Did everyone have a good Easter? I caught a cold, which really frosts an Easter cake served with three inches of snow. So if you came here to be entertained, all I can offer is this: I’ll try not to sneeze on you.
This story is going to get a lot of buzz today, so prepare to weigh in. Dan Barry’s portrait of the virtual runt of a high-school litter is pretty wrenching. Billy Wolfe is the kid whose ass everyone loves to kick, and as bad as his story is, the portrait it paints of a typical American high school is worse. The new technology is galling — the beatdowns of Billy are recorded on cell-phone cameras and then passed around the school — but at the end of this depressing tale, what it really calls to mind is prison. The code of any large population overseen by a much smaller power class will eventually evolve like this, where the most thuggish thugs of the lower class are the real people to fear.
Note how it started:
It began years ago when a boy called the house and asked Billy if he wanted to buy a certain sex toy, heh-heh. Billy told his mother, who informed the boy’s mother. The next day the boy showed Billy a list with the names of 20 boys who wanted to beat Billy up.
What do we tell kids when they’re in over their heads? “Tell an adult.” And look what happens when they do:
Ms. Wolfe says she and her husband knew it was coming. She says they tried to warn school officials — and then bam: the prank caller beat up Billy in the bathroom of McNair Middle School.
Not long after, a boy on the school bus pummeled Billy, but somehow Billy was the one suspended, despite his pleas that the bus’s security camera would prove his innocence. Days later, Ms. Wolfe recalls, the principal summoned her, presented a box of tissues, and played the bus video that clearly showed Billy was telling the truth.
Clueless school administrators can’t stop it? Contemptuous student body reinforces it? Color me astonished. Billy, Billy’s parents, if you know what’s good for you you’ll get out of this hellhole before it turns your boy into a monster. I suggest private tutoring or, at the very least, a very pricey private school, paid for by the public-school administrators who allowed this situation to grow and flourish. Maybe that’ll get ’em fired, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
OK, let’s turn 180 degrees, as befits a head clouded with decongestants.
More proof of my husband’s gay gene: Some years back we upgraded our sleeping platform. Our bedroom furniture was inherited from my grandmother, and the bed was starting to be a problem. It was so noisy you couldn’t roll over from your left side to your right without awakening your partner, and never mind the other thing. Plus, we were ready to make the jump to queen-size. So Alan went in search of something that would please his eye but not require replacement of the two dressers, which are still doing their work just fine. (Plus, I hate matchy-matchy in all things.) He found us something from following an ad in the New Yorker, and it fit the bill just fine.
That was in…? Nineteen and something, so at least eight, nine years ago.
So the “Sex and the City” trailers are out now, and oh my, it looks like Charlotte York finally caught up with the trendsetters:
That’s our bed. (Satin pillows, actresses and child not included.)
“Sex and the City” comes in for a lot of well-deserved abuse, and someday when I’m on a long bike ride I’ll have to decide why it fails to irritate me as much other shows loaded with shameless product placement and unrealistic New York housing options. The writers could be so ham-fisted with it; I still cringe to recall the AOL-plug episode, and the one where Carrie mentions “my new favorite website, Google-dot-com.” Because “Google-dot-com” is what everyone calls Google, right? The many Hermes plugs were totally grating — they squeezed their orange boxes into “The Devil Wears Prada,” too — but I still wear my Hermes scarves. It’s a crime against beauty to leave a Hermes scarf in its box for too long.
I think the thing about “Sex and the City” is, it distracts you with the ridiculous outfits. Once you’ve seen Kim Cattrall in gym clothes with her thong riding six inches above the yoga pants (because there’s nothing that feels good during yoga like a thong), or Cynthia Nixon in her…well, she played a lawyer, so she usually looked OK. And Charlotte was the epitome of good taste, which is why she bought our bed. But Carrie made up for all of them, especially when she ran down the street in a corset, net skirt, seventeen thousand ropes of pearls, stilettos and an Hermes scarf wrapped around her head so that the logo rode over her eyes, and the rest of America gaped and said, “What the fucking fuck?” So you were distracted from the next scene, which was set in the Magnolia bakery. The only Carrie outfit that didn’t make my head spin was the Vivienne Westwood suit she wore for her first day at Vogue. (Says Vogue: “a suit that nobody at Vogue would wear to work (too theatrically chic.)” Well, whatever.
I’m going back to bed. Or to couch. Or somewhere. Be nice to one another.