December 22, 2011

Giovanni Boldini

Giovanni Boldini

My end-of-the-year Christmas party was the best yet. The festivities began at 10PM and ended somewhat hazily around 6 the next morning. My son JT provided the youth and I provided the gravitas. Actually it was the other way around. I provided the brawn—judo and karate experts—and he provided the artsy-fartsy types from Brooklyn with lotsa pretty girls. Cauliflower brains mixed freely with cauliflower ears. My buddy Michael Mailer, son of Norman and a very good boxer who now produces movies, had to fly to South Africa, but like a good friend he left three beautiful blondes behind who all came to the party. At midnight I announced that the three beauties sitting together in the Mailer corner were now my property because Michael had been eaten by a rogue lion somewhere near the Cape. The ladies thought it unfair, but I reminded them that life’s unfair and if one’s eaten, one stays eaten. Never have so many beautiful young women been in my house before—an embarrassment of riches, with clusters of them talking to each other while the men talked politics, martial arts, and other such silly subjects. Some even talked art.

“How strange it is to be writing about parties and good times when the world is in this condition.”

How strange it is to be writing about parties and good times when the world is in this condition. Two days following the New York blast I flew to Switzerland and was driven up to Gstaad. Chalet Taki seemed awfully tame after the Bagel shenanigans, but at my age I can get used to anything. The mother of my children looked at me as if I were a leper who had dropped in uninvited. She flashed me an “I’m surprised you made it” sort of glance. But I’ve made it for so many years now, I can get across the ocean and up the mountain with my eyes closed—which they were most of the journey, as for once I overdid things. Now I’m looking forward to my New Year’s Eve mini-blast—mini because the Gestapo is around and the Gestapo does not like to see people having a good time. (Just kidding.)

I suppose entertaining oneself is antithetical to seriousness and literature, but I accept it. (Big of me, n’est-ce pas?) Yet I cannot really amuse myself (unless totally sloshed) while Europe and the United States are going down Sewanee. Just think how Belle Époque Vienna was infatuated with modernity, style, and glamour, then how by the end of World War I the place was full of starving veterans huddling outside restaurants looking for bits of food. The clowns in Brussels have come up with an aspirin and they expect us to believe it’s a cure. The fools have not learned post-war Vienna’s lessons. The euro crisis is threatening their dream of technocratic dictatorship, yet all they can come up with are more demands for harsher austerity. I cheered when David Cameron said no and will cheer even louder when Britain gets out altogether.


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