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Hamptons Court (Taki on the Hamptons)
The Spectator ^ | 6/8/02 | Taki

Posted on 06/11/2002 10:22:33 AM PDT by Clemenza

New York

My last week in the Bagel and the only subject of conversation is the documentary about the Hamptons that was shown on prime-time TV. Now I assume that everyone, even a low-lifer like Jack Straw, knows where the Hamptons are and what they represent, a sort of caviar dreams-sur-mer, a place that poor old Jay Gatsby would surely have picked had he been born towards the end of the century. I used to have a large house in Southampton, but in a moment of folly I sold it and bought a big plot of land in Connecticut where I planned to build my dream house. But by then I had begun to climb mountains in Gstaad, so the dream house in north-west Connecticut remained just that. Just as well, Connecticut is one of the most beautiful states in the Union, but there’s as much action there as there’s class at No. 10 Downing Street at present.

But back to the Hamptons. Once upon a time they were a string of quiet, tranquil villages by the sea, a place where New York City’s rich could take refuge from the heat. It was a world of wicker chairs, yellow and white umbrellas, verandas and long green lawns. This world still exists, however diminished by death duties and taxes, but it’s not the world that has made the Hamptons synonymous with glitz, greed and vulgarity. This is the side the documentary covered, with a little sociology lesson thrown in for good measure by cutting between the hedonism of the nouveaux vulgarians to the odd fisherman and cop. Basically it was a great bore. Does anyone really care how much the house of a slob like Ron Perelman is worth? Fifty to seventy-five million greenbacks is the answer. Or that a black multi-millionaire hip-hop entrepreneur, Russell Simmons, plays basketball on his estate and complains about a racist assumption by a neighbour before the hip-hop man moved in. (He would play basketball, wouldn’t he? And he would assume his white neighbour is a racist.)

No, like a Hollywood wag’s description of Darryl F. Zanuck — ‘from Poland to polo in one generation’ — the fascination of the media for the Hamptons has to do not with the rich, but with poor people who have made a hell of a lot of money. America’s emerging cowboy capitalist class is far more interesting than the old money caste, where establishment rules still count in its privileged cucumber-sandwich world, at least in the eyes of the low-lifers who deal with celebrity and glitz. Some woman in the New York Times reviewed the programme and pointed out that fewer than a handful of celebrities gave the producers access. If she knew any better, she would have pointed out that no one from the established Hamptons old guard let the cameras get within a mile. So little do people in the media understand about society, they actually counted Christie Brinkley, a superannuated professional blonde, as ‘graciously inviting the cameras onto the manicured grounds of her home’ to urge nuclear safety. Other minor celebrities and wanabees, Chevy Chase, Billy Joel, Nicky Hilton, also appear, the latter reading a book upside down, or perhaps it was backwards.

The Hamptons have often been accused of being snooty — there are some private clubs for tennis, golf and simply bathing —by those who believe money is more important than manners. Yet the reason for the clubs is obvious and it has nothing to do with snootiness. It is simply a way of keeping out people who behave boorishly and vulgarly, c’est tout. Imagine having to lunch next to Lizzie Grubman. For any of you who haven’t heard of la Grubman, she is a PR person, as they’re called over here, daughter of a disgusting multi-millionaire, big-time music lawyer. Her brief moment of fame came last summer, when obviously fuelled by drugs and booze, she backed her S.U.V. into a nightclub crowd injuring 16 people. ‘You’re white trash,’ she told the parking attendant, ‘and I know how to deal with people like you.’ Her trial is coming up, but the betting is she’ll never serve a day. Less self-important since the crash, Grubman now considers herself a victim, something no American can resist. And, as Michael Korda wrote, ‘There’s nothing that the public likes more than the rich and powerful in a criminal situation.’

Personally, I wish I had never sold my house because it would give me an excuse to go to the Hamptons and see some of my friends. The beaches make the South of France look like Blackpool, and the girls can make even a gay man go straight in a jiffy. But what the hell. There’s less temptation in Switzerland. When was the last time you heard of a Swiss cow being raped?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; US: New York
KEYWORDS: hamptons; limousineliberals; noveauriche; taki
Taki strikes again!
1 posted on 06/11/2002 10:22:34 AM PDT by Clemenza
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To: Clemenza
Touche. I gave up on the Hamptons years ago (though Montauk's still kind of nice) and got a little cottage in Connecticut. It's too depressing, all that ostentatious wealth, and the price of things is insane. He's right about the beaches, though
2 posted on 06/11/2002 10:35:32 AM PDT by Burn24
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To: Burn24
In the early 1980's I spent some summer time in the Hamptons with the sort of people who invite neither the cameras nor the celebri-trash. As one lady of my acquaintance said to another: these people are not like us. Not one of them belongs to a club any of ours would reciprocate with.
3 posted on 06/11/2002 10:45:11 AM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: Rodney King
vintage Taki
4 posted on 06/11/2002 10:55:34 AM PDT by Stingray51
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To: Clemenza
so the dream house in north-west Connecticut remained just that.

Sharon or Canaan CT?...(It is beautiful up there...ex-inlaws have a great spot in Canaan...hunting and fishing galore...at least that was how it was 25+ years ago...haven't been back)

FMCDH

5 posted on 06/11/2002 11:10:16 AM PDT by nothingnew
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To: Burn24
We've got a house rented for August in Montauk. The Hamptons are truly impossible now, I never liked it for the "social" aspect of it anyway. I liked it for the beaches and quaintness of the towns. In the 60's-70's, it was never about "celebrity". It was just a beautiful place, albeit wealthy. WHO CARES ABOUT CELEBRITIES??!!!

Montauk is still pretty unspoiled, and surprisingly affordable, at least compared to the Hamptons. WAIT...DID I SAY THAT???...I MEANT, "IT SUCKS, DON'T EVER GO THERE! HORRIBLE PLACE!"

6 posted on 06/11/2002 11:19:59 AM PDT by Jhensy
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To: Jhensy
LOL...yup, Montuak is a horrible place, all those huge bugs, the air smells bad and the ocean smells worse (must be the raw sewage pumped into it from the Hamptons), and all the girls are butt ugly. ;o)
7 posted on 06/11/2002 11:35:33 AM PDT by wheezer
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To: summer, pokey78
Ping!
8 posted on 06/11/2002 11:45:51 AM PDT by Clemenza
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To: nothingnew
Taki was talking about the Litchfield Hills, where Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman and countless CEOs live the "low key high life." I think Sharon is in Litchfield County.

All I'm going to say to all of the trendites is this: Don't go to Spring Lake New Jersey. The beaches are horrible, the streets are lined with ugly victorians and Ralph Lauren in nowhere to be seen.

Of course, since Hamptons-types don't dwell on this site, I can tell my fellow Freepers that Spring Lake is one of the best kept secrets on the Jersey Shore. The beaches are quiet, the houses are beautiful, the people friendly and although it is pricey, it is not as "overvalued" or gauche as the Hamptons.

9 posted on 06/11/2002 11:51:06 AM PDT by Clemenza
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To: Clemenza
Has some nice Class E and G airports. Great day trip in a Champ.
10 posted on 06/11/2002 11:54:35 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: Clemenza
And, as Michael Korda wrote, ‘There’s nothing that the public likes more than the rich and powerful in a criminal situation.’

I used to know Michael Korda, a very amusing guy. His father was the British film producer. This is vintage Taki.

11 posted on 06/11/2002 12:03:05 PM PDT by Cicero
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To: Cicero
Taki is a horrific snob, but I agree with much of what he says. Almost every word he's ever written in fact.

Hold on, what does that make me?

12 posted on 06/11/2002 12:09:36 PM PDT by Bagehot
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To: Bagehot
Hold on, what does that make me?

Tom Wolfe?

13 posted on 06/11/2002 12:11:35 PM PDT by Clemenza
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To: Clemenza
I've noticed that Drudge has dropped his link to Taki, Mugger and the rest of the NY Press site. I wonder what happened?
14 posted on 06/11/2002 4:35:35 PM PDT by Tony in Hawaii
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To: Clemenza
My husband and I used to spend many a day in the Hamptons in the 60's while we were in college(Hofstra). If we only knew then what we know now. We probably would have begged, borrowed and stole to buy some property. It's a shame what the so-called celebs have done to such a lovely area. They have done the same thing to Nantucket.
15 posted on 06/11/2002 4:36:36 PM PDT by surrey
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To: Tony in Hawaii
Drudge--being a Jew--probably could not stomach Taki's Jew hatred anymore.
16 posted on 06/11/2002 7:00:55 PM PDT by Pharmboy
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To: Tony in Hawaii
I've noticed that Drudge has dropped his link to Taki, Mugger and the rest of the NY Press site. I wonder what happened?

Oh I know this one. NY Press carries the Michaelangelo Signorele column, which last week spewed it's usual dose of hatred at Drudge's supposed gay affair with David Brock.

17 posted on 06/11/2002 7:02:19 PM PDT by Jhensy
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To: Tony in Hawaii; Jhensy
Click here for the beginning of the whole story...
18 posted on 06/11/2002 7:09:10 PM PDT by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
I can't either - taki is a moron.
19 posted on 06/11/2002 11:39:38 PM PDT by Yehuda
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To: Pharmboy
Provocative, yes, but dollars to donuts Drudge dropped the NY Press because of the Signorile column.
20 posted on 06/12/2002 4:16:27 AM PDT by Jhensy
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To: Jhensy
LOL. Ever had the brunch at the Montauk Yacht Club? It's killer. Gosman's dock lobsterfest, too!
21 posted on 06/12/2002 7:37:47 AM PDT by Burn24
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To: Pharmboy, yehuda
I've noticed that you can't put Greeks, Jews and/or Armenians together in a small area without name calling and worse.

Whatever his faults, Taki is, with Tom Wolfe, one of the best chroniclers of the tacky rich that dominate places like the Hamptons and the East Side.

22 posted on 06/12/2002 3:36:19 PM PDT by Clemenza
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To: Clemenza
he may be but I got sick a long time ago of his jewbashing and his "understanding"/support for terrorism against Israel and the US.
23 posted on 06/13/2002 8:52:57 AM PDT by Yehuda
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