Super Dave: A Q&A with Dave Grohl

Thursday  January 24, 2008


Dave Grohl, front dude for rock juggernaut the Foo Fighters and onetime drummer for Nirvana, is back with a new album (Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace), a wife, and a kid. Still, we wouldn’t exactly say he’s settled down. GQ's Will Welch caught up with him as he was recovering from MTV’s Video Music Awards

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How were the VMAs?
Fuck, it was good, dude. We played in a hotel suite on the twenty-sixth floor with forty beer bongs. We just put them in boxes all over the room as party favors.

Did you hit one?
It was my idea! I was carrying the bottle of Jägermeister around. Ended up in the pool with all my fuckin’ clothes on.

Nice. “The Pretender,” the first single off the new record, went to number one. I have no idea what that song is about, but catchphrases like I’ll never surrender are irresistible. Is being a little vague the secret to writing stadium anthems?
There are songs that are very specific, and there are songs that are written with a very general emotion in mind. Sometimes I’ll write a song that’s so vague that an audience will sing along for 16,000 different reasons. I’d hate to exclude someone from a song because it’s about someone they don’t know.

From your first rehearsal with Nirvana to the band’s last show, I heard you got no encouragement. True?
I can remember all the compliments—there were two. The first tour I went on with Nirvana was with L7 in England in 1990. I had been in the band for a month. I remember being at some underground disco with the L7 girls, Kurt [Cobain], and Krist [Novoselic], and we were all downstairs drinking and dancing to bad ’80s new wave. Kurt came up and said, “I’m so glad you’re in this band, man. I’m so glad.” And I was like, [assumes dork voice] “Wow, that was really nice of him! Holy moly!” It was two and a half years before the next compliment. [laughs]

What was it like when you went from being three dudes in a van to being the biggest band on earth?
It happened really quickly. When Nevermind came out, Kurt and I shared a hotel room and we were still rolling our own gear. And then the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came out. Eventually, we got a bus. I was like, “Holy shit! It’s like a van with a bathroom and a TV!” They kept the generators running so there’d be power inside. I remember Novoselic saying, “Dude, you’re single-handedly destroying the ozone layer with that fucking generator. Turn it off.” All these other buses were pumping all this shit in the air, and we were sitting there in complete darkness because we felt guilty.

When you started Foo Fighters, were you worried that it might change the perception of your role in Nirvana—because your own music is so different?
Those are deep thoughts that I didn’t necessarily have. The day Kurt died, three years of total insanity just turned off. The last thing on my mind was music, and I didn’t even want to see the word Nirvana. I didn’t do much other than travel—I was kind of trying to run away from it. I remember being on the Ring of Kerry, in Ireland, driving a rental car on tiny little roads, getting stuck behind flocks of sheep. Then I passed a hitchhiker who had on a Kurt Cobain T-shirt. I thought, Goddamn. Where do I go? Later, someone from this band 7 Year Bitch wrote me a card that said, “We know you can’t even think about playing music right now, but eventually you will.” And that card saved my life.

Your new song “Statues” has the line Time will turn us into statues eventually. When you were writing that line, did you think someone might actually make a statue of you one day?
[laughs] Oh, my God. You think I mean that someone’s going to make a statue of me someday? Interesting perspective. That song is about my wife and me. To me there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing the headstones of a husband and wife side by side in a graveyard. It doesn’t have to do with the Nirvana Statue. Whatever!

So you’re not getting cremated?
We’ll see. I’d rather have one of those massive mausoleums you can see from the expressway.

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Photograph by Paola Kudacki

All the Presidents' Women

Monday  January 14, 2008


And you thought Teresa Heinz Kerry was scary. Your all-inclusive guide to the next co-president of the United States

Secret marriages. Pierced tongues. Enormous boobs spilling out of hideous ball gowns. Pill popping, scene stealing, Scripture quoting. Cringe-making turns on YouTube. Is this reality television–or the presidential candidates’ spouses? Herewith, a complete guide to the Wife Problem, past and present (one husband excluded–we figure you know enough about him). With a fond nod to Laura Bush: We had no idea how lucky we were to have you.

Mitt Romney

Mitt and Ann Romney. Photo Credit: Chris Fitzgerald/

wife: Ann Romney (b. 1949)

married: 1969–present
kids: Five (seemingly flawless) sons—Tagg, Ben, Matt, Craig, and Josh.
possible reason for future divorce: Please.
where they met: In elementary school. Started dating when she was 15 and he was 18.
wooing technique: When Mitt went off to Stanford (and, later, on his mission in France), his father took her to church every week. She converted.
tmi: They “waited” four years!
résumé: Special liaison to Massachusetts’s faith-based organizations.
hotness factor: Pretty awesome, in that Mormony way.
teflon factor: Has battled MS for a decade.
best indicator of what she'd be like as first lady: Didn’t flinch when he strapped the family’s Irish setter to the top of the station wagon for a twelve-hour road trip.
what he says about her: Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
what she says about him: Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
defining moment: Still waiting…

Dennis Kucinich

wife no. 1: Who cares! (See Wife No. 3)
wife no. 2: Who cares! (See Wife No. 3)

Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich. Photo Credit: Chris Fitzgerald/

wife no. 3: Elizabeth Kucinich (b. 1977)

Married: 2005–present
Kids: None. Why ruin a good thing?
Hotness factor: Yowza.
Defining moment: The first time ever we saw her face.
Second defining moment: The paradigm-shifting, slightly disconcerting revelation that her tongue is pierced.
Third defining moment: The realization all across America that…holy crap, Dennis Kucinich is hittin’ that!
Résumé: Helps save the world. Worked at an orphanage, in the Brit Peace Corps, etc. Think of a fully limbed Heather Mills.
How they met: In a meeting in his office, during which the six-foot Brit took one look at the five-foot-six (maybe), 58-year-old Clevelander and thought, “Now, this is an interesting man.”
Wooing technique (hers): Sent him an e-mail with her “signature quote” at the end: “Knowing love I shall allow all things to come and go, to be as supple as the wind and take everything that comes with great courage. My heart is as open as the sky.”
Wooing technique (his): Took her to Shirley MacLaine’s house on their first date. Searched sky for UFOs.
Style: The creamy skin, the two and a half feet of silken red hair, the great rack… Who the hell cares what she wears?
What he says about her: “When you make a connection on a soul level, age is not important.”
What she says about him: “I changed my life—my whole career—because of your book.” (Oh, wait, never mind. She said that to Shirley MacLaine.)

John McCain

Wife no. 1: : Carol Shepp (b. 1938)

Married: 1965–1980
Kids: Three. Adopted two children from her previous marriage, then had a daughter, Sidney, together.
Reason for divorce: While still living with Carol—and a decade after a near fatal car accident left her disabled—McCain began chasing 25-year-old Cindy Hensley, the stunning blond heiress to a beer fortune. Or, as The New York Times put it in 2000: “Mr. McCain abandoned his wife, who had reared their three children while he was in Vietnamese prisons, and then began his political career with the resources of his new wife’s family.”
How she feels today: For some reason, she continues to back him in his campaigns. 
Hotness factor: She’s a former model, for chrissakes.
What she says about him: “I’m crazy about John McCain, and I love him to pieces.”
What he says about her: All good things. Has acknowledged that his (numerous) affairs broke up the marriage.

Cindy Hensley McCain. Photo Credit: Chris Fitzgerald/

Wife no. 2: Cindy Hensley McCain (b. 1954)

Married: 1980–present
Kids: Four—Meghan, Jack, Jimmy, and Bridget (adopted in Bangladesh).
Résumé: Runs Hensley & Co., one of the largest beer distributors in the country (founded by Daddy).
Defining moment: Admitted in 1994 that she was addicted to Percocet and Vicodin—and had stolen the drugs from a charity she worked for.
Teflon factor: Suffered a stroke in 2004.
Hotness factor: Leggy, rockin’ bod, could be natural blond.
Style: Pre drug thing, had Arizona sass and a punky-spunky hairdo. Post drug thing: ice-cream-colored pantsuits and tinted pearls to match.
What she says about him: “There’s no temper.”
What we say about that: Come on, now.
What he says about her: “I should be able to raise my own money…not dip into my wife's assets.”
Possible reason for future divorce: “I should be able to raise my own money…not dip into my wife's assets.”

Fred Thompson

Wife no. 1: Sarah Lindsey (b. 1941)

Married: 1959–1985
Kids: Three—two sons and one daughter (now deceased).
How they met: In high school. She was a beauty queen. Married when he was 17 and she was 18.
Wooing technique: He knocked her up. What, that’s not sexy?
Best indication of what she might have been like as first lady: Her high school yearbook quote: “I want to be bashful, but the boys won’t let me.”
Reason for divorce: “Irreconcilable differences,” according to the filing. As her brother recently told a reporter, “He has said he ‘takes opportunities [with women].’ I will tell you it wasn’t physical cruelty, and it wasn’t mental.”
What he says about women: “I chased a lot of women. And a lot of women chased me. And those who chased me tended to catch me.”
What she says about him: Fred Thompson for president!

Jeri and Fred Thompson. Photo Credit: Chris Fitzgerald/

Wife no. 2: Jeri Thompson (b. 1966)

Married: 2002–present
Kids: Two—a girl, 4, and a boy, 1.
Résumé: Former RNC staffer, current mom (though Joe Scarborough wondered on-air if she was a pole dancer).
What she says about him: Women really dig her husband. “They just won’t leave him alone. I can’t get up at a cocktail party without coming back and finding some girl sitting in my chair.”
Defining moment: The tacky robin’s-egg blue gown with the ya-yas hanging out.
Second defining moment: The Sean Hannity interview, during which the kids squirmed all over poor old Fred and one looked to be chewing on a diaphragm.
Third defining moment: The Maria Shriver–moderated panel, during which she said being on the trail was like “walking down the street with no clothes on.”
To which we add: Ummm…
Personal style: Boobs (see first defining moment).
Plastic-surgery-o-meter: Boobs.
Hotness factor: Boobs.
Best line: Boobs.
What she does now: Boobs.
Possible reason for future divorce: He’ll die of exhaustion first.

John Edwards

John and Elizabeth Edwards. Photo Credit: Chris Fitzgerald/

Wife: Elizabeth Edwards (b. 1949)

Married: 1977–present
Kids: Four. (Eldest son deceased; had youngest two while pushing 50.)
Résumé: Superlawyer, supermom, superwife, super super super…
Defining moment: Announcing she had breast cancer two days after the 2004 election.
Second defining moment: Finding out the cancer returned in 2007 and was inoperable—and insisting that her husband stay in the race.
Defining moment, noncancer category: Calling the Chris Matthews show to chastise Ann Coulter for calling her husband “a faggot.”
Ballsiest moment: Calling Hillary joyless.
Most disappointing moment: Calling Hillary to apologize for calling her joyless.
Teflon factor: Huge.
What she says about him: “What I am is a sounding board for John.… I’m a true believer in the chain of command.”
What he says about her: “I’ve been in love with the same woman for thirty-plus years, and as anybody who’s been around us knows, she’s an extraordinary human being—warm, loving, beautiful, sexy, and as good a person as I have ever known.”
Hotness factor: Well, she did say she fractured that rib when John “squeezed” her too tightly.
Personal style: Dress Barn, but she can get away with it.
Best indicator of what she’d be like as first lady: Still shops at Dress Barn.
Possible reason for future divorce: None. Well, unless the rumors about the affair and the love child ever prove true—in which case she should kill him.

Mike Huckabee

Mike and Janet Huckabee. Photo Credit: Chris Fitzgerald/

Wife: Janet Huckabee (b. 1955)

Married: 1974–present
How they met: In elementary school. Got married when they were 18.
Kids: Three—John Mark, David, and Sarah.
Résumé: Ran for secretary of state in Arkansas when hubby was up for reelection as governor, in 2002. He won, she lost. 
Defining moment: At a tea party in South Carolina, told CNN that she knows how to lob a grenade—and is a great shot.
Best indication of what she’d be like as first lady: When the Huckabees moved from the governor’s mansion to a new house in Little Rock in 2006, they appeared on registries for housewarming gifts at Target and Dillard’s.
Personal style: Were registered for twenty-four place settings of Lenox Holiday Nouveau china and the Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer.
What he says about her: “She’s jumped out of airplanes—and my wife is unique.… She’s bungee jumped.… She’s flown in F-16’s.… She just loves that kind of stuff.”
Hotness factor: Looks a lot like a woman who would register for the Holiday Nouveau china.
Possible reason for future divorce: Hell freezes over.

Barack Obama

Michelle Obama. Photo Credit: Chris Fitzgerald/

Wife: Michelle Obama (b. 1964)

Married: 1992–present
Kids: Two girls—Malia and Sasha.
How they met: When he was an underling at the Chicago law firm where she worked.
Best indicator of what she’d be like as first lady: He was her underling at that Chicago law firm.
First date: Art Institute and a Spike Lee movie, Do the Right Thing. He later recalled that she allowed him to…touch her knee!
What he did for love: She told him he couldn’t run for president unless he stopped smoking.
TMI: In an interview with Glamour magazine, she divulged that he is “snore-y and stinky” in bed.
What he says about her: Introduces her as “the biggest star in the Obama family.”
What she says about him: “Any black guy who spent his formative years on an island had to be a little nerdy, a little strange.”
Personal style: Chic and sophisticated. Claims to still shop at Target. Not likely.
Hotness factor: Fierce! 
Possible reason for future divorce: Let’s see him try it.

Rudy Giuliani

Wife no. 1: Regina Peruggi (b. 1946)

Married: 1968–1982
Kids: None. (And a good thing!)
Reason for divorce: It was annulled, actually. On the grounds that they didn’t get the proper dispensation from the Catholic Church—you know, the one you need when you MARRY YOUR SECOND COUSIN.
Résumé: Former president, Central Park Conservancy; current president, Kingsborough Community College.
Hotness factor: Not bad, for a blood relative of Rudy’s.
What she says about him: “It’s not something I want to talk about,” she told The New York Times in 2001. “We were both very young.” Since then: nada. Step up to the plate, girlfriend!
What he says about her: I thought she was my third cousin.

Wife no. 2: Donna Hanover (b. 1950)

Married: 1984–2002
Kids: Two—son, Andrew, famous for telling the press he and his father are estranged; daughter, Caroline, famous for supporting Barack Obama.
Reasons for divorce: Judith Nathan et al.
Résumé: News anchor, cooking-show host, actress, author.
What she did for love: In 1993, filmed a campaign ad extolling Rudy’s family values. (Money quote: “Integrity—that’s the first quality that comes to mind when I think of Rudy. He’s honest. And he’s very kind.…”)
What she got for it: A couple of affairs (that she knows of).
How she heard she was getting divorced: Her very kind husband announced it at a press conference.
Hotness factor: High, for someone who fell for Rudy Giuliani.
What she says about him: Not nearly enough. 
What he says about her: In the aftermath of the breakup, he dispatched his goon divorce lawyer to call her a “foolish” and “trivial” woman who would have to be dragged out of Gracie Mansion—“screaming, scratching, and kicking.” Stay classy, Rudy!

Rudy and Judith Giuliani. Photo Credit: Chris Fitzgerald/

Wife: Judith Giuliani (b. 1954)

Married: 2003–present
Kids: One—an adopted daughter from a previous marriage.
Résumé: Nurse. (Or, to hear Rudy tell it, Renowned Expert on Health Care and Chemical Warfare.) Once worked for a pharmaceutical company that killed little doggies.
Defining moment (three-way tie): (1) Pretending she was married only once before. (2) The pussy-whipped cell-phone interruption in the midst of Rudy’s big NRA speech last fall. (“This is my wife calling.… Hello, dear.… I love you.… I’ll give you a call as soon as I’m finished.… I love you,” etc.) (3) The revelation that when she was still his mistress, she had a taxpayer-funded NYPD “security detail” to drive her to the beach and to walk her dog.
Where they met: At an Upper East Side cigar bar called Club Macanudo. She slipped him her number.
How they bonded: Prostate cancer. She held the bucket while he was throwing up and Donna Hanover was upstairs, doing something “trivial” and “foolish.”
Personal style: We know you’re just a nurse from Hazleton, Pennsylvania, but sweet Jesus, a 48-year-old woman wearing a diamond tiara on her (third) wedding day?
Hotness factorv: Look, she obviously does it for him.
Plastic-surgery-o-meter: Can you take the Botox down a notch?
What she says about him: He’s the sun, the moon, and the stars.
What he says about her: She’s the sun, the moon, and the stars. And probably a few other celestial parts, too.
Best indicator of what she’d be like as first lady: She reportedly demands an extra first-class seat on airplanes for “Baby Louis,” her Louis Vuitton handbag.
Possible reason for future divorce: [Insert female name(s) here.]

The Boobs on the Bus

Tuesday  January 08, 2008


The Boobs on the Bus: The Daily Show's intrepid correspondents

by Mark Kirby

Fair and balanced? No thanks. The most trusted name in news? Uh, no. But if the writers’ strike proved anything, it’s that we can’t live without these guys. We turn now to the Daily Show correspondents for a bucket load of campaign sense


Photograph by Mark Seliger

Vegas odds: Who’s going to win the nominations?
larry wilmore: Mike Huckabee will be the Republican nominee.
rob riggle: Are you serious?
everyone else: No way.
john oliver: Have you seen the Republican debates? Batshit crazy. They compete over who has the craziest immigration policy, and it’s a tie between all of them. A dishonorable draw.

And the Democrats?
wilmore: Mike Huckabee.
riggle: C’mon guys, c’mon. Ball up here; let’s think about this!
john hodgman: I’m sick of you telling me to ball up.
riggle: I was talking to Samantha.

So the batshit Republicans are the more exciting party to cover?
hodgman: They’re both exciting. I mean, look at the Democratic candidates. It’s likely that the nominee is going to be either a woman, an African-American, or a white man. And that’s unprecedented.
oliver: But the Republicans have Huckabee. He doesn’t believe in evolution.
jason jones: But he did lose a lot of weight. That’s why I love Jared from Subway so much. There’s a guy I would vote for.
riggle: Talk about name recognition. Talk about people loving him. I don’t really know where he stands on the issues.…
wilmore: You can’t lose that much weight and not support the troops.
jones: If he eats a sensible meal, he must be a sensible man.
wilmore: We can overlook the fact that at one point he was a fat fuck.

Wait, are we talking about Jared or are we talking about Huckabee?
samantha bee: Both! They’ve both got one pair of giant pants somewhere in their closet that they pull out every so often: Now three of me can fit in these pants!

I wanted to congratulate you all on the FLILF segment—the First Lady I’d like to fuck—with Jeri Thompson and Elizabeth Kucinich. Hilarious. But why no love for Hillary Clinton’s senior aide, Huma Abedin?
aasif mandvi: She is hot! What ethnicity is she? I’ll be talking to her at the convention.
jones: We haven’t covered her because there’s this thing called front-runner status. And Clinton’s a front-runner for a reason: She doesn’t talk to us. The people in the rear are much easier. Mike Gravel offered us a ride-along, embedded-reporter style, but we haven’t taken him up on it. Because we don’t care.

What’s the most heinous journalistic crime you’ve committed against someone who wouldn’t talk to you?
bee: Two years ago, when Howard Dean was still really at the height of his powers, I tried to kiss him on the back of the neck. All I could do was try to kiss him—and the security guard shoved me.
wilmore: I almost accidentally cupped Sam Brownback.
hodgman: I should point out that Larry and I are analysts, not reporters. We’d never have the bravery to go kiss people.
oliver: It’s not bravery; it’s just a total lack of shame.
wilmore: Analyst comes from the Latin anal, so we’re very particular about how we talk about things.

And those people who do talk to you—what are they thinking?
oliver: What’s amazing is that they stand there and take it! You can come up with a list of, say, ten unspeakable questions that you would never ask another human being—and then you ask them to a potential leader of the free world. They know it’s going to be terrible, but they stand there and take it because they want to be on TV.
jones: And they all ask the same question before you start: You’re not going to make us look foolish, are you? Well, yes. Yes we are.

Is there any advice you could give candidates for not looking foolish?
bee: Perish the thought.
oliver: That’s like posting instructions for how to make a bomb on the Internet. It’s like the FBI saying, “Look, you can bring down an airplane with just these easily scannable objects!”

So what’s the dynamic like between you guys? Who’s the diva?
bee: Jason Jones.

mark kirby is a gq senior editor.

Diagnosis: "You Need Mental Help!"

Friday  January 04, 2008


An Oral History of Rudy Giuliani's Temper

Before he decided that September 11 was his own personal self-aggrandizement machine, Rudy Giuliani pissed off a whole slew of people in a remarkable number of ways. A look at the dark, petty, vindictive, small-minded maneuvering of “America’s mayor”


“Hello, dear. I’m talking to the members of the NRA right now.” Rudy Giuliani’s wife had reached him on his cell as he stood on a dais in Washington, D.C., in September. “I love you,” he went on, “and I’ll give you a call as soon as I’m finished.” Putting aside what appeared to be the painfully obvious staging of the scene, its message was clear: Giuliani is not only hard as nails when it comes to criminals and terrorists and freedom-threatening immigrants; he also has a soft candy center. But for those in New York who’ve witnessed firsthand the workings of this most autocratic of mayors, the ruse was as crude as that employed by the three-card-monte dealers he so gleefully swept off the city’s streets. GQ tracked down all the sources bold enough to talk—even some still constrained by pledges of loyalty—and asked them to help us understand the man and the atomic temper he’s trying so hard to live down.

DAN COLLINS (coauthor, Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11): I think he has a problem with his temper.

STANLEY FRIEDMAN (former Bronx Democratic Party chairman): And if you want witnesses to that, I’m sure none will talk to you.

ED KOCH (former mayor of New York City): Anybody I know would be afraid to talk to the press about Giuliani. They don’t want to incur his anger. I don’t give a shit.

ERIC LANE (former executive director, New York City Charter Revision Commission): He’s running for president. There’s far too much at stake. What if something slipped out? What if he wanted to blame someone for screwing up a quote?

MARK GREEN (former New York City public advocate; Air America president): I remember going to public events and chatting with people I liked in the Giuliani administration, and when the press approached they would melt away. That happened again and again. They didn’t want to be in the same camera shot with me because they were afraid of what Rudy might say.

COLLINS: One of his closest guys is Denny Young. If Rudy sees something in the papers that pisses him off, Denny tries to calm him down. That was Denny’s job—to keep Rudy on the straight and narrow as far as excesses of his temper and angry phone calls to reporters. To almost anyone.

LOUIS ANEMONE (retired chief, NYPD): He has this streak, Rudy, where he looks for unnecessary confrontations. Is he overcompensating? I sure as hell don’t know. But I worked with men, I worked with real men, and they didn’t have to do that. They knew where and when someone had to get knocked on their ass.

RANDY MASTRO (longtime aide): I’ve seen a person who has taken on enormous challenges and enormous pressures and has handled them with grace, wisdom, authority, and leadership.

JERRY HAUER (former director, New York City Office of Emergency Management): Rudy has this litigious nature about him where he’s out to screw anybody that doesn’t go along with what he wants.

PETER POWERS (former first deputy mayor; chairman, Giuliani Partners): I’ll leave it to his detractors to think if he overstepped. I’m not going to comment on whether I thought he overstepped.

FLOYD ABRAMS (constitutional lawyer): A few months ago, I spoke with a person I know well, a very conservative former federal prosecutor. I asked him if he was surprised at how well Giuliani seemed to be doing in the polls. He said no; he thought he was a good candidate. I said, “Are you supporting him?” And he looked at me and said, “Well, no. I know him.”


In 1989, Giuliani, running as a moderate Republican, lost to David Dinkins, a Democrat, in the closest mayoral election in New York City since 1905. Four years later, Giuliani ran again, this time on a law-and-order platform calculated to appeal to conservative white outer-borough voters. On September 16, 1992, before he had announced his candidacy, Giuliani addressed New York City police officers at a City Hall rally.

ROBERT POLNER (former reporter, Newsday): It was a rally against Dinkins for trying to create the Civilian Complaint Review Board, in order to field police-
misconduct complaints.

WAYNE BARRETT (reporter, The Village Voice; author, Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani): I don’t think there’s ever been a time when he publicly lost his cool more than at the police riot of 1992.

ERIC ADAMS (retired captain, NYPD; state senator): The police department was angry to the point of obsession about Dinkins’s election. The cops hated having a black mayor.

FREDDY MALDONADO (retired captain, NYPD): The police department is still run by Irish and Italians. That day they were calling Dinkins “the washroom attendant.” Giuliani heard the comments, he saw the signs, he didn’t tone it down. That’s a real dog day in history. There were thousands of white cops there. Who was riling them up? Giuliani.

ADAMS: Giuliani should have been arrested for inciting the riot, because he worked those guys up into a frenzy.

BARRETT: Thousands of cops were shouting epithets and overturning vehicles.

AL SHARPTON (political activist): According to all reports, many in the crowd were using the N-word, and he led chants of “Bullshit!”

DAVID SEIFMAN (City Hall bureau chief, The New York Post): I know officials whose cars were trampled. Cops jumped on the top of the cars and the roofs caved in.

POLNER: Giuliani had a bullhorn. Dinkins wasn’t in his office at the time, but the cops who were marauding seemed intent on breaking in, so he had to do something he rarely did, which is lock down City Hall. That’s how pitched it got.

SHARPTON: Can you imagine if I led a rally like that, what they would do to me? That would be all you would see about me when I ran for president. These are policemen who are engaged in property damage and violence. It was stunning. And Giuliani led it.

BARRETT: And the terrible thing was not just that he said “Bullshit! Bullshit!” at a race riot, but that he gets in the car afterward and he thinks everything’s gone terrific. He said so to an aide! He can’t see—he’s blind, really, to his own personal explosiveness. In the vulnerability study they did, his own staff said that this was one of his worst moments ever, and that they feared it in the ’93 campaign. It never really became a major issue because no television stations ever played the tape. They’ll have to explain why.


Giuliani narrowly won election as mayor of New York City thanks to the overwhelming support of the city’s white ethnic stronghold, Staten Island, where he took more than 80 percent of the vote.

GREEN: On inauguration day, I was told I had ten minutes to speak. I just talked about how I wanted to help everyone in the city prosper, and I used a few metaphors that may have struck some chords. Within a day, his chief deputy called me and said, “Mark, the mayor didn’t like your speech.” I said, “Excuse me?” Apparently, the mayor hadn’t liked my remarks because they sounded “mayoral.” I said, “Well, I don’t work for the mayor. I’m independently elected.”

POLNER: At press conferences, he’d walk into the room as if it were booby-trapped. If things weren’t going his way, he’d turn on his heels and storm off. He announced one day that he was offering a billion dollars in subsidies to keep the stock market in Lower Manhattan. I asked him to explain to the average New Yorker why one of the wealthiest institutions in America should be receiving such a gigantic public subsidy. I felt like he was going to leap across the entire room and grab me by the throat. He snapped, “Your question is simplistic and inaccurate, and the amount is much less,” and so on. When you saw the fine print, it was in fact a billion dollars. That was characteristic of him, to lash out when you had a good, legitimate story.

GREEN: After his first city budget had been negotiated, Giuliani told the speaker, “Oh, one more thing. I want Mark Green’s office cut by a third.” Everybody else was taking 10 percent cuts. Giuliani got abusive but the speaker was adamant, so the budget went forward without the cuts.


Under newly appointed police commissioner William Bratton, the NYPD focused on quality-of-life offenses and produced an astounding reduction in crime in New York City. Bratton was celebrated around the world for his success.

ADAMS: I’ll never forget having dinner with my good friend Jack Maple, deputy police commissioner, at the peak of his success. Jack and Bratton started the crime decrease in New York. I told him, “Y’all are on top!” And he says, “Giuliani is having a problem with Bratton’s popularity.”

ANEMONE: Giuliani was angry that Bratton had the cover of Time magazine. They searched for reasons to get rid of him. Giuliani used city agencies to look at the fact that Bratton accepted a plane ride.

ADAMS: Bratton said you hit the beats with quality-of-life policing—everything from jumping the turnstile to pissing in the corner. The people who were carrying out these actions were the same people who were contributing to a state of anarchy. Then you start building relationships with the good people who’d been living in fear. But Giuliani said, “John in the Bronx is drinking a beer at the softball game. Lock his ass up for that beer.” Bratton said, “This is not how it’s supposed to work.” And Giuliani said, “It’s time for you to go.” Bratton hated going after the nine-to-five guy for bullshit. He wanted to go after the guys who were destroying the city.

FRED SIEGEL (author, The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York, and the Genius of American Life): The biggest mistake Giuliani made was pushing Bratton out.


The next commissioner, Howard Safir, lacked his predecessor’s feeling for community relations. With Giuliani’s encouragement, he had his men conduct random—often assaultive—street searches of minority civilians at an unprecedented rate. The result was a series of shocking cases in which police brutalized or killed unarmed black and Hispanic victims.

POLNER: Bratton has said that by Giuliani’s second term, the city had calmed down. But Giuliani, even in the face of objections from high-level people in the police department, wanted to increase the size of the Street Crime Unit, the one that was involved with the Amadou Diallo shooting.

SHARPTON: Here’s Diallo, an unarmed man, shot forty-one times.

SAIKOU DIALLO (Amadou Diallo’s father): I thought my son was just killed by coincidence, that it was a one-time mistake. But so many more families who were surrounding us had been victimized by the police. They have pictures of their sons and daughters, the photos pinned on their clothes. I looked on the TV and I saw Giuliani defend the police. So I understand that something more than my son was happening here.

BARRETT: After almost every shooting, he would say almost instantly that the police were justified. Without really knowing the facts of the case, he would say it.

ADAMS: The police in the city reached a level where they felt untouchable. Think about what [police officer Justin] Volpe did. He brought [Abner Louima] into the bathroom, broke off the handle of the broomstick, and sodomized him. Sodomized him! What comfort does one have to have to believe that one can even get away with that?

BARRETT: During his reelection campaign, he appointed a task force to examine the Louima case. It came out with an extraordinarily detailed volume of recommendations. After he was safely reelected, he rejected every recommendation but one: He agreed to change the name of one law-enforcement agency.

MARIE ANDRE DORISMOND (sister of Patrick Dorismond): Patrick was leaving work with three friends. The cops approached him and asked, “Do you know where I could get some weed?” He said no. They’re trying to meet their arrest quota for the night, and they’re altercating, trying to start an argument with him, and this officer, who was wearing a wire, said the password: “What are you trying to do, rob me?” Other cops come running, and one of them has the gun in his hand already, and he shot my brother straight through the chest and killed him in his aorta.

SANFORD RUBINSTEIN (civil rights attorney): At his press conference, Giuliani said that Patrick Dorismond wasn’t an altar boy. In fact, he was an altar boy. But what was significant was that his administration allowed sealed family court records to be released in an obvious attempt to dirty up the victim.

SHARPTON: Like somebody has to be an altar boy not to be shot by police.

DORISMOND: My brother had a juvenile incident with another kid. Giuliani tried to make it look like my brother was a thug who didn’t come from a very good family. My brother went to Bishop Loughlin High School, just like Giuliani.

MARGARITA ROSARIO (mother of Anthony Rosario): Two police officers came here to tell me that the cops had had a shoot-out with my son and his cousin, and that both of the kids were killed. I did not believe that. [The medical examiner] called me up the day after the autopsy, and she said the kids had been shot multiple times while they were facedown on the floor. From time to time, I would see Giuliani speak on the news and defend these two officers. I called him on his radio show, and he said I should look at my background, the way I was raised, the church I went to, how I raised my child. That as a mother, I didn’t do the right job. But I wonder if he would say the same thing to Volpe’s mother.

JOESEPH LHOTA (deputy mayor under Giuliani): Rudy Giuliani in many ways has the same skill set that a priest and a minister have in consoling people.

BARRETT: You can understand that, as a policy imperative, he thinks the police have to be defended. But there’s no requirement that the parents have to be attacked. That’s why he was so mistrusted and despised by the black people of New York.

CHARLIE RANGEL (U.S. congressman, D-N.Y.): I guess the best contribution that Giuliani ever made to the African-American community is just not meeting with them. And that included the state comptroller and the borough president.

C. VIRGINIA FIELDS (former borough president, Manhattan): Was there a period when Rudy stopped talking to me? Well, actually, he never started.

KOCH: I said to him, “Why won’t you meet with them?” His answer was incredible: “I don’t agree with them.” I said, “Rudy, you only meet with people you agree with?”

H. CARL McCALL (former state comptroller, New York): I was in fact the highest elected black official in the state, and we met once during the entire eight years that he was mayor and I was the state comptroller. I’m not sure what the disagreement was.

KOCH: I remember the leadership in the black and Hispanic communities would come to me and say, “He’s a racist!” I would say, “He’s not. He’s nasty to everybody.”

GILLIAN SORENSEN (assistant secretary-general, United Nations): In 1995, the New York Philharmonic performed a concert honoring the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations. More than a thousand people attended, including many presidents and prime ministers. We were backstage with his aide, Randy Mastro, and suddenly the mayor saw Yasir Arafat in the audience. The mayor went ballistic. He totally exploded. He turned red in the face, he started waving his arms, he yelled at his trembling aide as if he were a worm, he yelled at me in language that I have not in my entire life been spoken to with. He jumped up and down. I have never seen a grown person act like a 3-year-old, but that is the way I have to describe it.

MASTRO: Up close and personal, I have seen how much his creativity, courage, and tenacity are an asset.

SORENSEN: I said to him, “Mr. Mayor, Arafat has been invited.” And the mayor yelled at me, “I don’t want to hear it!” He told Mastro to tell Arafat to get out. I urged him not to do that, but he was utterly out of control. Arafat apparently told Mastro, “We will leave when we are ready.” And he stayed for about the first two movements of Beethoven’s Ninth, and then quietly he slipped out. I’m not making a case that Arafat was a wonderful man. But he was a leader; he was invited. Giuliani didn’t like Arafat; he disagreed with him. To insult him achieved nothing. Giuliani talks about this today as if it was great statesmanship.

ALFONSE D’AMATO (former U.S. senator, R-N.Y.): I would say his endorsement of [Democratic gubernatorial candidate] Mario Cuomo was probably one of the low points in his political life.

KOCH: I got a call from Giuliani during the gubernatorial election between Pataki and Cuomo. I had been on the radio criticizing [Giuliani’s] administration for taking down Pataki’s placards from the trees. He wasn’t taking down the placards of Mario Cuomo. I was home; there was a call from City Hall. Rudy gets on: “Ed, you’re all wrong about the placards. It’s against the law to put them on the telephone poles and trees.” I said, “Rudy, I know it’s against the law. I’m the one who initiated that law. But it’s understood you don’t enforce that law until after the election.” He says, “Don’t interrupt me.” I thought, Who does he think he is? So I took the phone and I put it in the crook of my arm, and I started to do other things that I needed to do, having nothing to do with him.


Mayor Giuliani inherited a city wracked by homelessness and AIDS, yet he immediately set about eviscerating New York’s social services and actively defied the landmark 1979 case establishing a legal right to shelter.

MARY BROSNAHAN (executive director, Coalition for the Homeless): We dogged him. I remember getting word that he was about to speak at Port Authority on homelessness. We had something like fifty homeless people go and confront him and shout him down. And I remember him giving me this seething, furious look, like, “I’m gonna win, and you’re totally fucked when I do.” On the one hand, he was dismantling the right to shelter, ejecting people who were found in noncompliance of administrative rules; on the other, he was directing police to arrest homeless people who refused to go into shelters. Nobody could follow that logic. Our pro bono ad company produced an ad showing a stereotypical out-of-it homeless guy pushing a cart down the street. The text read, “Deranged, delusional, and dangerous. But enough about Mayor Giuliani—let’s talk about the homeless.”

CHRISTOPHER DUNN (associate legal director, New York Civil Liberties Union): Giuliani had very little tolerance for protests. It just wasn’t a form of citizen activity that he respected.

ARMEN MERJIAN (senior staff attorney, Housing Works): We provide social services for people living with HIV and AIDS, and Giuliani was so enraged by Housing Works’ persistent though fair criticism of his policies that he canceled $20 million in city contracts.

MATTHEW BRINCKERHOFF (counsel, Housing Works): We have him on tape getting very upset at a press conference when asked about Housing Works. He’s just sick of them. He throws up his hands, and he’s like, “Ugh! Housing Works!” and he stomps off the podium.

MERJIAN: He advanced a subterfuge that there were accounting irregularities in Housing Works’ books. Housing Works sued him, and ultimately the city, at taxpayer expense, was forced to settle the case for $4.8 million in taxpayer money.

BRINCKERHOFF: The city denied us about $3 million in HUD funds that was due us. The judge suggested strongly that the city just give us the money, because it’s no harm to them, right? And that we on our side forgo any right to the attorneys’ fees we were entitled to and agree to a gag order. Housing Works’ primary concern was just getting the money to operate, so we agreed. The city was told they were going to lose, yet they ended up not agreeing. It was on the front page of the Times. Rudy was given the opportunity to walk away with no bad press, without a penny of city money being spent on anything. And he completely lost it and started screaming, “There’s no way! I will never settle this case! You can forget about it!” I think the judge was trying to confirm what he’d intuited, which is that this was really about Giuliani’s vindictiveness. And that confirmed it.

MERJIAN: Giuliani’s lawyers were so intransigent in the cases against him and so impervious to any reasonable settlement offers that at one point a judge exclaimed, “All the defendants are asking for is that you comply with existing laws. I thought this was New York, not Mississippi!”

BROSNAHAN: A young white woman was smashed in the head with a brick on the street, and Giuliani said that this underscored why we needed to arrest all the homeless people. In the press conference, we handed out a list of questions that we felt reporters needed to ask him. When Giuliani said that the advocates for the homeless had psychiatric problems, one of the TV reporters said, “Mary Brosnahan is right here. Do you want to tell her what your diagnosis is?” The color drained out of his face. “This is a setup!” he shouted and stormed out. He was just apoplectic. He told the police he wanted me arrested for trespassing. They caught the thug eventually, and he wasn’t a homeless person. But we’re still dealing with this. One of the last things Giuliani did before he left office was appeal the right to shelter.

MERJIAN: Another lawsuit that we had to bring had to do with the conditions in the housing where the Giuliani administration was placing people: facilities where the management was involved in money laundering and drug dealing, where bathrooms were not at all maintained, where the security was such that people were murdered, where there was a lack of elevators so that people living with AIDS passed out crawling up stairs on their hands and knees.

POWERS: I can’t explain to you what it was like every day going into City Hall, the criticism and the vicious remarks. We were accused of hurting the poor and being insensitive and everything, when you knew you were right and you had to stick to your guns. That’s the essence of Rudy Giuliani.

ABRAMS: A professor at NYU School of Law was quoted by the AP as saying that she could teach a whole course on the First Amendment just on cases involving Giuliani.

LANE: Giuliani’s sense that he has to control everything was ridiculous. He even tried to impose his tastes, in the Brooklyn Museum thing.

ABRAMS: He focused on a single picture by a distinguished English-Nigerian artist which showed a colorfully clad black woman as the Virgin Mary. I know he had not seen the painting. Through an aide, he had a journalist ask him about it at a press conference, where he exploded—the art was “sick” and “an outrage,” and the city would take away the museum’s funding because the painting had elephant dung on it, which is used routinely in Nigeria for decorative purposes. He said he was going to evict the museum from the building it had occupied since the end of the nineteenth century, and that they would throw out the board and appoint a new one.

HAUER: I was at the press conference when he went through that fit of hysteria. I was standing behind him, and the minute he went off on his rant, I started backing up to get out of the shot, because I didn’t want to be on TV that night associated with his craziness.

ABRAMS: My reaction was partly one of disbelief. One of the most clearly established, least ambiguous principles of First Amendment law is that the state may not act to retaliate against speech of which it disapproves. This was retaliation. He was outraged. He was filled with fury. I don’t think he cared what the law was. I think he thought that First Amendment law is for Upper West Side liberals to play around with. The resolution was a complete humiliation for him—a court order repeatedly mentioning him by name, and eventually agreed to by him, that said he would not treat the museum differently from any other museum in the future or attempt to reduce its funding.

MARCIA PAUL (attorney): New York magazine had placed an ad on the sides of New York City buses featuring its logo and the words possibly the only good thing in new york rudy hasn’t taken credit for. I received a phone call in which I was advised that Rudy had called the Metropolitan Transit Authority and demanded that the ads be taken down. The ads were summarily removed, and the magazine wanted to know what it could do. This was Rudy exercising his political muscle to make things happen without going the normal legal route. A judge’s decision required the city to put the ads back up. The MTA sent an emergency appeal and a stay of the judge’s order. The stay was denied and we won the appeal. Then they petitioned the Supreme Court, which refused to hear it. Almost every single night, Rudy would have a news conference. New York got far more publicity through Rudy’s uncontrollable need to talk about the ad every night on the news than it ever would have gotten otherwise. I still don’t get it. One wonders more than anything else whether the man has a sense of humor.


Despite a burgeoning crisis in New York City’s public schools, the mayor engaged in political combat, not cooperation, with a series of unhappy chancellors and boards.

KAREN FINNEY (director of communications for chancellor Harold Levy): Harold Levy became chancellor immediately after his predecessor was ousted by Mayor Giuliani, but he wasn’t the mayor’s choice. For the first several months of Levy’s tenure, Mayor Giuliani refused to meet with him. You have 1.1 million children in New York City public schools, 80,000 teachers. What kind of person, what kind of leader just says, I’m not going to talk to the schools chancellor just because he wasn’t my pick?

RANDI WEINGARTEN (president, United Federation of Teachers): Once I said on the radio that I wasn’t going to rule out a strike. I heard over the course of the next few days that he was infuriated and that his staff was looking for a way to put me in jail. It was just ridiculous.

ANEMONE: Another schools chancellor was understood to be gay, though not publicly or openly. So the mayor was asked a question at a press conference about the differences between his plan for education and the chancellor’s, and his answer was, “The little victim,” “so precious.” That was code, and everyone who lived in the city knew what he was saying. That was just mean. The mayor really enjoyed doing that.

FINNEY: After 9/11, there were concerns about contaminants in the air. Rudy pressured the chancellor to reopen seven schools near the World Trade Center. He wanted to show that we were getting back to normal. He was under a lot of pressure from Wall Street. But all of our data showed that the air quality was incredibly dangerous for children. Rudy didn’t care. Levy made it very clear that he was not going to reopen the schools until the air quality was appropriate for children. Rudy was just enraged. He was unwilling to listen to scientific evidence. Why? Because he wanted what he wanted, and that’s all he could see.

WEINGARTEN: One day, after a State of the City address, it was snowing. He had just taken the school system apart in his speech. It was a bravura performance, so disconcerting, so dispiriting and disheartening. And I see him outside City Hall, and I did not have my coat on. He had just ripped right into the school system and the union, but he looked at me and said—and his tone was quite caring—“You have to wear a coat. Why are you not wearing a coat?” I said something like “My blood’s burning enough right now that I don’t need to.” He just laughed. I remember thinking, Is this real, or is it all a game to him?

COLLINS: I think he just lacks a basic sense of empathy. It’s not an unusual characteristic in a criminal prosecutor. Look at his relationship with his children, his divorcing his wife at a press conference.

POLNER: I actually covered that. We went over to Bryant Park for some kind of event. Rudy and his people kept huddling and talking, and the event was delayed and delayed. They seemed very nervous and charged. And then they gathered us in the restaurant there, and Rudy announced that he had a “special friend” in his life and that she had helped him through his prostate cancer. He went on to talk about his love for this woman and that he would be leaving Donna Hanover. Pretty soon after the press conference, it emerged that Donna Hanover didn’t know. She learned about it on the news. And this affair had gone on for ten months. She came out of Gracie Mansion that evening around five o’clock and was fighting back tears. The two kids were old enough to really be hurt by this. You can see now that they are taking their mom’s side and want nothing to do with their father, who wants to be an American father figure.

ANEMONE: It took an event the size of 9/11 for this son of a gun to show the slightest bit of human compassion.

GREEN: I don’t think it’s arguable that he rose to the occasion on that day and immediately afterward and struck the right note of compassion and strength.

GABE PRESSMAN (chairman, Freedom of the Press Committee, New York Press Club): My most vivid memories of Rudy were right after 9/11, when he quickly shut off the World Trade Center area to television crews. All this in the name of God knows what. There were no explanations given.

SIEGEL: He’s best in crisis. He is not a man for all seasons. His oversize personality will capsize the ship of state in calm waters.

GLENN CORBETT (associate professor of fire science, Department of Public Management, John Jay College of Criminal Justice): If we’re going to be invaded by a whole army of squeegee men from abroad, then maybe he’s your guy. But he’s basically running on his 9/11, um, what he calls credentials. What’s weird about this whole situation is that people across the country think that Rudy is tremendously beloved by the emergency responders. And it’s the complete opposite. We knew that communications were an issue after [the radios failed during] the 1993 bombing, and they used the same radios on 9/11.

MALDONADO: There were recommendations made years ago that were never complied with, which would have given the fire department the ability to communicate with the police department. When the order was given to evacuate the towers, the firefighters didn’t receive it.

CORBETT: Giuliani basically made a claim at the 9/11 hearings in 2004 that these emergency responders chose to stay behind and rescue people. They essentially decided to ignore the evacuation order. And of course, this whole situation revolves around the fact that you have to hear an evacuation order to follow it. And if your radios are not working, then how are you going to hear that message? The other presidential candidates will not bring this up. They will not talk about it. It’s like a third rail for them. We feel a moral obligation to say something about this.

RAYMOND HORTON (Frank R. Lautenberg professor of ethics and corporate governance, Columbia Business School): To me, 9/11 symbolizes the worst of Rudy, not the best of Rudy. Because his immediate response was that we should suspend the mayoral elections so he could be mayor beyond his term. It gave him a second life, politically. He was dead and gone politically until 9/11.

LANE: There was a serious conversation about the charter and term limits, about whether or not he could run again. I was asked by people who had power how I would finagle that, if I were doing it. They wisely decided that it would have looked horrible. I was thinking at the time, Wow, he envisions himself as indispensable.

POLNER: Jimmy Breslin calls him a small man in search of a balcony.

KOCH: He couldn’t have been elected dogcatcher on 9/10.

HAUER: The minute I endorsed Mark Green [as Giuliani’s successor], some detective took away my credentials to Ground Zero. When my staff heard, they had ten more sets of credentials produced and delivered to me surreptitiously, just because they hated Rudy. He threw his hissy fit. He called me on my cell phone, and I had horrible reception, so I could barely hear him. He thought I was playing games with him. He’s got such a frail ego. I said, “Mayor, I can barely hear you.” And he said, “I heard you endorsed Mark Green today with Bratton.” He didn’t like Bratton, and he particularly hated Mark Green. He said, “If you do that, you’re done.” He started yelling and screaming, and I couldn’t tell what he was saying, so I just hung up. Within an hour, two of his aides were calling the press, talking about how I was gone.

POLNER: During all this hero worship going on in the national press, he had one of his last town-hall meetings. It was in a Bronx high school, and he lashed out at a teacher for saying that he didn’t know anything about the schools, that the schools are still a mess, that there was too much overcrowding in the classroom, that you can’t teach that way. I remember he just laid into her. He said that it was people like her who were responsible for the lamentable state of the New York City school system. I remember chuckling to myself in the audience: That’s the Giuliani I know. Okay, we’re getting back to normal here.

POWERS: I’ve known him fifty years. And I’ve never seen him lose his temper. No way.

Reported by Hilary Elkins, Alex French, David Gargill, Randy Hartwell, Cole Louison, Laurence Lowe, Raha Naddaf, and Alexander Provan.

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

Jesu, 'Lifeline'

Thursday  January 03, 2008


Jesu, Lifeline
hydra head records

JesuIf ever there were an omnipotent musician, a guy who could successfully flout musical boundaries at will, it would be Justin K. Broadrick. The mind behind Jesu was also at the helm of such creative genius as Godflesh, Napalm Death, and Techno Animal. Don't, however, let those heavy names deter you. This project embraces the sort of avant-garde beauty that tends to come with age and experience. Lifeline, a four-track EP, creates serenely beautiful, layered soundscapes heavily weighted in fuzz and feedback. While it does have some notable similarities to other shoegaze legends, namely Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, Jesu goes a step beyond by meshing guitars, drums, and today's electronics, inspiring a bliss that ranges from listless to foreboding. Broadrick's melodic vocals dance within hazy layers of sound that seem nearly all encompassing. A guest appearance by Jarboe, of Swans, rounds out the EP. The result: Add yet another Jesu release to the buy-on-sight list.—brett cleaver

Buy Lifeline
CD: Amazon
Download: iTunes | Amazon


Tuesday  January 01, 2008

Click here for ‘Forked,’ Alan Richman’s food and wine blog at