Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Testy Tastemaker Predicts Impending Doom

You know, Maxed Out Mama's economic analysis frightens me. For balance, I read The Anchoress' plucky optimism. Actually, she seem very grounded in faith. That keeps her centered. Fausta, a new blog I've linked to (I love it!! Just look at the excellence in this one blog post. This internets thing is free, folks.) also keeps perspective.

Anyway, The Testy Tastemaker, Mayer Rus the Design Editor of House & Garden, inadvertently tipped the balance for me. (You don't have to pay to read his work. Each month you can read his critiques online. Also, Dominique Browning, the Editor of House & Garden writes heart-felt essays about home and family monthly, too. Great writing. Oh, and in my blog roll, you'll note that Jay Mc Inerney is linked. I read his wine column, but he also has a blog.) Since I'm digressing, here is a paragraph from Jay's latest blog column two days ago:

Maisie lives in East Hampton, where the vegan options are limited—Provisions Café in Sag Harbor being one of the few vegan-friendly places around. So it was incredibly satisfying, after taking her to a matinee of "The Nutcracker," to watch her face when she opened the menu at the Candle Café. For once in her life she could order anything on the menu. Maisie was among her people. It was like watching my border collie, Baxter, years ago, when he saw his first sheep. Or Steve Martin in "The Jerk" hearing white music for the first time.
Don't you love the images? Maisis is his vegan daughter. Back to impending doom. Here is an excerpt from Rus's latest House & Garden (February issue) essay:
I wasn't around for the go-go 1980s art scene in New York, but historical zeitgeist documents (for example, the movies Wall Street and 9 1/2 Weeks) suggest precursors of the orgy of art, fashion, and money that is churning today. Current auction results and glossy fashion magazine spreads may be the clearest sign that another apocalypse is looming.
He is referencing Luxe Escapes, where one does not cruise or become a passenger on the yacht (wherever would you get the idea to actually cruise on a yacht?). Here is what you will be doing:
The Grand Luxe will not be a cruising or passenger ship, as all events will occur portside only. Attendance to these prestigious affairs will be by invitation only through the SeaFair Society, the exhibiting galleries, the Gala Preview Charity partners, or the SeaFair partners. However, an invitation request may be submitted via the SeaFair's website. If accepted, membership to join the society also is extended.

Designer previews will precede each official showing. Exhibitors of fine art and jewelry applying to participate in these showings include ACA of New York, Cohen & Cohen of London, the Galerie du Post Impressionnisme of Paris, and Eckert of Naples. Twenty-eight exhibitors will participate in these lavish showcases. Cohen & Cohen of London will exhibit its Chinese porcelain and Oriental art collections. The full roster of exhibitors will be announced soon.
By invitation only, you'll get the pleasure of spending your money on art and things. You'll get the pleasure of outbidding other pretentious people. You'll get the pleasure of wearing uncomfortable shoes, sipping champagne and pretending to be important. The Tastemaker continues:
There's just something cringe-making about the computer renderings in the brochure that show foxy ladies and business dudes contemplating what seem to be Gerhard Richter and Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings while enjoying a lovely glass of champagne.

....(An even scarier thought: maybe it is the same crowd who, just a few years later, wil get juiced up on hedge funds and Rogaine.) In any case, I see it as a cautionary tale: there are limits to decadence, and there's always a high bill to pay when the party's over.
The Tastemaker and I agree about the bill coming due. The current environment where decadence cohabitates with shaky political conditions and unnerving world situations with every horrible thing magnified by the media makes me and other people, obviously, nervous. And yet, everyone is working. People are shopping like crazy. Everything seems good. Well, it is good. For now.

Perhaps these conditions create what Ann Althouse described on Friday where people are simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic:
It's just human nature, isn't it? And it's not a bad thing either. You feel suspicious and critical about the government -- and you should. But then, as a healthy, balanced person, you trust things will work out all right.
Well, everything will turn out all right, eventually. And that's a hopeful thought.

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