Dear Dan Quayle: The former vice-president is about to become a newspaper columnist. Some words of advice from an experienced practitioner

So you, too, are going to be a columnist. Welcome to the fraternity.

As you know, columns are the only things anyone reads in the papers anyway. It's where the public finds the writer it agrees with, who will make its day, start it off growling against unwed mothers or Tory fetishists. Gorbie does it; if offered enough money, Maggie would do it; why shouldn't you? At least it gives you a chance to strike back at your brethren, who so long and so cruelly lampooned you, set you up and lured you into a famous misspelling, twisted your every word to suit their own baby-boomer ends.

I hope you know what you're getting into. Ours - as you should know, since your family's been in the newspaper business long enough - is a cut-throat, dog-eat-dog world. Columnists are paid to be horribly consistent. On this paper, one poor chap has to be funny day in and day out, another has to be sombre and apocalyptic once a week. It's not easy. But at least you will have no difficulty finding subjects. The rosy-cheeked world into which you were born, and which you always seemed to pretend still existed, back when you were First-Baseman Georgie-Porgie's Vice-President, is no longer. I suspect daily change is not what Americans had in mind when they voted for Our Bill. So maybe they'll listen to you and you'll get to run for the Real Job in '96.

At least you've started off on the right foot. Creator Syndicates, your new employer, strikes me as the ultimate marketing organisation. If God's behind you, what do you care that some will snicker? The two or three times our paths crossed, I found you anything but stupid. A bit earnest perhaps, a bit too brightly washed behind the ears, but with your heart and your facts in the right place.

But you will have to accept that there are people, over here, over there, who find it silly to talk about eternal verities. Your first column, which is being syndicated worldwide, tackles family values, a subject on which most of your colleagues will not long want to dwell; nor do they know much about them. But they're real enough, if talked about more than practised.

Your boss, one Richard Newcombe, calls you 'the most articulate man to emerge from 12 years of Republican rule'. You might want to get him to tone that down: Ronnie was one hell of a raconteur and George's only trouble was that he didn't know where he was from, the silver-spoon East Coast or raunchy Texas. You were always plain Indiana Hoosier, an apple-pie man. Stick to that.

(Photograph omitted)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

    £26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions