Friday, July 8, 2022

Hamptons Journal: La Grand Bouffe

James Jones Truman Capote, Willie Morris, John Knowles  (Jill Krementz, 1975)

In this world of pain and suffering, with stories in the Times about shop keepers in small Ukrainian towns coming home in body bags, it seems almost like a capital crime to be fixated on status. However, resort towns like East Hampton and Sag Harbor are the Dow Jones of social capital. One's position on the food chain is titrated to the point where slights are felt more than they would be in Gotham where Superman comes out of the closet or to the rescue or both. But who are these people? For free soloists, the Hamptons was always a painful place. Back in the 60s, it was the home to the kind of strivers after artistic greatness with whom venture capitalists might be invidiously compared. It's hard to believe Bobby Van’s was once frequented by the likes of Willem de Kooning, Willie Morris, Kurt Vonnegut, Roy Lichtenstein, George Plimpton, James Brady and John Knowles. Today the steak house caters to the population of Manhattan real estate owners and brokers who are the only ones who can afford to buy or rent a house. Which would you rather be rejected for? Your lack of money or talent? Still if you talk to old-timers who bear their scars from the culture wars, they will agree that the body snatchers have invaded. If you look at the crowd filling any of the tony restaurants in East Hampton, Bridgehampton or Sag Harbor  on a summer night, it’s reminiscent of a gigantic pig trough in which expensively dressed diners with deep pockets grab and lurch and worry about not getting as much as fast as the pronoun at the next table. Even infants in strollers ooze entitlement--with all roads leading to Dalton.

read "East Hampton Journal: the 711 or Erewhon," HuffPost

and listen to "Try a Little Tenderness" by The Commitments

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