High life

I’m back in New York: the city that’s perennially offended

23 March 2019

9:00 AM

23 March 2019

9:00 AM

New York

Goodbye, snow-capped peaks; hello, swampy brown East River. So long, fresh alpine air; greetings to choking diesel fumes. Adios, cows and cuckoo clocks; welcome, filthy island packed to the gills with angry, mean, squat Trump haters who live in decrepit buildings they share with rats. Yes, I’m back in the city that never sleeps, and whose residents are perennially offended.

That is the bad news. The good news is that the word Brexit means nothing over here — nada, as our Hispanic cousins say. Instead of the B-word we have the S-word, as in the college admissions scheme that turned into a scandal. More than 50 people were busted last week for paying lotsa moolah to get underqualified students fraudulently accepted into some of the country’s top universities. Lots of hedge funders and Hollywood wives: what’s so surprising about that?

And why is it news now? George W. Bush was a C-student in high school and would never have got into Yale but for — well, we all need a bit of help from Papa once in a while. JFK junior was so thick that even Brown University — Brown was on the take more than any other school back then — hesitated but finally took him. The worst was Jared Kushner, whose old man, a convicted felon, pledged $2.5 million before his son was accepted by Harvard. It sounds cynical, and it is. But who said that life was fair? If it were, Michael Jackson, the most flagrant paedophile ever, would have been jailed very early on.

The reason this college scandal hardly registers is that it’s nothing compared with schools that operate as corrupt big-money fronts for pro basketball and football. Many student athletes in those two major pro sports graduate without the ability to read or write but are called college grads. Now that’s what I call a scandal. The only cry in the wilderness is a great sportswriter for the NY Post called Phil Mushnick, who has been writing about this for years. But who’s listening, when there’s moolah to be made.

Never mind. There’s always #MeToo. And a revival of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, a wonderful musical comedy based on The Taming of the Shrew that surely rankles girls’ sensitivities nowadays. There’s wife-slapping, demands for womanly submission and the great line ‘If she says your behaviour is heinous,/ Kick her right in the Coriolanus.’ My, my, naughty William and Cole; how could they write such stuff? I went to the play and noticed that Kate kicked Petruchio much harder than she did in the 1953 movie, thanks to today’s sensibilities. As a wit wrote, Kick Me, Kate would have been closer to the point.

At a dinner party chez Michael Mailer, everyone wanted to know what is happening with Brexit. I was too drunk to explain, so I told them that Theresa May and her fellow remainers did what they always planned to do: keep Britain in. It is the EU’s method of doing away with democracy. If once you fail, you vote again, and again, and again until… People thought I was kidding, but even drunk I thought I had it right. N’est-ce pas, chers amis?

Britain has become a laughing stock, and why not? The EU commissars have now taught a lesson to anyone who has the bright idea of breaking clear. It’s later and harder than you think, cher ami. And the political class in Britain and everywhere else holds all the marbles. Social media has divided the people like nothing else before, so we now stick to our own bubble and have learned to take it. Jean-Claude Juncker slaying the British lion would be a great painting, replacing that of Saint George and the dragon.

Finally, the Donald. As a newcomer to the White House a couple of years ago, he faced unprecedented media hostility and a plethora of rumours propagated by the very media that was investigating him. Until now nothing has stuck, which really rankles the fourth estate. The latest is my favourite. There is a lady in Palm Beach called Cindy Li Yang whose family reportedly owns several ‘spas’. A man by the name of Robert Kraft, a billionaire who owns the New England Patriots, the number one American football team, was caught using one of these massage places and filmed in what local cops say was a sex  parlour, where customers do what should come naturally. I don’t like Kraft, and now I like him even less because, if the police are right, he’s a cheapskate. The place charges 200 bucks, a sum that doesn’t get a working girl very far.

So one Michelle Goldberg of the Times went bananas and attacked Trump for being a friend of Kraft’s. (Something I’m not so sure about.) It looks like desperation to little ole me. If we can’t find something on Trump, the cheapskate Kraft will do. And people are bound to confuse the two. They might even think that it was Trump using the brothel. Good old Times writing at its best.

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