Early in her career as a broadcaster, Katie Couric tried to 'using her first name, Katherine, on screen: "to thwart my Campbell ' s Soup Kid look " she writes in a new book that has leaked like a Tupperware without burps throughout the ecosystem media. To "give an air of authority to my missing face and voice ". authority, and so "Katie " prevailed. But the inner 'Katherine' continued to stomp, deservedly seeking recognition and respect for travel to war zones and talking to world leaders - even as her playful alter ego did things like soar over Rockefeller Center in Peter Pan costume, dusting handfuls of confetti .
Another name is yet another spectrum: the so-called " Karen ", titled white woman archetype - sometimes depicted , as it turns out, with a Peter Pan pixie haircut.
Richer than Croesus, surrounded by trophies and at the head of a eponymous media company with her second husband, John Molner, Couric no longer has to worry about a contract or a program being canceled. But his public figure - who took to Twitter last year for saying Denzel Washington "jumped on me" in an old interview; loving the problematic movie "Breakfast at Tiffany 's " so much that shehe made it the theme of his 50th birthday party; casually quoting Longfellow's exotic epic poem "The Song of Hiawatha " - is still vulnerable.
"Going There ", as she calls l Couric's epic, might as well be subtitled "Poser This", starting with stormy family skeletons: a subdued Judaism on one side, "tainted with racists" on the other. - Paternal mother, Wilde, gave Couric 's father a first edition of "The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan" bearing the inion: "This is such a precious and beautiful book. ever destroy. (This was discovered in her office by a horrified great-granddaughter.) Then there's Couric's first husband, Jay Monahan, whose bugle's passion for Confederate reenactments Couric once considered "a benign pastime '- throw him an old south - a 40th themed birthday party witha Barbie Scarlett O 'Hara doll on top of the cake - but now she's nauseous, even though she continues to mourn her death from colon cancer at age 42. Image Katie Couric, including the new memories are "Going There ". Credit ... Andrew Eccles
Not visiting the homes of his black comrades in his childhood suburb “De facto segregated”? Attending, however uncomfortable, a University of Virginia fraternity party with blackface waiters as an undergrad? Devoting hours of "Today" to white victims rather than acknowledging institutional racism? Ms. Couric regrets. She squirms, squeaksteeth and is mortified by her "ignorance, born of an intractable white privilege". She is distressed that she withheld part of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's rambling rebuke against protests from football star Colin Kaepernick. ("Clearly that was a blind spot for Ginsburg, and I wanted to protect her.") Maybe journalistic objectivity isn't all it was claimed to be?
Patriarchy is proving more difficult to denounce. Shortly after our heroine, modeling herself on the fictional Mary Richards , broke into the company as 22-year-old assistant Sam Donaldson from 'in her forties jumped to the top of a desk to serenade her with a WWI song ( "KKK-Katy, beautiful Katy "). Larry King hasmakes advances after the poached veal ("The slit. The tongue. The hands."). Years later, Les Moonves, "a chatterbox with bad breath ", lured her to be the first woman to perform the "CBS Evening News " solo, "while massaging my e-spot (as in ego) so skillfully "on the sofa in his Park Avenue apartment. Like Richards, Couric lit the world with her smile and clearly enjoyed the not always proper attentions of powerful men. In such an environment, she admits, when "someone younger and cuter was always around the corner", mentoring female correspondents "sometimes amounted to self-sabotage".
Katie 's story is about walking through the doors of a boy's club whose members greet each other "heyyyyy, mate " - without burning this club. (The bluestocking Katherine could have dared.) Sex and the bathroomwriting, her attitude is basically as it was, to paraphrase her avuncular idol Walter Cronkite. Being called "cheerful " disturbed her, but having dollops of "moxie " was fine.
While she was a young associate producer for "Take Two ", a daytime show on CNN - then dubbed Chicken Noodle News - Couric dated without blinking with a director and slipped on Frosty Cola lipstick to flirt with playwright Neil Simon at a press conference. ("I knew he knew I knew he noticed me.") When an executive commented on her breasts in a meeting, she berated an IBM Selectric and personally ma l 'carried in his office. Problem solved! A sort of saucy borscht-belt humor ( "speaking of horny toads ", she once ad-liberated on the air, following the mention of a convention on amphibians, "Gene Shalit has just entered the studio ") becomes as much a part of his armor as shoulder-padded designer jackets. Even at the expense of a besieged successor to "Today," his contemporary Ann Curry, at a Friars Club roast by Matt Lauer that now looks like a smoking gun.
Hearing salacious rumors about Lauer and a production assistant, Couric wrinkled his nose at the affront to Lauer 's wife back then. than the big duh of workplace harassment. Curry said she internally reported Lauer's behavior back in 2012. He was ousted five years later and finally become, Couric writes " le Leon Trotsky of 30 Rock ", their awkward lyrics flowing: " It 's like Matt never existed. "
Honestly, with all the facilitators above her, it's hard to fault Couric for ignoring a colleague's compartmentalized exploits. If there's one thing that "Going There " conclusively proves that she always had a lot to go on. The youngest of four children born to a PR man with his own shattered dreams of the Fourth Estate and from a housewife who had done layouts for Coronet magazine, Couric grew to be one of the original and most determined copies of this' 80s shibboleth, "having it all. " "After Monahan's death, she raised heaps of money to fight the disease that killed her. Her on-air colonoscopy destigmatized the procedure and surely saved many lives, though she perhaps also left her prone to over-sharing, as this book's pointless anecdote about her young daughter's diarrhea accident onhighway.
But I don't believe for a second that she, so frankly refreshing about her competitiveness, wants the first line of her Obituary either "Katie Couric was a strong advocate for cancer awareness and research ". In this generally sporting draw of a memoir, such an assertion lands with the sweet sound of morality. And it's never good for notes.