The Spectacle Blog

Sartorial Politics

By on 10.1.05 | 1:25PM

I met the Duchess of York the other night at a friend's Manhattan residence. She expressed unreserved admiration for my shoes. Frankly, that caught me off guard. But then I realized that though they are old shoes they are English shoes and with English shoes age becomes them.

The sartorial run-in reminded me of my great moment a few years back with the editors of George magazine. That adventure should remind us of the current high seas that the Republicans are supposedly suffering. Only in America's Kultursmog could the various and occasionally bogus stories of the Hon. DeLay, the Hon. Frist, this idiotic Plame woman, Katrina, and the President's polls be agglutinated into Republican Scandal.

In the mid-1990s I got a call from a writer at George notifying me that he and his colleagues had voted me one of the "Best Dressed Men in Washington." He told me not to be surprised. George was "not political." Shortly after his call a photographer came by the office. Then the writer interviewed me about my tailor, my shirtmaker, and my shoes. As this was the height of the Clinton Administration, I was relieved that the writer did not ask about my underwear.

At any rate, he followed up with a few more calls and apprised me that I would be delighted with the forthcoming issue. I was. When it came out there was no mention of me. I remember seeing Jack Valenti and several other Washington notables pictured in their Sunday best; but R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., had been expurgated from the text. I never expected to be exalted in the Kultursmog, and my belief in its utter politicization was merely confirmed once again. Those who write about politics, society, and the arts are -- unless they are forthrightly libertarian-conservative -- Democrats, not even liberals, just Democrats.

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