Thursday, April 04, 2013

Alec Baldwin Interviews Lewis Lapham

This Lewis Lapham interview from last December is fascinating throughout, as Lapham's Quarterly is:
Lewis Lapham: Right. On the other hand by the time grandfather got to be Mayor of San Francisco in 1942 he ran as an Independent. He was very open. I mean he would pick hitchhikers up. He never had a bodyguard, he never had tinted windows –

Alec Baldwin: He was more genuine. 
Lewis Lapham: – he used to like to go into the saloons in San Francisco late at night and the – he wanted to get a bond issue passed to replace the street cars on Market Street with busses, and there was some resistance about that, so he put it to a bet. He said, ‘Okay, there will be a race. I will race from the Ferry building to City Hall. I will ride an elephant against a trolley car, and if the elephant beats the trolley car we have the bond issue. If not, not.’

But he was a gambling man so he insisted on a handicap, and the handicap was that the elephant would be allowed to go through red lights. The elephant won. The bond issue passed.

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