Sunday, May 15, 2005

A very special episode of Sunday Stylin'

This is our popular, twice-weekly installment wherein my co-blogger and I mock the styles sections of the New York Times. I'm on duty today, but even with a wealth of material, my heart's not in it. The reason is, elsewhere in the paper, the Times has inaugurated what, by all appearances, will be an extremely thoughtful and nuanced series on social mobility and class in America. Income inequality is on the rise, and the shift from strict classlines as been replaced by a meritocracy that's largely a proxy for the old Victorian rigidity.

Two semi-serious points before getting to this week's salvos. First, it's not easy to read this article and then go on a barrage making fun of the style section's celebration of the upper class. Doesn't seem so funny right now. Second, this goes back to my post that triggered our Styles roundup. The Times embarrasses itself by publishing its twice-weekly valedictories of conspicuous consumption alongside serious reporting. Even moreso when the Styles section unwittingly lauds some deadly serious problems.

With this dissonance duly noted, on to the bile:

A Tale of Diamonds and Mud: It's not easy being an ultra-rich San Francisco socialite. Your stepson, who has a receding hairline and works at McSweeney's, has written a tell-all memoir that spills the beans about your love of jewels. In an attempt to defend your dignity, you note that the tell-all will aid in your puppy's housebreaking. "Little Twinkle is going to tinkle on this," you say.

Scatological matters preoccupy your extended family. Your stepson (he of the receding hairline) claims that he uttered, "The glory of it all," at the time he mastered potty training. Meanwhile, assorted ex-husbands and ex-wives intermarry. Danielle Steele becomes somebody's wife. You can only call your prodigal stepson a faggot and pin on a few $200,000 brooches. On the other hand, you don't wear robes, and already own a dishwasher.

For Baby, All You Knead is Love. All the trendy rich ladies in New York like to massage their babies. The practice has its roots in East Asian baby handling techniques. A new industry has sprouted up, based on baby massage oil and baby massage classes.

Remember that stuff at the top of this post?
Indian milking is one technique in the latest must-do for the sort of parent who can spot an $800 Xplory stroller at 40 paces. "You have to get a car seat, you have to do baby massage," said Debra Teramo of Manhattan, mother of 1-year-old Ethan.
So yeah, that stuff at the top of the post that I wrote? The prosecution rests.

In other news, a bunch of ladies like to roller derby in the Bronx; one bad-ass lawyer writes books about Shakespeare and eats lunch at his house; and a lady has ideas about weddings. For those of you who are shallow, rejoice, because laser hair removal procedures have dropped in price. Wes Anderson's brother likes books, bars, and cursing. (Me too!)

Looking to indulge a lame and spoiled graduate? Buy her Cartier stationery or a $195 Prada beauty kit.

Hopefully, by Thursday's post, the obnoxious mojo will be back, complete with thorough, righteous mockery of Alex Kuczynski and her gang of idiots. For now, I advise you to read the enterprise reporting of Janny Scott and David Leonhardt, then lightly peruse a few of the aforementioned articles. Read it, and weep.

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