So Kim Jong Il, Christopher Hitchens and former Czech president Václav Havel walk up to Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates of Heaven …
If you’ve been lost in the static of radio silence this past week, you must be thinking, “What a witty opener for that Upper West Side Christmas party!” Unfortunately, the humor is coarsened by the fact that the North Korean supreme leader, outspoken British-turned-American intellectual and Eastern European politician moonlighting as everything under the literary sun all passed away this weekend. We can’t help but imagine Mr. Hitchens being amused by the inevitable comparisons that one could draw between him and the company he’ll be keeping in the newsworthy obits this week: The pages of which will be filled with terms like “revolutionary,” “tyrannical,” “egomaniacal” and “possibly insane.” (And that’s just for Mr. Hitchens!) It’s dark humor, of course, but did the Vanity Fair contributing editor know any other kind?
So while we take time out for a bittersweet memorial (flip through to A17), we also try to find humor in the morbid absurdities that made up this week’s news cycle. After all, Graydon Carter’s publication wasn’t the only one to lose an employee: Politico’s Ben Smith, a major staple of the political blogosphere, surprised us all by announcing he was leaving for Jonah Peretti’s BuzzFeed. You know, the LOL-aggregation site best known for posting videos of cute seals falling asleep on couches. Yup, that’s the one. The New York Times will also be losing several key players to the company’s buyouts in the wake of the newspaper’s CEO, Janet Robinson, stepping down. Names include Sports of the Times columnist George Vecsey, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist (twice-over) Sam Dillon, Clyde Haberman and Andrea Stevens (to name but a few). Come on guys, Jill Abramson isn’t all that bad, is she?
Another big name walking off the field this week? Rudy Ruettiger, the Notre Dame underdog upon whom the movie Rudy is based. But, this time around, his head wasn’t held quite so high. The SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission), not to be confused with the unabashed oligarchy of college football, has indicted the former champion for a pump-and-dump scheme involving the once-upon-a-time hero’s own energy drink company, which netted profits of $11 million by artificially inflating market demand for its product, then selling off its stake before the stock inevitably took a nose-dive. We doubt the shareholders who were left conned and broke appreciate the irony of the catchphrases from the Rudy sports drink: “Dream Big!” and “Never Quit!”
At least one person is taking that latter statement to heart: Marc Jacobs, who refused to quit working under the Louis Vuitton label to take over the creative director position at Dior. The deal seemed all but done for the designer to move into the anti-Semitic shoes of John Galliano, a vacancy that’s been available since March, but the word on the street said Mr. Jacobs bowed out when Dior didn’t give him the luxury bags full of cash he was asking for. Of course, Marc-y Marc claimed to Vogue that couture made him squeamish and he’d rather focus on making affordable, ready-to-wear items. Of course, this is all relatively speaking, as Marc Jacobs’s long-time relationship with Vuitton isn’t exactly Donatella Versace doing an H&M line.
Which in itself is a joke (though not one we find terribly funny): combining the prices of a haute couture designer with the shoddy craftsmanship, missing buttons, and one-season-before-the-whole-outfit-falls-apart-ness we’ve come to expect from the cheap Swedish retailer. Thank Lisbeth that the store’s new line has a more age and price-appropriate line of punky goth inspired by Rooney Mara’s character in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We hear multiple facial piercings pair really well with a dark top and years of psychological damage from torture and sexual abuse. Only $29.99 plus tax!
Come to think of it, you might find Vanessa Bryant combing through the racks—although we doubt the soon-to-be-ex-wife of Kobe would ever be seen in H&M—now that she’s finally decided to leave her NBA-playing hubby after catching him in a recent act of infidelity. Ms. Bryant stood by her husband when he was suspected of assaulting a 19-year-old girl in a hotel room, but this? This was just too much. (To be fair, he later apologized and settled out of court.) So whatever this new transgression involved, it was apparently bad enough for Ms. Bryant to decide that she’s through playing the Silda to his Eliot and breaking off their marriage contract to trade him in for a new player—along with what is sure to be a large settlement. It’s probably for the best: one more instance of marital infidelity and we wouldn’t be too surprised if Mr. Bryant found himself in the company of Messrs. Hitchens, Havel and Kim.