April 12, 2009

NEW YORK—‘Lock up your daughters! Is the world ready for Taki Jr?’ This was the New York Observer headline, followed by: “Meet the only son of the world’s naughtiest Greek playboy.” Under any other circumstances, I’d be blushing — who the hell wants to be called a playboy aged 72 — but when it comes to JT, or my daughter Lolly, the old boy will welcome anything, and smile about it to boot. The NY Observer, a pink weekly, has been around for close to 30 years, and Peter Kaplan, the long-time editor, has done a grand job in a very difficult undertaking. Noo Yawkers have no time to read, and, when they do, their attention span is that of a popinjay. Kaplan has overcome this by wonderful film and book reviews, total coverage of high- and middle-brow culture, as well as trenchant political critique of the mess that is New York politics.

I was a columnist for two years at the salmon-coloured weekly back in the early ‘90s, and enjoyed myself tremendously. Writing among liberals is fun. One’s voice stands out. Then I made a terrible mistake. I was wooed by the Circe-like voice of Rupert Murdoch, and decamped for the New York Post, an extremely readable tabloid whose politics are to the right of Avigdor Lieberman and almost as subtle. The Post placed my column among the ads that lonely onanists read, and, although I became a hero of sorts among the wankers, the Taki name for all intents and purposes disappeared from the Big Bagel scene.

Well, now it’s back with a vengeance, but it’s Taki Jr, or JT, my son and hopefully my heir, who is hogging the headlines. Actually I am grateful to the NY Observer for putting him on its two front pages. On the first page there’s a very nice picture of him with the clip, “Meet J.T., Bike Messenger, Artist, Son of Notorious Dad.” All true. In the second front page — an Observer innovation listing the contents — there’s a sketch of the boy, and more clips: “J.T. Theodoracopulos, Son of Taki, Suffers For Both Art, Father…Bike Messenger — Artist, 28, Adores Notorious Dad.” What bliss. Then on page 16, a full profile of him, and a large picture of the two of us fooling around outside some downtown dump.

Spencer Morgan, the writer, did a grand job, and he’s not known for sucking up. His column, “Men of Manhattan,” covers so-called society, but in a quirky, offbeat manner in his choice of people profiled. Most celebrities are toadies to superiors and tyrants to those under them. Morgan picks on free spirits, like my boy. The reason I was happy for the profile to appear is because, as I told the reporter, JT is the only artist I know who shuns publicity when untalented people like Dash Snow—a childhood friend of his—become stars overnight by using masturbation as a theme. Artists need exposure but, because of that, shock jocks like the present nonentities are considered stars by the know-nothings who run the art scene nowadays.

JT has been a hell of a good son. He could have had a Ferrari or a Porsche, but chose a bicycle instead. He could be doing the social rounds, but prefers to live in a dumpy part of Brooklyn, paint and bike 40 miles per day in his job as a messenger. His company is called Taki Express; he is the boss and only employee, and his partner is George Szamuely, son of Tibor, a man who should be writing leaders for the Times, but is the dispatcher instead. Taki Express is not yet listed on the New York stock exchange, but it should be in view of the mess GM and other so-called great companies have managed.

JT’s grand marriage in the summer of 2006, with Countess Assia Baudi di Selve of Rome, lasted only two months. He couldn’t keep his you know what in his pants, so Assia and him had a boy, Taki Tancredi, and a girl, Maria, and now live apart. He has been very generous with them, which I suppose is easy to be when one doesn’t give a damn about the root of all envy. I remember talking about my boy to an ageing socialite by the name of Serena Doorman, who now sells apartments to the rich. She was appalled that the boy wanted to be an artist, and that I had encouraged him to be one. She was even more appalled that he would be a bike messenger. Mind you, that’s how many people think. They worship the cheap, the vulgar and the nouveaux riches and understand nothing about values. Money is all. Not in my book, and I have bought out the Observer this week as any proud dad would.

And speaking of phonies, the fiercest in his denunciations of Wall Street greed was Connecticut senator Chris Dodd. As it turns out he has taken more money from AIG than anyone else in Congress, and has committed other financially dubious transactions to make Jacqui Smith’s husband proud to be a porno-watcher. British MPs are a pretty bad lot, but over here they’re just as bad but also hypocritical. Listening to Chris Dodd fulminate about greed is like reading a column by Taki about Taki Jr. Self-serving, to say the least, but in my case it’s only paternal love. In theirs it’s greed.


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