George H. W. Bush Outlines Richards Nixon’s Hang-Ups about Ivy League Bastards

Yalie George H.W. Bush served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee under Richard Nixon. Despite this appointment, he felt he did not enjoy the President’s trust and he fretted that Nixon viewed him as a mere “Ivy League bastard.” Nixon’s conflicted feelings about an Ivy League education extended even to his consigliore, the Harvard-educated PhD and Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger. * Bush outlined his worries in a 1972 letter to his sons:

“The President’s hang-up on Ivy League is two-fold.** The first relates to issues. He sees the Ivy League type as the Kennedy liberal Kingman Brewster on the war–arrogant, self-assured, soft professors moving the country left. Soft on Communism in the past–soft on socialistic programs at home–fighting him at every turn– close to the editors that hate him. In this issue context he equates Ivy League with anti-conservatism and certainly anti-Nixon.

Secondly I believe there is rather insecure social kind of hang-up. Ivy League connotes privilege and softness in a tea sipping, martini drinking, tennis playing sense. There’s an enormous hang-up here that comes through an awful lot. I feel it personally. It stings but it doesn’t bleed.”

*“That fucker doesn’t perform surgery or make house calls does he?” Bush is reputed to have asked staffers when they referred to the Secretary of State as “Doctor” Kissinger.

**Bush was correct. “The Ivy League presidents?” Nixon told Kissinger after his meeting with Ivy League College Presidents about Vietnam, “Why I’ll never let those sons of bitches in the White House again. Never, never, never. They’re finished. The Ivy League schools are finished… Henry, I would never have had them in. Don’t do that again… They came out against us when it was tough… Don’t ever go to an Ivy League school again, ever. Never, never, never.”

George Bush letter, July 23, 1972, All the Best, George Bush, Touchstone, 1999.

The Strange New World of the Internet

Time magazine’s July 25, 1994 cover story about “the world’s largest computer network, once the playground of scientists, hackers and gearheads,” posed the question, “Is there room for everyone?” FAQs (Time helpfully added “Frequently Asked Questions” in brackets) covered included “What is the Internet?”,'”How do I get connected?'” and listed some of the best guidebooks ( The Internet: Complete Reference, The Internet Nagivator, and Cruising Online). “Don’t start a ‘flame war’,” the magazine cautioned, “Unless you’re willing to take the heat.” It also featured a section about “Sex and the Net”:

“For those interested in pornography, there’s plenty of it on the Internet. It comes in all forms: hot chat, erotic stories, explicit pictures, even XXX-rated film clips. Every night brings a fresh crop, and the newsgroups that carry it  (,, etc.) are among the top four or five most popular. The salacious stuff is clearly an embarasment to the Clinton Administration, which has been trying to make a virtue of getting the Internet into schools. The White House is concerned, admits Tom Kalil, an adviser to Vice President Al Gore. But to judge the Net by its smut, he says ‘is like forming an impression of New York City by looking only at the crime statistics.’

For purely technical reasons, it is impossible to censor the Internet at present… But some antipornography activists have found a clever way to cope with that. Form time to time, they will appear in newsgroups devoted to X-rated picture files and start posting messages with titles like ‘YOU WILL ALL BURN IN HELL!’ These typically provoke flurries of angry responses– until it dawns on the pornography lovers that by filling the message board with their rejoinders, they are pushing out the sexy items they came to enjoy.”

“Battle for the Soul of the Internet,” Philip Elmer-Dewitt, Time, July 25, 1994.


Richard Burton Did Not Love Lucy


Thursday, May 17th, 1970, Beverly Hills Hotel

“Those who had told us that Lucille Ball was ‘very wearing’ were not exaggerating. She is a monster of staggering charmlessness and monumental lack of humour. She is not ‘wearing’ to us because I suppose we refuse to be worn. I am coldly sarcastic with her to the point of outright contempt but she hears only what she wants to hear… Nineteen solid years of double-takes and pratfalls and desperate up-staging and cutting other people’s laughs if she can, nervously watching ‘the ratings’ as she does so. A machine of enormous energy, which driven by a stupid driver who has forgotten that a machine runs on oil as well as gasoline and who has neglected the former, is creaking badly towards a final convulsive seize-up. I loathed her the first day. I loathed her the second day and the third. I loathe her today but now I also pity her. After tonight I shall make a point of never seeing her again. We work, or have worked until today which is the last thank God, from 10am to somewhere around 5pm, and Milady Balls can thank her lucky stars that I am not drinking. There is a chance that I might have killed her. Jack Benney, the most amiable man in the world and one of the truly great comedians of our time, says that in 4 days she reduced his life expectancy by 10 years. The hitherto impeccably professional Joan Crawford was so inhibited by this behemoth of selfishness that she got herself stupendously crocked for the actual show and virtually had to be helped to her feet and managed, not without some satisfaction I dare say, to bugger up the whole show.”

The Richard Burton Diaries, Edited by Chris Williams, Yale University Press, 2012.

Here’s Lucy with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor:

Party Hostessing with Joan Crawford

crawford-torchsong“A superb hostess who’s been giving great parties for years plays a role she knows by heart. But a nervous or inexperienced one can benefit by some rehearsing. I don’t mean rehearsing the salad dressing but rehearsing herself. I know a charming woman who was always tongue-tied at her own parties although she was perfectly at ease in other people’s houses. So a hundred times she practiced walking around her living room chatting with imaginary guests. Finding the right thing to say to each one. Introducing strangers with just the right phrase to interest them in one another. She practiced moving gracefully, going to the door to greet newcomers, offering canapés. And now she thoroughly enjoys going to her own parties…

Rehearse your dress, too. Whether you’re having only six for dinner or fifty for cocktails, wear a lovely gown.”

Joan Crawford, My Way of Life, Simon and Schuster, 1971.