Western Troubles in the East: Mikhail S. Gorbachev fell victim to his own capitalist reforms this week when a state-run publishing house ordered some of his books off the shelves. The reason? Nobody was buying them, even at $1.50. But Gorbachev is not likely to complain. His new book on the failed August coup is expected to come out in the West any day now. Another reason he may not complain: A book by former KGB head Vladimir Kryuchkov, one of the coup plotters, was also pulled.
Sellout With a Cause: “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau has gone commercial, but some charities won’t complain. The Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip artist has broken his long-standing policy of refusing to merchandise his work. Now there is a mail-order catalogue of T-shirts, pins, ashtrays, lighters, swizzle sticks and camouflage-print beach wear. Trudeau has dubbed the whole thing “The Great Doonesbury Sellout,” but all royalties go to Trees for the Future, Asia Watch, the Coalition for the Homeless and the Center for Plant Conservation.
Still in the Service Industry: Sydney Biddle Barrows, who once ran a high-class house of ill repute in New York, is now providing another kind of service: She has signed with a weekly Manhattan paper to write a general advice column called “Just Between Us.” In 1985, Barrows pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of promoting prostitution and paid a $5,000 fine. She was dubbed the “Mayflower Madam” because she is a descendant of Pilgrim settlers.
Humor the Bear: Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf’s sense of humor will be tested when a new coloring book hits the stands in two weeks. The book will be illustrated and written by Kent Gamble, the zany artist and writer for Cracked magazine. Gamble will profile the general from toddler to retirement.