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High life

What people want

Broadsides from the pirate captain of the Jet Set

10 May 2003

12:00 AM

10 May 2003

12:00 AM

New York

This is a very good time to be in the Bagel. The sun’s out, the girls are walking around in their briefest, Central Park’s blooming all over, and Miss Monica Lewinsky is on national television performing oral acrobatics as a presenter of a show called Mr Personality. No, I have not seen the freak show, and do not plan to. I assume it is pop culture at its ghastliest, Lewinsky being a typical product of our times, a woman who became a celebrity for performing oral sex on the artful draft dodger in the Oval Office. Some celebrity. Some dodger. Needless to say, the show is on the Fox network, where Mr Rupert Murdoch and his fellow neo-cons have stormed the culture from within and have lowered standards to their moral level. I’m told that Lewinsky has lost weight, which is like saying Bill Gates is getting poorer. Monica was, is and always will be a slob sans pareil, just as Bill Clinton will always be a draft-dodging phony liar par excellence. Lewinsky should never have been paid for her conversation – talking is redundant in what she excels at – but only for her silence. But maybe I’m being unfair. A girl’s gotta make a living and all that, but why on national television? There used to be very nice places to enjoy the type of thing she became famous for, like chez Madame Claude’s, at Rue Marignan, where it was called the goody, goody gum-drops room.


Never mind. Sex is what people want, and the networks are there to serve the public. The other night my friend Roffredo Gaetani, an ex-pro boxer, was telling us how Mike Tyson is a sensitive soul, and, although he gets carried away at times when in the company of the fairer sex, he has been known to cry while making love. ‘Yeah, sure,’ said my daughter, ‘mace will always do that to one.’ Tyson may have lost his boxing skills, but he’s the biggest draw in the world because of his bad behaviour. Ditto a woman called Elizabeth Grubman, if ever a surname fitted someone perfectly, this one’s it. Some of you may have even heard of her. She’s a public relations hack, an Alastair Campbell type who spins, puffs up and exults personalities who pay her.

A couple of years ago she was refused a parking spot by some ‘poor white trash’ of a parking valet – her words – so she backed her SUV into a crowd injuring some 30 people. Grubman’s father, apparently even grubbier than she is, pulled a lotta strings, but his dyed-blonde daughter did do some 30 days in the slammer. Since her release she has become an even bigger draw than before. Oh yes, I almost forgot. Grubman, who left the scene of the accident, was never tested for drugs nor for drink. Rich and well-known publicists in the Hamptons are treated differently from the average schmuck who gets caught with a little happy dust in his back-pack.

Shills, hucksters, ballyhoo artists, bull-shitters, whatever you want to call them, the place is crawling with them. It’s like being at a 10 Downing Street briefing 24 hours per day. Every ingenue is a superstar, every model – even when she hustles a bit on the side – is a supermodel. Grown-up people shriek like weak-kneed bobbysoxers at Frank Sinatra concerts circa 1940 when they spot some gangsta rapper low life. Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf is God. The word on the street is that an Iraqi woman living here in the Bagel has hired him. Rena Sindi, the hostess with the mostest for brain-dead nightclub characters, wants to join the upper classes of Noo Yawk, and she’s been advised that only the Baghdad ballyhoo master can pull the trick. (He should start by convincing Rena that Puff Daddy [her idol] is not on the Social Register, and his great-grandfather never defended the America’s Cup.)


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