Swipe and Swig

Feb 21, 2005  •  Post A Comment

If schadenfreude and the high-stakes Hollywood “gotcha-back” game are your cups of tea, you may think that James B. Stewart’s “DisneyWar” already is a laff riot in need of nothing more than a laugh track. But The Insider, who believes the only good excuse is an excuse to drink, proposes a “DisneyWar” drinking game.

While reading the book, one could simply chug a cold something every time one of those portrayed as micromanagers gets penknifed in the back, but that’s a recipe for blacking out before even one chapter has been read.

Plus, there’s no fine-tuned antenna required. Turn page. Chug. Turn page. Chug. The Insider would rather play the license plate game on a 10-hour road trip with a dyslexic


No, the game should begin with the index. When the book is a media tell-all-and-then-some, we all start with the index, anyway, not the first chapter.

You don’t need The Insider to suggest, for example, to go for a list of references whose relative size seems compatible with just how bleary-eyed one’s inner child wants to get or just how restrained one’s inner adult hopes to stay.

Add degrees of difficulty to your formula by deciding that you will tipple only upon reading the references that are, say, unexpectedly heroic or, perhaps, characteristically coy. Or that are, mayhaps, sure to put a smile/smirk/sneer on a particular player’s face.

One of the most no-nonsense industry folks who takes The Insider’s calls said, “Nobody cares. They really don’t care. They don’t have time.”

Oh, oh, au contraire. Most of the folks The Insider knows are making time and considering it time entertainingly spent-whether they consider the tales old news, whether they could contribute a few bitter tales of their own to a sequel or whether they take issue with Mr. Stewart’s account.

The Insider has learned that Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who once was a major investor in Disney, and Tom Murphy, who sold Cap Cities/ABC to Disney in 1995, did the latter.

In a letter last week to Simon & Schuster Executive VP David Rosenthal and Mr. Stewart, Mr. Buffett wrote: “On Page 388, I am mentioned as having told Tom Murphy that I wouldn’t invest in Disney as long as Michael Eisner was chief executive.

“For the record, I want to tell you this is wrong. I didn’t say this to Tom Murphy. I didn’t say it to anyone else. I didn’t think it. It is wrong.

“I understand Tom Murphy is writing you separately. Please do what you can to be certain this inaccuracy is not repeated in any way.”

The Insider was not able to obtain a copy of Mr. Murphy’s letter.

But in the spirit of her drinking game, The Insider salutes him. Sincerely, if not quite soberly.