Tuesday Talk*: Great Performances at The Met

It had been Vogue’s Anna Wintour’s party, the Fashion Institute’s “Met Gala,” where the elites meet and greet. What is it now?

The hosts were a Gen Z dream team: Amanda Gorman, the 23-year-old inaugural poet; Timothée Chalamet, the 25-year-old star of “Dune”; Naomi Osaka, the 23-year-old tennis champion and mental health activist; and Billie Eilish, the 19-year-old music phenom.

Why?

This year the gala, also known as “the party of the year,” was framed as part of New York’s re-emergence, along with the reopening of Broadway shows, indoor dining and the U.S. Open. Still, many designers who live in Europe and usually make the trip did not attend, either because of quarantine rules or because they have to work on their own shows. Rumors swirled that some Hollywood stars also chose to sit this one out, perhaps because of health concerns or because of the fear that partying while people are sick is not the best look. And some regulars could not attend, because they had not been vaccinated — a requirement for all guests.

Why?

Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York, for example, arrived in a dress with streaming epaulets bearing the message “Equal Rights for Women” and a matching bag advocating for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Her fellow Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a white dress with “Tax the Rich” scrawled in red on the back. Other attendees opted for nostalgic allusions to old-Hollywood glamour and the American West.

Why?

Why?

 

To be invited to, to attend, the Met Gala is a big celebrity deal because that’s what celebrity means. To use it, hypocrisy aside, to feign political statements will get you a few million extra eyeballs to see how virtuous you are, but then, what are you doing there and how do you think no one will notice that you’re wearing Versace while cos-playing Robespierre?  And what do the hosts have to do with anything relating to the Fashion Institute, the Met, New York City or, well, anything?

Rarely has one party revealed as much about how vapid, nonsensical and incoherent this fantasy world of woke has become. Have they become a parody of themselves, desperately trying to score points while pretending they aren’t exactly what they are?

And then there’s poor Nicki Minaj.

And the fight that followed.

I realize that my sense of pop culture is often behind those on the cutting edge. Sometimes far behind. And I appreciate the people who want to be celebrities do things to draw attention to themselves, sometimes for reasons they believe to be positive and other times just for the sake of attention. But what message, if any, does this have for where we are as a society? I can appreciate the Met Gala as a showcase for glamour. I get someone like AOC enjoying rubbing elbows with the fabulously wealthy who can elevate her to greater political prominence by wearing a dress designed to appeal to the most simplistic society has to offer.

And then there were the protests.

As celebrities walked the carpet, a substantial crowd of protesters gathered on a blocked-off Fifth Avenue to rally for racial justice.

The police arrested some of those who were taking part in the demonstration and who had ignored warnings to clear the street. The result was the somewhat jarring image of shouting protesters being dragged away by police officers past onlookers who were pressed up against metal barricades hoping to get a glimpse of celebrity glamour. (One of those celebrities was Mr. Chalamet, who walked partway to the Met wearing an almost-all-white ensemble that included a Haider Ackerman jacket, Rick Owens shirt and Converse high-tops.)

So help me out here, as I am inadequate to the task of understanding how this is all supposed to make sense. Why?

*Tuesday Talk rules apply.

18 thoughts on “Tuesday Talk*: Great Performances at The Met

  1. DaveL

    I think Ms. Minaj is confused. You’re not supposed to get vaccinated for the Met Gala, you’re supposed to get vaccinated for COVID-19. We don’t have a vaccine against whatever the hell is going on at the Met Gala.

    Reply
  2. JR

    Sting was right.

    Hey, mighty brontosaurus
    Don’t you have a lesson for us?
    You thought your rule would always last
    There were no lessons in your past

    Reply
  3. Denverite

    We have been here before. Recall radical chic — Tom Wolfe on That Party at Lenny’s. NY Mag June 1970.

    “what does one wear to these parties for the Panthers or the Young Lords or the grape workers? What does a woman wear? Obviously one does not want to wear something frivolously and pompously expensive, such as a Gerard Pipart party dress. On the other hand one does not want to arrive “poor-mouthing it” in some outrageous turtleneck and West Eighth Street bell-jean combination, as if one is “funky” and of “the people.” Frankly, Jean vanden Heuvel—that’s Jean there in the hallway giving everyone her famous smile, in which her eyes narrow down to f/16—frankly, Jean tends too much toward the funky fallacy. Jean, who is the daughter of Jules Stein, one of the wealthiest men in the country, is wearing some sort of rust-red snap-around suede skirt, the sort that English working girls pick up on Saturday afternoons in those absolutely berserk London boutiques like Bus Stop or Biba, where everything looks chic and yet skimpy and raw and vital. Felicia Bernstein seems to understand the whole thing better. Look at Felicia. She is wearing the simplest little black frock imaginable, with absolutely no ornamentation save for a plain gold necklace. It is perfect. It has dignity without any overt class symbolism.”

    Reply
  4. Quinn Martindale

    It’s the same high society status game it’s always been with ideology as a part of the fashion show. To quote Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class, “In order to gain and to hold the esteem of men it is not sufficient merely to possess wealth or power. The wealth or power must be put in evidence, for esteem is awarded only on evidence. … Refined tastes, manners, habits of life are a useful evidence of gentility, because good breeding requires time, application and expense, and can therefore not be compassed by those whose time and energy are taken up with work.”

    Reply
  5. Guitardave

    “…as I am inadequate to the task of understanding how this is all supposed to make sense.”

    HA!
    More like, ‘Mission Accomplished’ .
    It makes perfect sense if the goal of the creators was to leave you and your logical mind in a state of functional and cognitive dissonance….(you know, the state of mind required for one NOT to ROFLYFAO when some semi brain-dead POS walking cadaver tells you something about something ‘wearing thin’.)

    Reply
  6. B. McLeod

    As events are transformed to festivals of vacuous virtue-signalling, potential audiences will increasingly tune them out. For the players who attend, it is reduced to an echo chamber promenade.

    Reply
  7. L. Phillips

    Good morning Admiral. I see you decided to take a day off from rigorous intellectual effort. Good on ya’ mate.. In your honor I’m going to do the same. Heh, Joy Reid is sad. Heh, heh. (Hat tip to Mike Judge.)

    Reply
  8. Mark Dwyer

    I went Thursday morning. (retirement is enabling). the unexpected tent construction on the west side of the avenue inconvenienced us normal visitors. I had to recross the avenue and then come back farther south! and when I came out of the museum, I could not conveniently get to my usual Nathan’s hot dog cart, by 83rd street. it was all blocked off. a real insult to a Brooklyn boy.

    I was stylishy dressed in my shorts, sneakers, and polo shirt. I cannot believe that after all that inconvenience I did not get an invitation in the next day’s mail. the usual prejudice against the outer boroughs, I guess. I am consigned, I think, to the non-cool. you can imagine my distress.

    Reply
  9. F. Lee Billy

    What’s this all about anyhow? I thought this was a law blog!?! …legalese and assorted judicial nonsense, examined and re-examined, sliced and diced ad nauseam.

    Perhaps we’re transitioning to a gossip column?!? Yes Virginia, it was a slow day on Foley Square.
    ( 2nd Circuitous Court of Rubber-stamping Appeals).

    We’re recommending Storm Lake Times, NW Iowa today on NPR. Be there or be ⬛. And the movie Storm Lake at a 🎥 near you soon.

    Manhattan is no longer the Center of the Universe, I’m afraid. Remember that iconic New Yorker Mag cover of NYC facing west across the Hudson? Well I do. Important things are actually happening in flyover country these dayz.

    Where is the NY Times when we kneed them? All the Blues that’s unfit to print. On the other side of the street, if it bleeds, it leads. Ahem! You cannot win. Old lawyers never die, they just lose their Appeal.

    Reply

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