December 05, 2015
Things turn very frivolous around this time of year. Barf-inducing parties by pop culture schlock merchants selling their wares are a nightly transgression, the hacks duly reporting the shenanigans of doped-up rappers the next day as once upon a time they detailed the haut monde. London isn’t much better. Last week, at the British Fashion Awards, a designer by the name of Jonathan Anderson said that he was “honored to be on the same stage as Karl Lagerfeld,” a bum-clenching announcement for its unremitting vapidity. Lagerfeld is a preening, self-important freak whose trademark is rudeness and that other giveaway of ultimate ghastliness, the ponytail.
Over on these shores, things are just as bad, except Congress hasn’t as yet invited Angelina Jolie to enlighten them with her plan to save Africa, in the manner a parliamentary committee did over in dear old England. What is it with these modern celebrities? How can they be as uninformed, dumb, full of themselves, and arrogant as they are? And how can the public swallow the hype the PR hucksters put out about them daily? Hype derives from the Greek word “hyperbole,” and there’s nothing elegant about it. It debases the truth, as well as the language—I’m proud to be on the same stage as Karl—and is often duplicitous and outrageous.
I remember forty years or so ago, the editor of Vogue, a self-invented but very nice lady, Diana Vreeland, used the word “fabulous” as a nonstop answer. “Fabulous” became her mask, her defense, almost a way of life. By calling everything fabulous, la Vreeland kept everyone in the dark and off balance. It vitiated the power of the sales pitch. An item could be inferior or superior, but Vreeland declared it fabulous and that was that.
Vreeland, however, had terrific taste, loved worthy fashion and talented people. But she called everything fabulous in order to keep the peace. The trouble is, the bullshit stuck after she lost power. Now everything and everyone is fabulous, and fashion has never been uglier and designers less talented. But the latter are Olympian gods when compared with professional celebrities like the Kardashians and the Hiltons, both families forever with us, and everywhere, like herpes.
If I were a suspicious feller, I’d think it’s a conspiracy for more nefarious goals. In other words, they are putting us to sleep with hype while Jewish and Mormon interests seize power. No such luck. The whole Western world has turned sleazy and it needs hype for its fulfillment. Last week the egregious N.Y. Times reported an after-movie party at the New York Library, describing a certain Carole Radziwill as a writer. Carole Radziwill—she married into the family as her poor young husband was dying, and she wasn’t about to give up the name—is as much a writer as I am a transgender chap, but never mind, hoodwinking the public is what the Times does daily, so why not describe a hard-charging girl from the sticks like Carole as a writer?
People in big cities covered by TV and national newspapers no longer do anything without one eye cocked to the celebrity merry-go-round. I’ll never forget that twenty years after I appeared on a morning show in Chicago, a woman rubbernecked me on Fifth Avenue and shouted that I was great on Donahue. Imagine if I had written something of value. Yes, in 1982 I appeared on a morning show in Chicago, made fun of unbridled feminism, and easily got the better of the idiotic host. And twenty years later some moronic woman still remembered. Nurse, help!
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