RORY: Go away, Randolph.

Referring to William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), businessman, newspaper magnate, and politician, previously mentioned. Hearst developed the nation’s largest newspaper chain and media company, Hearst Communications. He was twice elected as a Democrat to the US House of Representatives, but was unsuccessful in his attempts to run for President in 1904, Mayor of New York in 1905 and 1909, and Governor of New York in 1906.

Like Hearst, Paris is the head of the newspaper and a presidential candidate. While running for President, Hearst shamelessly ran newspaper stories in favour of his own candidacy – Rory is suggesting Paris is doing the same thing by trying to influence the article Rory is writing about her speech.

William Randolph Hearst was unsuccessful in his bid for President, which might be a tease from Rory as well.

“Bury the lede”

LORELAI: Why did you go to New York?

RORY: To see Jess.

LORELAI: Boy, do you know how to bury the lede.

Bury the lede is an American phrase meaning “to hide the most important or most relevant part of a story within distracting information”.

The phrase comes from journalism, where the lede is the introductory part of a story which is meant to entice the reader to continue with the full story. It’s said that it is spelt “lede” rather than “lead” because the second spelling could be confused with the word “lead”, as in the lead metal in old-fashioned printing presses. Others think it was just to sound old-timey and romantic, and believe it to be an affectation. These people usually spell it “bury the lead”.

The phrase seems to date to the 1970s, but wasn’t included in dictionaries until 2008.

The Big Apple

RORY: I’m just saying I’m no stranger to the Big Apple.

JESS: You are if you’re calling it the Big Apple.

The Big Apple is a nickname for New York City, first popularised in the 1920s by John FitzGerald, a sports writer for The New York Morning Telegraph. Its popularity since the 1970s is mostly due to a promotional campaign by the city’s tourism authorities to boost the city during a fiscal crisis.

Although Rory says she’s been to New York a few times, she only mentions The Bangles concert in 2001 and a 2000 shopping trip where she didn’t even get out of the car. This could very well be her third trip to New York (and the second where her feet touched the ground!).

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

This is the book that Jess is reading in the park when Rory finds him. It’s a 1968 non-fiction book by Tom Wolfe, a popular example of the New Journalism literary style. It’s a firsthand account of the novelist Ken Kesey and his followers, called The Merry Pranksters, who travelled around the US in a colourfully painted school bus called Further, whose name was painted as the destination sign. The bus was driven by Neal Cassady, the inspiration for Dean Moriarty from Kerouac’s On the Road.

Kesey and his Pranksters became famous for their use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD (“acid”), often added to the drink Kool-Aid at Acid Test parties. Kesey becomes idolised as a hero of the countercultural movement, and almost a priest of a transcendent new religion or cult. He forms friendships with the Hell’s Angels, and crosses paths with other countercultural icons, such as The Grateful Dead and Allen Ginsberg, but is unsuccessful in his attempts to meet psychologist Timothy Leary, who worked with psychedelic drugs. The Pranksters meet Jack Kerouac, who finds them overwhelming and resents them, a symbol of the hippies overtaking the Beat generation as the new counterculture. Eventually, the law catches up with them.

The book received modest critical acclaim, and is regarded as a faithful and sober account of Kesey’s activities, although it has also received plenty of criticism for Wolfe’s idolisation of Kesey, and his glorification of rampant drug abuse. Kesey himself noted that Wolfe was only with him for three weeks, and used no recording devices at all, but provided a reasonably factual account.

This book makes perfect sense for Jess to read – an updated On the Road, with a similar vibe to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It shows his interest in journalism as a literary art form.

Rory Skips School

Rory walks through Chilton’s front gates with Paris, Paris doing all the talking. As Paris heads to her locker, Rory looks around apprehensively, then walks back through the gates. She’s not only skipping school but also missing out on a meeting of the school paper which she told Lorelai she had after school, meaning she wouldn’t be at the graduation ceremony until 6 pm. This doesn’t seem like something a really keen journalist would do. Perhaps Rory hopes to make it back to school in time for the meeting.

Skipping school for no reason, especially at this crucial point of the school year, seems like something Chilton wouldn’t be very impressed about (let alone Paris). However, we never see Rory face any consequences for it. Perhaps she made up the work she missed, or Lorelai wrote the school a note or something to explain her absence.

Note that even while approaching the school with Paris, Rory is already looking away as if wishing she was somewhere else, or looking for an escape route.

Overseas Correspondent

JESS: You’re gonna be an overseas correspondent? … You’re gonna crawl around in trenches and stand on top of buildings and have bombs going off in the background and some wars raging all around you?

RORY: What, you don’t think I can do it?

JESS: No, I do. Just sounds a little too …. Just sounds a little too rough for you.

Jess is the first person to suggest that Rory doesn’t have what it takes to be a foreign correspondent or war correspondent, like her hero, Christiane Amanpour. He’s not trying to put Rory down, and he specifically says that she is capable of it, he genuinely doesn’t think it’s a good fit for her, or be something she’d enjoy.

Of course, he’s right – Rory has led a very sheltered life in the safe haven of Stars Hollow, and according to Lorelai, hates the outdoors so much she wouldn’t walk on wet grass until she was three. And Rory actually met a journalist who travelled to dangerous international locations, Rachel, and she doesn’t seem to have bothered even talking to Rachel about it.

Paula Zahn and Christiane Amanpour

RORY: I’m gonna be a journalist.

JESS: Paula Zahn?

RORY: Christiane Amapour.

Paula Zahn (born 1956) [pictured], award-winning journalist and newscaster who has been an anchor at ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, and CNN. Although in 2002 she had already scored dozens of interviews, and covered stories like the Waco siege and the September 11 attacks, her career really off took the following year.

Christiane Amanpour, previously discussed.

Jess seems to suggest that he imagines Rory being a journalist like Paula Zahn – an attractive, smart woman who starts at the bottom, probably at a local level (like Zahn did), and gradually works her way up to the major broadcasters and news services. It’s far more realistic than what Rory plans to do.

Pauline Kael

[there’s a knock at the front door]

LORELAI: Oh, that must be Pauline Kael rising from the dead.

Pauline Kael (1919-2001), film critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991. One of the most influential film critics of her era, she was known for her witty, biting, opinionated reviews which often ran counter to those of her contemporaries, and were highly personal.

Pauline Kael had only died the previous year to this episode, so Lorelai is saying that Pauline Kael must be rising from the dead to sharply critique the films that Taylor has offered her.

Charlie Rose

MISS PATTY: Transcript?

LORELAI: Yeah, Taylor, this isn’t Charlie Rose.

Charlie Rose, television interview and talk show, hosted by journalist Charles “Charlie” Rose (born 1942). Rose interviewed thinkers, writers, athletes, politicians, entertainers, business people, leaders, scientists, and fellow journalists. It was broadcast on PBS from 1991 to 2017, only coming to an end when Rose was accused of sexual harassment. The show was then replaced by one hosted by Christiane Amanpour. Transcripts of the show were made available online after broadcast, and in fact many of them still are.

Notes of a Dirty Old Man

This is the book that Jess is reading on his bed when Luke comes in.

Notes of a Dirty Old Man is a 1969 book by Charles Bukowski, a collection of his newspaper columns for the underground Los Angeles newspaper, Open City. His articles showcased his trademark crude humour and attempts to provide a truthful viewpoint of events in his life. He writes openly about his alcoholism and hook-ups with prostitutes and married women.

Some of the quotes from the book sound like things that Jess could probably relate to:

  • The people walk with such an indifference I begin to hate them, but then again I’ve never really been fond of anything.
  • Is it possible to love a human being? Of course, especially if you don’t know them too well.
  • The people will always betray you. Never trust the people.

This kind of nihilistic self-hatred and detachment from others is heady stuff for a teenage boy who’s been kicked around, and I can imagine Jess reading this as a kind of wisdom needed to survive in the world.

Like Rory, Jess has a strong interest in journalism – but a very different type of journalism. Did he recommend this book to Rory? It seems likely. And likely that she would read it, too.