I think I mentioned before that the royal wedding in Monaco sort of snuck up on me. I didn’t know the deed had been done until yesterday, but fortunately we live in the age of the amazing internet, when no detail is too small to report, including that the bride allegedly tried to flee Monaco — three times! — in the days before the ceremony, and was prevented from doing so by Prince Albert’s goon squad, who actually confiscated her passport rather than let her get on that plane back to Johannesburg and the chance to have a happier life.
The precipitating incident?
It followed confirmation by palace sources that Albert, 53, was due to undergo DNA tests because of claims by at least one unnamed woman that he has fathered another illegitimate child.
He already has two he acknowledges. The “at least one” became two in some reports, for an even four. I think, as we are obviously dealing with a man with a severe allergy to latex, we can assume there could easily be more. One is said to be a toddler, which means he’s been stepping out on his beautiful blonde broodmare for some time. I don’t often feel pity for women who are richer, taller and that much better-looking than me, but my heart is not made of stone: Poor Princess Charlene.
There are 63 photos in this slide show, and I beseech you to view them all, if you can. It’s the usual royal freak show, but if you can only hit the highlights, well, start with Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, who picked up her outfit at a Target white sale. Princess Charlotte Casiraghi found a far nicer dress at Chanel — it really is a wow — and Auntie Steph has real balls to stand next to her, now that a lifetime of Mediterranean sun and smoking has taken its toll on her once-lovely face. Note, also, Stephanie’s tattoo, which demonstrates she certainly favors the commoner’s side of the bloodline. Like the Middletons, the bride’s family looks perfectly nice and presentable, and probably behaved better at the reception, off in the corner table reserved for the non-Francophone guests. Charlene got a little emotional during the ceremony, and closeups taken in the church showed a tear rolling down her cheek. I have to say, I’ve never seen a more miserable bride.
Sometimes you can see a couple’s whole life in how they kiss. You certainly can with this one.
But man, a spectacular dress. Although, with that bod, she could probably make Grand Duchess Maria of Russia’s outfit look good. He looks awful. I assume we’re headed for the usual marital denouement, followed by a swift annulment from Rome, to keep those tithes coming from the li’l principality that could.
So, how was your weekend? Mine was quite nice. I made an effort to do little work and mostly succeeded. Went for a fast bike ride on a blisteringly hot Saturday and nearly died, but recovered in time to spin the evening away at a venerable biker bar in Detroit called the Stone House. We sat on the front porch while an enormous thunderstorm mostly missed us, then rode home in that yellowy-bruise light that only midwestern thunderstorms bring. Went to the Eastern Market. Barbecued ribs. Cleaned Kate’s room. The usual.
A lot of bloggage piled up over the weekend, so let’s get to it:
Christopher Hitchens filets Michele Bachmann as only he can, or rather, the particular vote-for-me-I’m-from-Podunk attitude she represents:
Where does it come from, this silly and feigned idea that it’s good to be able to claim a small-town background? It was once said that rural America moved to the cities as fast as it could, and then from urban to suburban as fast as it could after that. Every census for decades has confirmed this trend. Overall demographic impulses to one side, there is nothing about a bucolic upbringing that breeds the skills necessary to govern a complex society in an age of globalization and violent unease. We need candidates who know about laboratories, drones, trade cycles, and polychrome conurbations both here and overseas. Yet the media make us complicit in the myth—all politics is yokel?—that the fast-vanishing small-town life is the key to ancient virtues. Wasilla, Alaska, is only the most vivid recent demonstration of the severe limitations of this worldview. But still it goes on.
“All politics is yokel” — that’s a good one.
Jane Scott, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s legendary rock critic, died Monday. She was a legend because she started covering rock ‘n’ roll when she was already middle-aged, at a time when pop music writers were nearly always among the youngest in the newsroom, and because she stuck with it for decades. She was 92 when she died, 83 when she retired, 45 when she covered the Beatles’ first appearance in Cleveland, in 1964. She wasn’t much of a prose stylist, but she was enough of a reporter to know news when she saw it:
“I never before saw thousands of 14-year-old girls, all screaming and yelling,” she recalled later. “I realized this was a phenomenon. . . . The whole world changed.”
The Plain Dealer obit, linked above, contains several links to her past pieces. I get the feeling that by the end, being the senior citizen with a backstage pass was part of her brand, as they say. I grew up in a different city, and didn’t know about her until I got to college, where all the journalism students from northeast Ohio worshipped her. One of my classmates took a chance one day, and showed up at Swingo’s, the hotel where all the rockers stayed when they were passing through Cleveland (seen in “Almost Famous”). She swallowed hard and told the desk clerk, “I’m here to interview Bob Marley.” She was a pretty little peach, and they waved her right up, no doubt used to this sort of thing. She still had to clear the road manager in the hallway, though. She told him she was there to interview Bob for the newspaper.
“You must be Jane Scott,” he said.
“Yes, I am,” my classmate said, walked in and shared a spliff and a conversation with the reggae star, and that’s how the student newspaper from Ohio University snagged an interview it likely wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. She was in and out before the real critic, then 60, showed up. I bet that was a funny scene.
Another good appreciation, from the L.A. Times.
And I guess that’s it for me now. Tuesday is now Monday, so I best get rolling. Have a swell short week.