Before we get into a fight about it, Perfectly Legal by David Cay Johnston is a book exposing how the super-rich don't statistically pay the proper income tax. Johnston is an investigative reporter and a Pulitzer winner. He didn't just show up at a publisher's office all, "Hey, Mister Penguin Books! Why don't you just give me a trial run? What do you say?" Because that's not how people get jobs. Anyway, the book is radically not in favor of the top 1% of the population, so when George slams the book down in fury and Ruth asks him what's wrong, what's wrong is the same thing that's always wrong with George when he works himself autonomously into a pissy mood: he's mad about something boring. Ruth should know better by now. He snarls back, "The slow murder of the middle class." Because he's in The Political Chair, where everybody is allowed one snark a week. I can't wait until it's Claire's turn and she's all radical and Kucinich-y and just sits at the table all by herself, screaming, "If I were president, I'd legalize everything! Id let clowns marry bagels! I'd make ketchup a state! And I'd take pictures of the whoooooole thing." Speaking of Claire, she's sitting at the table also, refusing Ruth's offer of "some tuna salad" with the defense that she just woke up. George uses the rejoinder of "The Japanese eat fish for breakfast every day," and Claire shuts down his I'm-Walter-Cronkite- inside-the-big- Epcot-ball- and-I-have- three-and-a-half-minutes- to-teach-you-eeeeeverything speech with a dispassionate "Great." And while I've heard that their cholesterol is lower than ours and from that hilarious Michael Keaton movie they sure do seem like an organized bunch of fun-loving car welders, I'm guessing their fish consumption would plummet considerably if their only breakfast option were the "Ruth Fisher Roll."
Ruth changes the subject by insuring that absolutely everything she says to George, for the extent of this entire episode, is phrased in the form of a question. She asks him what he's wearing this evening. It's with a perfect amount of pompous class-consciousness that he responds, "Oh, you know. Academic cocktail attire." She says that she does not know what that means. What shirt? With which jacket? And no tie? The Japanese never wear a tie to their academic cocktail parties. Jim never has a second cup at home. Jim never vomits at home.
David enters, full of unconvincing vigor. He makes his way straight for the coffee, Claire asking with as much emotion as her angsty self can muster, "How are you?" Ruth asks if he's feeling tired or if he wants some lunch because she's going to be asking a lot of questions this week, see, and she follows him into the next room and asks if they've found the carjacker yet. David responds that there have been no new developments since yesterday, but Ruth won't let it go: did he argue with the carjacker? Why would someone want to steal the van? She worries that it doesn't make any sense, causing David to snap, "Are you trying to find a way to make this my fault?" She apologizes and puts her hands together in an apologetic gesture and also to show that for once they're not tightly wrapped around her husband's nads. I'm sorry, I know George is a prig and I know Frances Conroy is a brilliant actor, but if Ruth were my wife right now I'd be making plans to cook her bunny and found my local chapter of the "No Ruths Allowed Club," which would make me not only the president, but also a member! ["If Ruth were your wife right now, the world would be different in so very many ways." -- Wing Chun] David assures Ruth, "Sometimes bad things just happen and it doesn't make sense. But at least, y'know, I'm okay. And it's over now." Ugh. Camp for Dogs. I'm still mad.