Look at this cover of Vanity Fair magazine. Has there ever been a more beautiful human? I was strolling through the store and spied it. I was young when Liz and Richard Burton were heating up, but I know they were legendary, and the cover piqued my interest. I bought it.
Sure enough, I turned right to the Taylor-Burton Romance article and began reading about the steam that was generated on the set of Cleopatra, and all the ups and downs of these “lovers.” The article characterized the “affair” between these two already-marrieds as “scandalous for the times.” I guess the implication is that it would be no scandal today…
I never made it to the end of the article, however. It became clear that Liz and Dick were in love alright, but only with themselves. These shallow people soon became boring, extremely one-dimensional. And they don’t come off as particularly smart. I turned to see if there was anything of real interest in this expensive magazine.
I found it.
The article is called “Something About Sally,” and oh my! It is about Sally Quinn, journalist; erstwhile (briefly, very briefly) anchorwoman at CBS; and, according to this article, the zenith of D.C. society. Apparently, Sally is a rather polarizing figure: one either adores or loathes her; no in-between.
I was puzzled that the Quinn and her husband would cooperate with this article because it sure wasn’t flattering. We find at the end that they were not amused with the finished product. No doubt.
Sally worked as a young journalist for the Washington Post and, according to this article, seduced its editor, Ben Bradlee, never mind he was married with children and twenty years her senior. Nothing gets in Sally’s way.
To the right is the lead picture of the article, captioned: “Sally Quinn in the living room of her historic Georgetown home, which once belonged to Abraham Lincoln’s son.” We learn in the article that Sally set her sights on this townhouse because of the prestige of its historic significance.
The owner, however, initially refused to even consider an offer from Quinn, so much did she despise her. After being pestered, the owner jacked the price up over double the appraised price and allowed Bradlee to tour it alone, refusing to let Quinn in, saying to him, “Sally will never live in this house unless you pay a premium.” He did. $2.5 million in 1983.
Sally has devastated Bradlee’s relationship with each of his children prior to her arrival; and he has acquiesced. Apparently, he doesn’t care. The article was inspired by something Quinn did recently: intentionally scheduling their son’s wedding smack on top of Bradlee’s granddaughter’s (Greta) already-scheduled wedding. It created a huge social stir, so much was it a public smack in the face by Quinn to her step-family.
Here’s what she said in an article she wrote in the Post about the incident: “Over Christmas Greta’s mother and I came to an understanding that, because of existing tensions, it would be best if none of us attended Greta's wedding. Happily, we did not have a single overlapping guest.” The underlined emphasis is mine—to underscore my incredulity. No overlapping guests? I guess except for Bradlee, huh?
Okay, I could go on and on. The portrait emerges of a circle of folks totally bent on having their own way right down to the tiniest detail of life. And they do not care who they step on to get it. This is one article I finished—in utter amazement. You just should read it…really.
So, in search of more meaningful fare, I flipped through the pages. Here’s what I landed on next:
These little ladies are British nobility. There’s another page of them—I couldn’t be bothered to scan both, I’m afraid. The girls are titled, for instance: “Lady Lucia St. Clair Erskin, second daughter of the seventh Earl of Rosslyn. Gown by Oscar de la Renta.”
Declaring that these women are “lavishly-titled” and they have a “disconcerting ability to wither and arouse with a single haughty glance,” the short article seems to imply that these privileged women have meritorious, meaningful work; to-wit:
Lady Tatiana Mountbatten, daughter of the fourth Marquess of Milford Haven, who attends college, models, and daily trains her two dressage horses.
Ah, yes, real work…
Who are these people?!
All of them: Liz, Sally, Tatiana??
The other side, I guess…fascinating. C.