I’ve grown fond of Neil Steinberg’s blog, partly because of its spectacular name: Every Goddamn Day. I sometimes wonder if newspapers might fare better if they’d change their names to hew closer to the best of the internets — your Balloon Juices and Gin and Tacos and Self-Styled Sirens. I should change this blog’s name, but I lack the imagination to come up with anything very good. Every Goddamn Day is taken. And I have no intention of posting every goddamn day; five days a week is plenty, thank you very much.
Anyway, Tuesday’s entry, Calvin Klein’s plywood house, was one of my faves so far, as it formed a little community around the relative handful of people who read Jacob Bernstein’s piece in the Sunday New York Times, about Calvin’s new house in Southampton, and basically said WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK.
Bernstein, you journos probably already know, is the son of the late Nora Ephron and Carl Bernstein, and appears to specialize in trolling readers. His July profile of Caroline Kennedy was particularly sick-making, and this sort of adoring tongue bath for Calvin Klein mainly tells me that whatever his mother gave him, she didn’t give him her gimlet eye for bullshit.
Steinberg notes that Bernstein saves this amazing revelation about the $70 million Klein summer house for the 30th paragraph:
After that, a life-size mock-up of the two story house was built of plywood on the property. That project was so substantial that it required a building permit from the Village of Southampton and wound up costing approximately $350,000, according to two sources close to Mr. Klein. So that Mr. Klein could get an even better idea of what it was to be like, the furniture he had in mind was created of foamcore.
This house was such a dog and pony show that he spent $350,000 on a full-scale model, complete with fake furniture, before he actually built the house. Steinberg notes:
That’s a big drawback of being rich, I believe—I’m guessing here, but I feel fairly confident. Wealth gives you the illusion that you can have everything Just So, everything to your liking, all the time, and allows you to go to ridiculous lengths to try to get it. Not to take anything away from Calvin Klein. As a young man, I owned one of his bomber jackets and was immensely proud to have it. And now, his boxers and undershirts—just the best. Wouldn’t wear another brand; nothing else will do. So he earned his money, and if he feels compelled to spend it in such a patently crazy, controlling and almost sad fashion, well, there you go. If I read of the plywood dry run house in a Christopher Buckley novel I’d smile, shake my head and think that Buckley had gone a bit over-the-top, and strayed into overbroad parody. That it is instead a factual occurrence is a matter of wonder, and deserves the widest possible dissemination.
He’s been on a roll of late. I thought this piece about Charlie Trotter, the celebrity chef currently delaminating somewhere in Chicago, was very fine.
And while we’re taking Chicago Columnists for $1,000, Alex, here’s Eric Zorn on the sorts of people who sucked lemons when Diana Nyad emerged from the Florida straits:
I left it to others to sound the note of bitterness: “I would love to accomplish my dreams too,” as a CNN.com commenter put it, “but a thing called working always seems to interfere with that goal.”
Meanwhile, over at the Atlantic, there was a photoblog of Burning Man. Someday my kid is going to want to go to this thing, and I guess there won’t be much I’ll be able to say about it. I’ll do like Frances McDormand in “Almost Famous” — DON’T TAKE DRUGS!
I’m writing a story, and as usual it is draining me, so not too much more today, sorry. It’ll be a lovely day today, though — enjoy it.