Sunday, July 29, 2007

You are Steve Martin, and you may now kiss the fact-checker.

One of my favorite books that my dad gave me way back when was Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City. Told entirely in second-person narrative, it's the tale of a young man in New York City dealing with his mother's death, his wife who has left him, and the narcotic temptations of the "Bolivian Marching Powder." He - or as the book tells it, "you" - works in the Department of Factual Verification of a magazine which may or may not be The New Yorker.

Fired after an article full of mistakes is allowed to go to press, revenge tactics involve a ferret, a boss's desk after working hours, and an unplanned very bad bite on the narrator's hand. McInerney's wonderfully comic, poetic and luminous novel was later made into a very average move starring Michael J. Fox.

Whenever I hear the phrase, "Department of Factual Verification," I think of that funny and moving book. But when actor-writer Steve Martin hears the phrase, he probably thinks of Anne Stringfield, his lovely new bride. She is The New Yorker magazine's deputy head of fact-checking and they married last night in his Los Angeles home. Steve's best man was Lorne Michaels, with guests including Tom Hanks, Diane Keaton, Carl Reiner and Eugene Levy.

1 comment:

Geoff said...

That second-person address flummoxed me when I read "Bright Lights, Big City" at a young age. I kept wanting to say, "No I didn't..."