Jeffrey Goldberg: Isn't it great that Michael Palin's sister is running for vice president?
JG: Is Sarah Palin Jewish? Her husband was in the Yiddish Policemen's Union. Or maybe the Steelworkers, I forget.
MC: It's unlikely and, I feel, sort of weird the way this Alaskan lady's fortunes have become caught up, and so quickly, with those of the Jews. An exhaustive search of press mentions on Lexis-Nexis reveals that, until very recently, "Alaska" and "Jews" had been included in the same sentence only 18 times, ever. I know I probably deserve some of the credit for this uptick, but I decline to accept it.
JG: What's your favorite Alaskan food?
MC: I know you want me to say moose. You probably also want me to point out that moose (properly slaughtered of course) is kosher. Same goes for reindeer. I have eaten both, in Juneau, Sitka and Wrangell. Reindeer sausage. Mooseburger. Also fiddlehead ferns and lingonberries. But I'm going to have to go with lox.
JG: Alaska. Crazy place, or what?
MC: It's crazy beautiful, that's for sure. I found it a dark place, and not just because it was literally dark much of time, during my second visit, in late winter. Also, I found it (the place, not the people) hostile, and not just in the sense that wilderness is generally said to be hostile. I kept thinking of that bit from Twin Peaks, where the sheriff says, "There is something very, very strange in these old woods. Call it what you want, a darkness, a presence." Almost everything humans have built there is unbelievably ugly. That might have something to do with the air of resentment given off by the underlying terrain.
JG: Do you think Barack Obama has placated whatever fears elderly Jews have of him?
JG: Do you think McCain was a) smart, or b) stupid, to pick Palin as his running mate?
JG: Are any of your children named Bristol, Willow or Track?