The narcissism of our wired world, which all too often imagines that nothing it can’t encompass can exist, would have been unimaginable for Alexander Liberman, who was the editorial director of Condé Nast for some 30 years.
Earlier this year, Anna Wintour visited Obama headquarters in Chicago to talk numbers with the campaign’s top fund-raising brass. As she headed into her meeting, Wintour passed a tray stacked with food for volunteers: glazed doughnuts festooned with bacon, classic campaign fare. “I trust you’re not interested in that,” a staffer jokingly offered. She fixed him with her cool, disdaining stare. There will always be certain, crucial differences between politics and high fashion—“wedge” shoes or issues?
IT TAKES ONE to know one, as we used to say in Brooklyn. Jeff Bezos, one of the most powerful gatekeepers in the history of gatekeeping, had the effrontery to rhapsodize not long ago about “eliminating all the gatekeepers.” The eliminationist rhetoric was consistent with the monopolistic inclinations of his company. “I see the elimination of gatekeepers everywhere,” he hypocritically declared, referring no doubt to his fellow Internet oligarchs, whose codes and algorithms and policies and interests have broken new ground in the manufacture of gates.
IN EARLY JUNE, a small group of Barack Obama's top fund-raisers gathered for an urgent meeting in a bar on Chicago's Michigan Avenue. They had been summoned to town for a briefing from campaign manager Jim Messina to the several dozen moneyed men and women who make up Obama's finance committee. But, in a classic example of Citizens United-era subterfuge, a handful of the attendees slipped away from the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel in the South Loop and headed to the bar.
To page three, no less. Well, it's about a new restaurant. And a liquor license. And the (kind of) people who will come there. And the enormous common garden, called MacDougal-Sullivan Gardens, accessible only to 22 private houses of which Anna Wintour's is one. The community meeting where Anna spoke up is written about in Saturday's chic left The Independent. "I am completely concerned...This is a unique historic neighborhood." A few days earlier the New York Post posted her grievances.