Last weekend I had to skip Rufus Albemarle's wedding in Havana Vieja in favor of a cold boardroom in Geneva. Although an unforgiving foe of Fidel's and everything he stands for, I was actually looking forward to visiting Havana, if only for the fact that the nearest McDonald's is 90 miles away.
Lord Albemarle is a hell of a fellow. Straight out of Papa Hemingway in looks, he got married to a very pretty half-Danish, half-Iranian artist, Sally Tadayon. Typically, and very Hemingwayesque, the young couple asked that instead of presents, a contribution?no matter how small?be made to a school for children with Down syndrome being built in Cuba.
This is the way it should be. The fortunate?and being born the Earl of Albemarle means fortune has smiled on one?should try to help the unlucky ones. It doesn't always work out that way, needless to say. Big-time so-called leftists like Christopher Hitchens, for example, have as many poor close friends as I had lesbians on the Greek national karate team I captained for close to 20 years. When the great Tom Wolfe wrote about radical chic in his famous 1970 essay I was among the few who wasn't surprised at the hypocrisy of it all. His demolition job on those phonies singlehandedly made them the laughingstock of everyone without an ax to grind for money, as is the case with Christopher Hitchens and his ilk.
Two men in that Wolfe piece stuck in my mind, and, surprisingly, I came into contact with them both in 1972. The first was "Field Marshal" Donald Coxe, as one of the Black Panthers called himself; the other, Manhattan art dealer Richard Feigen, the man in Tom's essay who desperately asked the throng at Leonard Bernstein's Panthers cocktail party how to go about giving a party for the cop-killers.
In the winter of '72, I went to Algiers for the National Review and did a cover story about the political exiles from America. It was a send-up of those miserable souls who found out too late that being hunted by the police in America is still better than being free in Algeria. Donald Coxe, whom I interviewed while over there?surprisingly, the nicest of the lot turned out to be Eldridge Cleaver?was the worst of them all. A braggart and a pathetic sort of tough guy, he tried to intimidate me into giving him some money. I was young back then, and also took myself as a tough guy of sorts. When I told him I only had South African rands on me, he got all happy and ready to receive. It was a joke, but very indicative of the times.
That summer, I was in the Hotel du Cap in Antibes, and whom did I find occupying the next cabana but Richard Feigen. As luck would have it, on the very first day three of Europe's richest men stopped by my cabana to say hello. Feigen, watching these incredibly rich cats coming and going, probably thought that he had died and gone to heaven. Here was this Greek to whose cabana the fat ones were drawn like moths. Shamelessly, he came up, introduced himself and made me an offer he didn't think I could refuse. It had to do with my selling his art to my friends. Refuse it I did, however, although I now regret I was very polite about it. When it comes to the root of all envy, politics go flying out the proverbial window. Coxe, Feigen, Hitchens are one of a kind. They're talented and great bullshitters, and all for the common man, unless?and it's a big unless?money gets in the way.
Mind you, easier said than done. I, too, like money, but prefer spending it rather than earning it. I am among the lucky ones, although I'd hate to think how much better a tennis player and writer I might have turned out to be if Daddy hadn't swung for it. Happiness, as they say, has nothing to do with money, and I agree, but unhappiness also has nothing to do with it.
Sid the Scumbag Blumenthal should be a very happy man right now because, having done the dirty work for Bonnie and Clyde Clinton, he's landed a large book contract in order to continue the lies he's been telling most of his adult life. But is the Scumbag happy? He just dropped the mother of all libel suits with the pathetic excuse that he needed to move on. I wonder where he got that one from? But yes, Sid the Scumbag is happy, because he's only had to pay 2500 greenbacks to the great Matt Drudge. Having harassed Matt with dirty Clinton money, Sid should have paid at least one million, but that's how it crumbles, cookiewise.
One of the reasons I've always laughed at liberals is because of money. They worship it, and to hell with what they say in public about right-wingers and haters. The biggest haters and most intolerant people I've met?and I've met a hell of a lot?are radical shit, sorry, chic types, and that's why when phonies like Hitchens and Blumenthal have a catfight, it's like waking up in bed with Ava Gardner on one side and Betty Grable on the other.
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