Roger L. Simon

Brief Book Report

I have just returned from the first day of the LAT Book Festival, which seemed well attended as usual. My panel (“Not Your Usual Suspects”) with Kem Nunn, T. Jefferson Parker, Marcos McPeek Villatoro, moderated by Tod Goldberg, drew a full house (300 or so) at Dodd 147 and went off pretty well, I thought.

Afterwards, I scribbled my name in a few books at the signing booth and started home when I ran into Mickey Kaus, running breathlessly (he was late) toward Royce Hall. “Going to the blogger’s panel?” he asked. What was that, I wondered. Then I remembered: David Shaw, Hugh Hewitt, Arianna Huffington, some others (couldn’t recall) at Royce Hall. I followed him over and we snagged a couple of the few remaining seats in the balcony. The place was jammed to the rafters, literally. It was a humbling experience after my panel–the hall seems to seat a couple of thousand or more. I could barely see Hugh, a friend, down on the stage, but their faces were being projected on large athletic event-style monitors.

The subject was, you will be stunned to learn, the War in Iraq, although the panel’s title was “Brave New World: Monopoly, Media and the Right to Know.” A fellow named Geoffrey Stone, an historian, was opining about how the media had enabled the war. Then Arianna stepped forward in high dudgeon to complain that some in the media were pronouncing the war a success after the Iraqi elections. No one had been saying this war was about democracy before it was fought, she insisted. At that point I walked out.