Say what you like about Tina Brown, but it's hard to imagine any other Obama media cheerleader running a bitchfest like "America's Worst Gay Couple". Hitherto, I had only a very hazy picture of Chris Hughes, some Facebook guy who made a bazillion dollars and has singlehandedly killed off the emaciated husk of what was once The New Republic. I had no idea, for example, that Hughes is gay and that his hubby is a big player in Democratic Party politics - or, more accurately, a small player with very deep pockets:
Nine months after Hughes told New York magazine, "He's 26. He's going to do all kinds of things in politics, but I don't think there's any rush," to run for office, [Sean] Eldridge announced his congressional candidacy.
Even by the already money-drenched standards of American politics, the Eldridge campaign was a jaw-dropping spectacle to behold. In preparation for a campaign, Eldridge established "Hudson River Ventures," essentially a vote-buying apparatus masquerading as an economic development project, to win over small business owners and their employees. He then traipsed around the district dispensing "investments" ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 to local companies. The couple then bought a property in the town of Shokan, in New York's 19th district, just months after Eldridge told the Times that it was their original mansion, in the 18th, where "we put down roots, where we want to have a family..."
To no one's surprise except, perhaps, the pampered couple, Eldridge lost the race to the Republican incumbent 65 percent to 35 percent. In light of the massive amounts of money Hughes dumped into the race, it was one of the most humiliating defeats in the last election cycle.
But we haven't heard the last of him:
A source close to Eldridge told me that he had SKDKnickerbocker draw up a plan for him to become the first openly gay president of the United States (Eldridge was born in Canada and until recently held both Canadian and Israeli citizenship, which would make it difficult to overcome the Constitution's natural born citizenship clause).
Ha! If the Constitution's natural born citizenship clause won't permit a gay Canadian to become president, then, as Supreme Intergalactic Arbiter Anthony Kennedy would say, it must be motivated by an "improper animus" against a "politically unpopular group" it wishes to "disparage," "demean," and "humiliate" - and should therefore be struck down. I'm not sure whether it's constitutional to rule that the Constitution is unconstitutional, but in the Obama era it's only a matter of time.
Why didn't America's first gay Canadian president-in-waiting run in the district where he was planning to have a family? Ah, well...
The couple had purchased a $2 million home in the [19th] district expressly so that Eldridge could run there, their purchase of a $5 million mansion in the adjoining 18th having come to naught after that seat was won by another gay Democrat in 2012.
"Another gay Democrat"? There seems to be a bit of homoxenophobia at work in these Dem precincts.
~In other news of collapsing American media, a staffer at The Detroit Free Press was made to attend a "training session" even though she'd already been laid off. Via Ed Driscoll, I greatly enjoyed this detail:
"I asked if I had to go to the training, knowing my position would be cut," says Farmer, a 35-year-old single mother. "'You have to be there,' they said." So Farmer joined about 15 colleagues in the paper's Stevie Wonder Room at 9 a.m. last Friday.
The Stevie Wonder Room? Just when you think American newspapering can't get any lamer, it does. Do they have a Four Tops Room? A Michael Jackson Room? And what kind of "sessions" go on in there?
~I see we have a mini-Canadian theme developing here: During the War of 1812, Detroit was occupied by Canadian troops - the Royal Newfoundland Fencibles. In the 19th district, Chris Hughes' gay Canuck - the Empire State Unelectable - is planning on occupying the White House. So we might as well round things out with a British Columbian Undressable - Vancouver-born centerfold Dorothy Stratten. Kathy Shaidle has a fascinating meditation on dead Playboy playmates, contrasting the obscurity to which Paige Young was consigned with the posthumous symbolic significance attached to Miss Stratten. The latter was the subject of two biopics, Death Of A Centerfold (1981) and Star, 80 (1983), plus a book by a third Hollywood director, The Killing Of The Unicorn - all claiming to discern great lessons in Dorothy's story about the broader culture, the pursuit of fame, society's obsession with youth and beauty, its need to feast on its celebrities, etc.
As Kathy notes, it might have been more interesting to make a movie about middle-aged Hollywood directors' obsessions and pursuits. Were she not dead, Dorothy Stratten could claim to have ended the careers of two A-list helmers whose careers never recovered from her. Peter Bogdanovich, whose Last Picture Show is one of the best films of the Seventies, fell in love with Miss Stratten, starred her in a movie for which she was eminently unsuited (They All Laughed), and never got his mojo back. He wound up writing that Unicorn book and marrying his late love's younger sister (younger than Dorothy, that is, although she was also three decades younger than Bogdanovich). Bob Fosse, who'd rolled through the Seventies from Cabaret to All That Jazz, was too cynical to marry any centerfold siblings or write books with Unicorn in the title, but Star, 80 turned out to be the last film he ever made, and confirmed that he only had one story to tell (showbiz as a metaphor for life) - or two if you include Chicago (life as a metaphor for showbiz). At least with Sweet Charity, the naive exploited good-time gal came with a score.
Not all playmates wind up pushing up staples. On a couple of occasions over the years, I've met Victor Lownes, who was Hef's right-hand man at Playboy until a spectacular falling-out. (He also produced the first Monty Python film.) Lownes married Marilyn Cole, a delightful English lady who was Playmate of the Year in 1973 and is famous for being the first playmate to reveal her pubic hair in Playboy. "Why not?" Victor said to me, breezily. "Everybody has it, don't they?" Once upon a time maybe. But not in the industrially depilated Playboy of the last quarter-century, they don't.
Speaking of A-list directors obsessed with the young and available, Lownes was out on the town with Roman Polanski on the night of Sharon Tate's murder. He fell out with him, too, to the point (so he told me) where he feltt obliged to return the life-sized solid-gold sculpture of Polanski's penis that the otherwise diminutive film-maker had given him as a gift. I don't know where it is now, but it would make a much better movie-award statuette than Oscar.
~Tomorrow, Thursday, I'll be joining Hugh Hewitt on the radio live coast to coast at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific. Hugh has been very appreciative of my Goldfinger CD and has put it into high rotation. If your loved one has just blown a Congressional race or been laid off in The Detroit Free Press' Martha & the Vandellas Room or returned the solid-gold doorstopper of your penis, it makes the perfect gift. Goldfinger is available on disc or digital download via the Steyn store, or as part of a Christmas special double-bill with my new book. It's also on sale at Amazon and CD Baby.