We have to admit (and we’ve admitted it before), we have a total crush on Lewis Lapham. Something about patrician radical-leftist patrician blue-blood ivy league types… he’s so ’60s! Oh, we’d trade a hundred Cindy Sheehans and Markos Moulitsas Zunigas for a couple more Laphams and Vidals! And his profile in today’s Post — featuring classic bitchy in-fighting in the form of sallies from Michael Kinsley and Kurt Anderson which Lapham, sadly, doesn’t return — shows just why we love him. Here’s his story about a job interview at the CIA in the ’50s.
“The first question was: If you were standing at the 13th tee at the National Golf Links in Southampton, which club would you use?”
He exhales a stream of smoke. “Now, it so happened that I’d played that golf course and knew the hole. It’s a short hole, so if you said ‘driver,’ you’d be wrong. . . . I said 7-iron, and I got it right.”
“The second question was: You’re coming in on the final tack at the Hay Harbor on Fishers Island in the late afternoon — what tack do you take? I don’t remember what the answer was, but I got it right because I had sailed at Fishers Island.”
“The third question was: They mentioned the name of a girl who was known on the Ivy League circuit for being a ravenous nymphomaniac. And the question was: Does she wear a slip?”
He takes another drag, emits another cloud. “I didn’t know, because I’d never had carnal knowledge of the young lady. I explained that I’d heard rumors of French silk and Belgian lace but I couldn’t vouch for my sources.”
At that point he walked out of the interview, he says, disgusted with the know-it-all smugness of his CIA interrogators. “I said, ‘Gentlemen, I’m sorry I’ve wasted your time. Goodbye and good luck.’ “
Would Franklin “Punch Me In the Face, Please” Foer tell a story half that awesome, let alone while chainsmoking and speaking in a classy New England ruling class accent (and he’s from fucking California or something, isn’t he? Who cares!)? No, no he wouldn’t. He’d be drinking fucking herbal tea and talking about the relationship between blogs and the political establishment or something.