Thursday, July 07, 2005

Judith Miller: Behind These Walls


(image via shabakatvoltaire)

Taking one for the team and going to jail to protect the identity of a source isn't intrinsically funny. Not in the least. But that doesn't stop us from trying. On the principle that the first rule of comedy is that nothing is off limits, this:

Behind These Walls (Narrated in a whiny singsongy voice by Maureen Dowd)

Narrator: She was smiling ... That's right. You know, that, that Judith smile of hers. She had it on her face right to the very end. Hell, if they didn't know it 'fore, they could tell right then that they weren't a-gonna beat her. That old Judith smile. Her first night in the joint, Judith Miller cost me two packs of cigarettes. She never made a sound.

Next day. "Fresh fish" line up:

Guard: Any woman playing grabass or fightin' in the building spends a night in the box. Them clothes got laundry numbers on them. You remember your number and always wear the ones that has your number. Any woman forgets her number spends a night in the box. These here spoons you keep with you. Any woman loses her spoon spends a night in ...

Judith: ...the box.

Guard: I hope you ain't going to be a hard case.

Judith: [Smiles, shakes head] .

Narrator: I must admit I didn't think much of Judith first time I laid eyes on her; looked like a stiff breeze would blow her over. That was my first impression of the woman.

(Fade In; Commissary; A propos of nothing) Judith: I can eat fifty eggs.

Convict: Nobody can eat fifty eggs.

Convict 2: You just said he could eat anything.

Convict: Did you ever eat fifty eggs?

Judith: Nobody ever eat fifty eggs.

Convict 2: Hey, Babalugats. We got a bet here.

Convict: My girl says he can eat fifty eggs, she can eat fifty eggs.

Convict: Yeah, but in how long?

Judith: A hour.

Convict: Well, I believe I'll take part of that wager.

(Later) Judith: Urp!

Narrator: We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free women. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the queens of all creation. As for Judith - she spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on her face, watching us drink her beer.

And that's how it came to pass that on the second-to-last day of the job, the convict crew that tarred the plate factory roof in the spring of forty-nine wound up sitting in a row at ten o'clock in the morning drinking icy cold, Bohemia-style beer, courtesy of the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at the Alexandria Detention Center.

Guard: Drink up while it's cold, ladies ...


And while this is all good, clean fun, Judith Miller -- despite her coverage of the runup to war, which is a separate issue -- is, in our opinion, doing a great service to journos everywhere. We wish her nothing but the best in the harrowing days ahead.

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