Unclassical TragedynBob Woodward: Wired: The ShortnTimes & Fast Life of John Belushi;nSimon and Schuster; New York.nby Todd G. BucdiolznBob Woodward is an aggressivenjournalist who has helped reveal thensecrets of Supreme Court Justices and anpresident. Like his previous efforts,nWired is a best-seller full of gossip andnintrigue. Excerpts have appeared in thenWashington Post, New York Post, andnPlayboy.nJohn Belushi found lame in 1975 as anmember of “The Not Ready for PrimenTime Players,” the comedy troupe thatnappears on NBC-TV’s Saturday NightnLive. He became more famous to thenpublic through a series of (with thenexception of AnimalHouse) forgettablenfilms. He became more femous to Hollywoodnthrough a social life that wasndriven by drugs and ended by drugs inn1982.nWhile Belushi’s life was not quite asnshort and fast as the title intimates.nWoodward focuses on just a few essentialnaspects. Wired is not a biography thatntries to trace emotional and psychologicalntrends from childhood to the climaxnof a career. But where Woodwardnchooses to focus he examines withndiligence. Wired contains so many factsnabout what Belushi did and where he didnit, that if Belushi had lived he could notnhave delivered a more detailed account.nAfter a brief profile of Belushi’s highnschool years in Wheaton, Illinois, wherenhe was cocaptain of the football teamnand the school’s best actor. Wiredndepicts his climb to national stardom.nThe mercurial actor distinguished himselfnin improvisation shows in Chicago,nearning rave reviews fi-om city newspapers.nThis was the early 1970’s. His vdldnappearance with long, frizzy hair andnMr. Buccholz is aTruman Scholar at thenHarvard Law School and a TeachingnFellow at Harvard University.n16inChronicles of Culturenslightly bulging belly fit both the timesnand his temperament. In narrating thisnperiod. Woodward points to the start ofnBelushi’s drug use, also apropos for thenearly 1970’s. This, and not Belushi’sntalent, emerges as the dominant motif.nWoodward, while maintaining thendrug theme, does describe the years atnSaturday Night Live and the making ofnseveral movies. Some intriguing pointsnare raised. When Columbia Pictures wasnconvinced that the movie Neighborsnwould be a disaster, producers adoptedna hit and run strategy—^releasing the filmnjust a few days before Christmas, hopingnto hit the big market and then let thenpoor picture die. Their strategy provednprudent, for the film was a loser.nSelf-indulgence causes trouble innHollywood. Movie budgets are oftennsaid to be inflated to cover drug purchases,nand when a star carmot controlnhis appetites, he can subject an organizationnto strange pressures. Woodwardnrecounts one incident, when Belushinarrived at director Louis Malle’s oJBicendemanding to see a script:nJohn kept thrashing about… sweatingnas if there were a flame under him.nnnWord was being spread … that Johnnwas there, and people from somenother offices popped by to see him ornhang around outside It was likenMardi Gras and all of a sudden a JohnnBelushi float had entered the room.nWoodward is so confident of hisnresearch that he does not hesitate to tellnthe reader who in Hollywood takes ornsells drugs. Jack Nicholson and RobertnDe Niro are on his list of takers—whichnmight explain some recent flops.nObviously, the real story is not justnJohn Belushi but drugs, psychologicalninstability, and Hollywood. Woodwardnonly gets part of the story. AlthoughnWoodward is renowned for gettingnbehind the scenes, he does not knownwhat to do once he gets there. Wiredhasnthe fects but offers no more insights thanna travelogue. And Woodward’s style isnno more elegant or interesting thannBelushi’s wife’s, if her diaries are anynguide.nWhat was Belushi like, when he wasnnot a Mardi Gras float? Why did henbecome a Mardi Gras float? At timesnWoodward tells us that Belushi could benendearing, but this seems unlikely.nWoodward gives the impression thatnthere might have been more to Belushi.nThe only hints are that Belushi would crynevery few years when a Mend would tellnhim to cut down on cocaine. Once henstopped crying, however, the habitnwould resume. According to his wife, henwas the same about his weight:nJohn looked stuffed, his stomach like angiant, taut beach ball. Finally, shendecided to broach the subject—nwouldn’t it be tough when he had tonsing and dance hard for the filming? Hen^eed it would be and said he wantednto do something to lose weight. Butnthat night they went for a big dinner.nMore surprising, we do,not evenndiscover whether Belushi was angenuinely witty, clever, or funny person.nWoodward must have spoken to hundredsnof people who knew him. But non