Fresh from his recent battle with Gore Vidal -- waged in the letters pages of Vanity Fair -- Dominick Dunne has found himself a new, if unsuspecting, adversary in New York Times "Sunday Styles" columnist Bob Morris. "I called him a fucking asshole," Dunne says. "I did."
What happened was this: When Tatler, that breathy British bible of the boldfaced, profiled Dunne in its July issue, Morris was quoted calling Dunne, whom he has never met, "the Jacqueline Susann of journalism."
Shortly thereafter, Morris received a note that could've come from Vanity Fair's fictitious codger columnist Edwin Coaster (scrawled, naturally, on embossed stationery). It read, in part: "I just read your quote about me in the Tatler. Fuck you, asshole. . . . I've called around and no one seems to know who you are."
Next came a Times article about Dunne's new weekly Court TV series, Power, Privilege and Justice, in which Dunne was quoted as saying he'd seek revenge against Morris. "I was livid," he told New York. "I mean, who the hell is he to make a statement like that about me? You know, I got pissed."
"Should I watch out for flying gimlets?" wonders Morris (who's also a contributor to New York). "I don't summer in Connecticut, I don't have a running account at the Four Seasons or Swifty's, but I am going to watch out for cocktails."
Morris, it appears, can go ahead and wear white this summer without having to fear attack by cranberry juice. The revenge the high-crimes chronicler has in mind is more of the literary sort. "When the time comes, you know, I'll use the incident in a novel," he vows.
Mostly, Dunne seems miffed that someone he'd never heard of felt qualified to comment on his oeuvre. "I mean, what are his novels? What are his great articles? What are his stands on anything? I mean, who ever heard of him?"
"It takes a lot to be a nobody these days. I've checked around, and he's right!" says Morris with a shrug. "People don't know who I am? I don't even know myself. So I wouldn't expect anyone else to know me."