Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: A 1986 diary entry by President Ronald Reagan described
Example: [Collected via e-mail, August 2007]
Origins: It is often the case that a piece of satire hits so
Such is the case with the putative quote from President Ronald Reagan's diaries reproduced above. Although some critics of the current president might find a delicious irony in the Republican icon's once having described a young
In June 2007, political columnist Michael Kinsley penned an article for The New Republic after a colleague alerted him that his name appeared in the recently-published book
But I was more interested in the me angle, frankly. And it was a puzzle. What on earth could Reagan have written? I indulged my imagination, and my ego:Not only did Kinsley offer these suggestions merely as a bit of satire (rather than as actual quotes from Reagan's diary), but when he finally read The Reagan Diaries, he discovered that the purported reference to him included therein was both mundane and erroneous:
Or: "October 6, 1987. Why does Kinsley keep picking on me? He is the only thing standing between me and the total destruction of the welfare state. But, ha: I will destroy him — destroy him utterly — or my name's
Or: "May 17, 1986. A moment I've been dreading. George brought his ne'er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida. The one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work."
In the case of The Reagan Diaries, however, I'd been tipped off. And, sure enough, there I was in the index and onLast updated: 20 August 2007
Well, here is the problem: This whole thing never happened. Or, if it did happen, I was not there. Or, if I was there, it had slipped my mind. I had no memory of having lunch with President Reagan in the White House or anywhere else. And it's not the kind of thing you forget, is it?
Upon further investigation, [I learned that] an editor at HarperCollins had slipped in my name. He or
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