Talk dirty to me, Mr. Cruise

Author Jeffrey Toobin tells of a "rockin' ride," and Paula Jones on political science; Tom Cruise talks naughty sauce. Plus: George Stephanopoulos: Not a journalist but he plays one on TV.

Published January 22, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Well, it was something of a sandwich week for Nothing Personal: two slices of journalism with a big glob of Cruise's famous naughty sauce in the middle. (Just three columns this week due to the MLK holiday.) By the way, what the heck's naughty sauce? Stop! That's a rhetorical question. Don't you dare write in and tell me -- I don't want to know. But those of you who do can get Tom on the phone and find out more. Just read on ...

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Wednesday: "Scandal sucking and rumor ducking"

Jeffrey Toobin might want to send Lucianne Goldberg a thank-you note. Ever since the scandal-mongering literary agent began crying "libel" over her portrayal in the New Yorker writer's new book, "A Vast Conspiracy," everyone -- at least everyone inside the Beltway -- is rushing to read it.

Spicy tidbits from the book -- Paula Jones asking Toobin "The Republicans? Are they the good 'uns or the bad 'uns?" for instance, or dismally failing an employer's alphabetizing test -- have made their way into D.C. cocktail party chatter. (You thought you learned everything you needed to know from the Starr Report, eh?)

"It's been a rockin' ride. Tumultuous," Toobin told me last week in a phone call sandwiched between a radio interview and a mad dash from New York to Washington for his book launch party and a couple of TV appearances.

The author attributes the heavy buzz surrounding the book to good timing and great material. "It's not homework," he says. "That was my goal. This is a crazy, bizarre, hilarious story, and I didn't want to lose that in dealing with the serious issues ... You can't make up that cast of characters."

Read the entire Nothing Personal Column for Wednesday, Jan. 19.

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Thursday: "Marketnolia"

My ear's glued to the phone. Tom Cruise is talking dirty to me. He wants to help me "get that yum-yum that you really deserve." Oh, Tom.

I've just dialed 1-877-TAME-HER, the number that flashes on-screen during Paul Thomas Anderson's film "Magnolia" as Cruise's character, motivational speaker Frank T.J. Mackey, peddles his get-laid-quick program, "Seduce and Destroy."

So, for the low-low price of nothin', callers are treated to Cruise guaranteeing to change their lives and "help you get that naughty sauce you want -- fast." And while the recorded message doesn't go so far as to proclaim, "Respect the cock and tame the cunt," as Cruise's character does in the film, it does present this interesting insight:

"Language is the most underused tool in a man's arsenal -- the key to unlocking any woman's analytical ability and tap directly into her hopes, fears, desires and panties." Talk about risqui business ...

Read the entire Nothing Personal Column for Thursday, Jan. 20.

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Friday: "George gorge"

A certain smug collegiality filled the air Wednesday night at the televised launch of the book "Crusaders, Scoundrels, Journalists: The Newseum's Most Intriguing Newspeople." Panelists Ted Koppel, Helen Thomas and P.J. O'Rourke -- all honored in the book -- took turns fretting over the effects of technology ("Stories written on a computer ramble," griped O'Rourke) and the 24-hour news cycle ("There's a whole lot of stinkin' goin' on," quipped Koppel) and reminiscing about the good old days before, as Thomas put it, "everyone with a laptop started calling themselves a journalist."

But the slow simmer broke into a rolling boil when the book's editor asked, "George Stephanopoulos: Journalist?"

"No!" blurted White House Press Corps mainstay Thomas, adding starchily, "I don't think he was trained as a journalist."

"The training, you can get," said Rolling Stone's O'Rourke. "The problem is he's clientized" and shouldn't be reporting on his former boss. Even Koppel, Stephanopoulos' ABC kin, admitted that he had "queasy feelings about George as a reporter" because of his relationship with the prez.

Read the entire Nothing Personal Column for Friday, Jan. 21.

By Amy Reiter

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