Jimmy Breslin is the newspaper columnist whose gruff prose has extended the whole human comedy of New York to the world, first in the pages of the New York Herald Tribune, and later the Daily News and Newsday.
Breslin is telling us the story of Branch Rickey, the owner of the old Brooklyn Dodgers who integrated baseball — and changed our country — when he hired Jackie Robinson back in 1947. Rickey, Breslin says, “decided that there was a great American sin, and a great America to be gained by putting a black into baseball. He could see things.”
Jimmy Breslin can see things too. In our conversation, he’s musing far and wide about the great America that’s been gained, and the one that’s still in the offing. It’s all delivered in the unmistakeable style that he calls “a dirty shirt at night.”
He’s sharing observations on everything from “Who killed the newspaper?”;
The thing in the air, where you don’t have to read. What is it? — Google, internet, this, that. You’re gettin’ beat by the air. The air. The air wins. …
to the future of The New York Times;
The New York Times? 82 words in a lede sentence, I’m reading one day, and you expect it to last against the words that come whizzing through the air? No. It cannot be. Not for long.
Obama comes from Robinson. There was a White House waiting for him because of Robinson. You put a black into the White House! Tell me that isn’t amazing. It makes the mouth drop open. Then the first thing he does is he’s in support of three wars. And I’m supposed to like him. Hard-ly.
to the view from his apartment, 38 floors above Columbus Circle;
The river is marvelous. I just look at the river; with the clouds, on prime days, it’s beautiful. It’s not going to help you — you better sit down and write! But it’s good to gaze once in a while.
to the origins of the Breslin – (Norman) Mailer bid for NYC government;
BAR! One hand on the wood of a bar while we expounded what we were going to do. It was a night at the bar and it spilled into too many.
to the right wing today,
Why do they waste their freaking time with those views in a country like this? What are you worried about saving money for so much? Spend the money! Spend more. Help people, be known for it and you’ll find there’s more money there than they believe is.
and being called a “master.”
It’s marvelous to be embarrassed.