Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

C: So Aptly-Named—“Vanity Fair”

Scan_Pic0001 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 Scan_Pic0002belonged 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.


Jody Blue said...

Sad on so many levels, the whole lot of them are missing out on so many of life's simple pleasures and timeless treasures...love your neighbor as you love yourself...just for starters.

kath001 said...

The whole lot of them sound like truly joyful people, don't they? Whew, I'll take my little life and loved ones over celebrity any lifetime.

Sandra said...

What an interesting post, C. I kind of knew who Sally Quinn was, but I had no idea how really tacky she is. It sounds like reading that article was kind of like looking at a wreck as you drive by -- you feel like you really shouldn't look but you just can't help yourself! Thanks for buying Vanity Fair to remind me to NEVER buy Vanity Fair!

Can a magazine be "self-important and pretentious"? That's what it sounds like describes both the magazine and the people in it! :)

Suzanne said...

What an interesing post. I'm kind of glad that Vanity Fair doesn't gloss things over, it makes for fascinating reading but like you said who ARE these folks?

I actually know some of the wealthy "fox hunt" set around here. Yes!!! They still do fox hunts and pretend they are British royalty.

Sally Quinn is really the quintissential wicked stepmother. On par with her was Pamela Harriman....Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman. She was a legendary homewrecker/witchy stepmother. I read her autobiography and although it was strangely fascinating I wanted to take a shower after finishing it. HA.

If that's how the rich folk live - you can have it.

Debbie said...

Very interesting post. I always thought Taylor was one of the most beautiful women I'd ever seen, starting with her role as "Velvet'.
It soon became evident that her physical appearance way outshone her morals or discernment.
Sadly, none of my friends are titled. The 'work' we do is quite different from the upper echelons of society. I guess that makes me one of the 'little' people:)

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

I do give Liz credit for have beauty that endures so long that her old pictures she can still grace the cover of Vanity Fair!

My reaction to each of these articles was the same! I was shocked by Sally Quinn, the coldness of her.

The debutantes struck me as being as deep as their pictures, yet the bit on them sounded so hopeful for the future!

Lovely summary, thanks for sharing!

Vee said...

Hmmm, Laurie below is a little overanxious, isn't she? Hope that you get her cleared out.

Okay, I love reading what you have to say. It was enlightening to say the least.

Vee said...

I meant to say that I hope that you are able to clear her out. Not that you want to; perhaps you don't. There I go again!

Anonymous said...

Hello Ms. C. Thanks for stopping by. I did enjoy this last post. I agree with kath001 I will take my little average life and all my loved ones. Have a happy 4th.

Anonymous said...

Who are they? They are the fantasy-world women - the predecessors of Hollywood women who don't live in the real world. Women who wouldn't know how to clean a bathroom, iron a shirt, or wash a dish, much less raise a kid or two. Divas who only look out for #1 - themselves. Poor girls.

Vivianne said...

Vanity Fair is full of little 'nothing' features like that of the debutantes; however, at time it also contains some of the most insightful & provocative political articles available: Christopher Hitchens, for example. So I still buy it and ignore the shallow 'star' drivel :-)

Kyran said...

Ah, Vanity Fair. I gobble it up, but then I always feel a little ill afterwards. Great post!

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