MSP 443 M 744 (1993)] Understanding Federal and State Courts - Educational Outreach
Chapter 2- G. Gordon Liddy
Bobby Joe developed an advertising piece with a little old lady who could have stopped a church shooting if only her state legislature had authorized carrying a weapon, from a story he heard on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show
Most of Nick’s $105K goes to pay the mortgage on the suburban home where Joey lives with his mother
During the weekend visitation, Dad and Joey end up watching the video Sands of Iwo Jima
When Dad lights up a cigarette, Joey gets him to go outside to smoke
Early talking films glamorized the notion of smoking (Bogart in Casablanca)
Survey says, 90% of 6 year olds recognize Joe Camel and understand what he represents.
Naylor tells the Captain he was born in 1952, a year in which the Captain was killing Chinese in the Korean War. Now the Chinese are the tobacco industry’s best customers (70% of Chinese adult males smoke.)
The Captain regales Nick with certain historical facts about smoking
Rodrigo de Jerez – the first European smoker and first tobacco spokesperson
Edwin Proon- put in the stock in the Massachusetts Bay colony in the early 1600s for smoking
Lucy Page Gaston- founder of the Anti-Smoking League, died of lung cancer(“It proves there is a God,” says the Captain.)
The Washington Moon is a fictitious news paper. However, as the alternative to the Washington Post, the Moon reference is to Washington’s other paper, the The Washington Times. The Times was founded in 1982 by Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church and the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, to be a conservative alternative to the larger Washington Post. The Times is widely perceived as maintaining a right-leaning editorial stance.
The United States Secret Service is mandated by statute and executive order to carry out two significant missions: protection and criminal investigations. The Secret Service protects the President and Vice President, their families, heads of state, and other designated individuals; investigates threats against these protectees; protects the White House, Vice President’s Residence, Foreign Missions, and other buildings within Washington, D.C.; and plans and implements security designs for designated National Special Security Events. The Secret Service also investigates violations of laws relating to counterfeiting of obligations and securities of the United States; financial crimes that include, but are not limited to, access device fraud, financial institution fraud, identity theft, computer fraud; and computer-based attacks on our nation’s financial, banking, and telecommunications infrastructure. Secret Service Codenames for protected individuals are real, but also are fodder for fiction writers (Rover in this case).
In 1604, King James I of England wrote The Counterblaste to Tobacco, the first governmental attack on the evils of tobacco.
But by 1612, the Treasury was full with revenues from taxing tobacco, and James never addressed the subject again.
The US government, like Capt. Renaud, is shocked by the ill effects of smoking while its international trade representative push tobacco on foreign markets.
RICK: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: Oh, thank you very much. Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!
Nick is kidnapped—he refers to the kidnapper as Peter Lorre
He was a popular character actor in the 1940s & 1950s and shown here with Humphrey Bogart
Nick tells his doctor jokes about J. Edgar Hoover wearing tutus. (See The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover for the bizarre side of the famous FBI Director.)
Katie Couric of the Today show interviewed Nick in the hospital.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial: Struggle with Disability- FDR’s disability was generally not displayed in public and was a well kept secret.
The Mod Squad tried to help Nick address the skull and crossbones proposal.
They discuss getting dirt on Senator Finisterre. “Don’t forget his video rental records. Remember what those swine did to poor Judge Thomas.”
The reference is to Clarence Thomas now a US Supreme Court Justice.
Justice Thomas’ Senate confirmation hearings reached an all time low in bad taste (until exceeded by the Clinton impeaxhment mess!)
The content of the hearings, particularly Senator Orrin Hatch's questions "[D]id you ever say in words or substance something like there is a pubic hair in my Coke?" and "Did you ever use the term Long Dong Silver in conversation with Professor Hill?" rapidly became fodder for the nation's comedians.
Nick appears on the ABC news show, Night Line with Ted Koppel. This show was on the air for many years.
Nick notes that Koppel’s characteristic pause is reminiscent of Edward R. Murrow the pioneering radio and television journalist.
Murrow was also a prominent smoker. He died of lung cancer at age 57 in 1965.
Reducing Tobacco Use: A Report of The Surgeon General - Warning Label - Fact Sheets discusses tobacco label warnings.
Nick sat through a day long Senate hearing on the labeling proposal, listening to repeated attacks on tobacco.
Nick described the committee members: “over 2000 bounced checks between them, a seducer of underage Senate pages, 3 DUIs, one income-tax evader, a wife beater… and a case of plagiarism, from, of all sources, a campaign speech of Benito Moussolini.”
The page reference calls to mind the Mark Foley affair of 2006, and the earlier House page scandal in the 1980s.
The plagiarism issues recalls then Senator Joseph Biden (now Vice President)
Biden was forced to withdraw from the 1988 Democratic Presidential nominations when it was alleged that he had failed a 1965 introductory law school course on legal methodology due to plagiarism. "Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., fighting to salvage his Presidential campaign . . . acknowledged 'a mistake' in his youth, when he plagiarized a law review article for a paper he wrote in his first year at law school. Mr. Biden insisted, however, that he had done nothing 'malevolent,' that he had simply misunderstood the need to cite sources carefully." Biden withdrew from the race September 23, 1987, and reported the law school incident to the Delaware Supreme Court. The court's Board of Professional Responsibility cleared him of any allegations.
Biden was also accused of plagiarizing portions of his speeches, and that he had copied several campaign speeches, notably those of British Labour leader Neil Kinnock and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. He denied those charges. "And he asserted that another controversy, concerning recent reports of his using material from others' speeches without attribution, was 'much ado about nothing.'“
Chapter 23 Hamlet with Yorick’s skull
Sven shows Nick the focus group info on the skull and bones. A Mr. Rogers like skull looked almost friendly. (The program Kciroy- Yorick spelled backwards- produces it.)
Nick imagines himself being carried out of the office to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital by the men in white coats where his roommate is John Hinckley, Jr.
Hinckley shot President Reagan in 1981, was acquitted on an insanity defense and is still a mental patient at St. Elizabeth’s
St. Elizabeth’s Main Building
John Hinkley following assassination attempt
Nick convinces a Muslim cab driver to elude the agents following him by telling the driver the FBI wants to deport him because of the World Trade Center Bombing in 1994. Nick tells him he may get to meet Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman in prison
The Captain was in the hospital when Nick arrived. Nick claimed to be his grandson in order to see him using his best Butterfly McQueen voice
Prissy’s famous line: Lawzy, we got to have a doctor. I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!