Quasi-Pornography in the Times

Kurt Andersen and Nora Ephron

Quasi-Pornography in the Times

Kurt Andersen and Nora Ephron

Quasi-Pornography in the Times
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Sept. 14 1999 10:24 AM

Kurt Andersen and Nora Ephron

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The pop culture of my daughters’ youth is turning out so differently from my own—their Miss Americas may be divorcees, their WNEW-FM will be a rock-free all-talk radio station (farewell, Vin Scelsa!), and they will grow up able to watch milling half-naked models live backstage, thanks to Vogue.com.

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I discovered Vogue.com last night, which is evidently brand new. Looking at those fresh, sharp, digital pictures beamed from the fashion shows in Bryant Park onto my 21-inch computer screen at midnight, I felt like a James Bond villain—particularly when I found that you can click a button on the screen to make Vogue.com show only the swimsuit models within a given designer’s collection. Is this what they mean in bad novels and bad movies about "technology falling into the wrong hands"?

Quasi-pornography in the Times this morning, too, with the day’s final accounting of the former Mrs. Ron Perelman’s child-support request: $22.3 million over the next 14 years, including $30,000 a month for the kid’s servants. Patricia Duff, by the way, also shows up today in the Page One lead of the Wall Street Journal—a story about how entertainment and American politics have become a seamless hybrid. (Since this has been one of my personal hobbyhorses for some years, I was happy to see the Journal certify the phenomenon; I can stop talking about it now.) Anyhow, Duff explained and implicitly bemoaned the trend: "There’s no reverence for the process," she said of the citizenry’s disregard for politics. "It’s all irreverence." By the way, did I mention that this is a woman who is asking for $9,953 a month from now until 2013 for her toddler’s travel expenses?

Why is the prospect of a New York Senate campaign between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani so rich and pleasurable? Not because I would enjoy voting for either one, certainly. Entertainment value, I figure. Or am I wrong?

Yours,
Kurt

Kurt Andersen was architecture critic for Time, co-founder of Spy, and editor of New York magazine. He now writes for The New Yorker, and his best-selling first novel, Turn of the Century, was published in May (click here to buy it). Nora Ephron is a screenwriter and director. Her films include Sleepless in Seattle, Michael and, most recently, You’ve Got Mail.