Roger L. Simon

"Don't smell it. Sell it!" - Has Henry Waxman read the healthcare bill?

“Don’t smell it. Sell it!” was a wisecrack/watchword employed by NY and Hollywood agents when I was breaking in as a writer. [Were there men on the moon then?-ed. No, just cows.] Of course the wags were referring to the wretched manuscripts and screenplays they were supposed to be flogging to publishers or producers. Don’t worry about whether you like it or not – just sell the sucker. In fact, why even bother to read it? If the buyers buy, who cares?

And sure enough, without naming names here, most of which I have forgotten anyway, I ran into a variety of agents on both coasts over the years who sold my work and the work others numerous times (sometimes even the same one) without even reading it once – well, maybe the “coverage” (one-page studio or agency outline).

This was especially true of longer works, so I’m more than a little suspicious of whether almost anyone has read either the current healthcare bill or the recent cap-and-trade legislation that just passed the House. But what fascinates me is that these two pieces of legislation have the same agent… er… Congressman ramming them through – Rep. Henry Waxman. And what could be more fitting because I can guarantee you there is no Congressman with more agents living in his district – the California 30th that includes West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Malibu, some of the priciest real estate this side of Dubai – than any other representative extant. In fact I’d be willing to wager it’s by a factor of ten, or even a hundred. Waxman’s district is Agent Central. Important, or even half-way important, people here only read the “coverage”. It’s just the boys in the mailroom who read the whole thing – and only those boys in the mail room destined to go nowhere.

So why should we expect Henry to really understand the details in this massive, country-changing legislation he’s been pushing? Anthropogenic global warming? Why ask him? As Henry himself admitted in a recent hearing, he relies on scientists for this. But who does the “coverage” on global warming and healthcare? Certainly not Rahm Emanuel. He knows very well from his brother what the rules of the game are. “Don’t smell it. Sell it!” You got a problem with this? Just remember: if these bills go through and your world changes, it all began in the California 30th. And you can be sure of one thing – most of the people there won’t be using the public healthcare system. They wouldn’t dream of it. (Barbra Streisand without her own personal doctor? C’mon.) Most of their kids don’t go to public schools either. It’s all part of the same game. Do what I say, not what I do. And read the “coverage.”