Slate's handy guide to small talk.

Slate's handy guide to small talk.

Slate's handy guide to small talk.

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Sept. 15 2006 4:07 PM

Weekend Cocktail Chatter

Slate's handy guide to small talk.

Slate offers a quick and easy guide to help you fake your way through overly cultured cocktail parties this weekend.

Anyone at your gathering who attended the Toronto Film Festival experienced the spectacle of Sacha Baron Cohen arriving at Borat's premiere in a wagon being pulled by four women dressed as Kazakh peasants. But the diplomatic spectacle is only beginning to unfold. When British papers published reports that the movie was going to be on the agenda for talks between Kazakhstan and the United States, the press secretary at the Kazakh Embassy issued a strongly worded denial.


As New York Fashion Week draws to a close, hipsters come together to reminisce about how they sneaked into the Heatherette show, 6,000 counterfeit tickets be damned; Seventeen Editor in Chief Atoosa Rubenstein finally takes off her sunglasses. Meanwhile, Fashion Week organizers IMG might be forced to move next year's shows to a less glamorous locale if they can't come to an agreement with the Bryant Park Restoration Committee, which seems to be upset over the permanent marks fashion editors' stilettos have left on their well-manicured lawns.

Fashion editors and their investment-banker husbands at your gathering will be expressing relief that the rumors that Ford would discontinue production of the Lincoln Town Car have turned out to be false, thereby ensuring that the swells of New York will not have to deign to enter an inferior brand of luxury automobile in the near future. Quel relief.

Sharp-eyed Cocktail Chatterers will recall that several weeks ago this column advised Booker Prize bettors to place their money on Sarah Waters' The Night Watch; now that the Booker Prize shortlist has been announced, we do hope you took our advice. Commissions may be sent to our attention, care of this magazine.

Closer to (our) home, Saturday marks the first Brooklyn Book Festival, an occasion for newly minted MFA grads to glean advice from their better-selling borough mates, for editors to silently rue not bidding on Jonathan Lethem before he was Brooklyn's own Jonathan Lethem, and for everyone to pretend they didn't read that essay in last Sunday's New York Times about what people read when they ride the F train. (In ascending order of preference: brand-new copy of hot new literary fiction, review copy of hot new literary fiction, galley of hot new literary fiction, manuscript of hot new literary fiction that you are trying to edit while riding the F train).

Enough already: Lonelygirl15, Eliot Spitzer.