By Christine Bellini
The New Yorker cover illustrated by Bruce McCall, titled Operation Neptune, was brought to my attention by a fellow journalist who, by way of catching up was rattling off all the articles and books we concur are must reads along with all the movies any respectably informed citizen of the planet must see in order to be current on the current state of current affairs.
Unbelievable as it may seem, it was true that by some ironic twist of fate I indeed had missed The New Yorker cover, which made its brilliant splash at the end of July.
Summing up, as New Yorker covers are wont to do, in wistful charm the volume of cumbersome adjectives and expletives that roll off one’s tongue in an effort to capture the contrary nature of what has become known as ‘summer in The Hamptons’, McCall’s Operation Neptune captured in its exaggerated sketch what we have all been reeling against – an invasion-like onslaught on our very shores.
Pulling into formation with Hampton Jitney insignias on their side are the massive imagined ferryboats transporting Mercedes SUVs, Land Rovers, Porches and Jaguars as intentional as the invasion on Normandy. De-boarding at the water’s edge is an endless parade of luxury vehicles hell bent on barreling their way through sunbathers on the pristine beach to grab their own weekend in The Promised Land.
There is a great advantage at looking at things from a distance. You gain perspective and a sense of humor. The cartoonists and illustrators whose work grace The New Yorker are masters at this form of commentary, which pokes you in the rib as it schools you on the shortcomings of your ways.
And maybe that is why news of Chevy Chase’s son-in-law’s misguided skinny-dipping adventure which resulted in rescue crews scouring the beach at The Maidstone in East Hampton while he turned up sans clothes just out of reach of the search lights, cheekily reported by Curbed Hamptons, is actually more heartwarming than annoying. And former president Bill Clinton turning up at the Artists and Writers softball game telegraphed by Dan’s Papers, CBS Local and Newsday last weekend felt more nostalgic than headline mongering. It’s the last weeks of August and everyone’s just looking to have a little fun.
I say shame on the celebrity-obsessed press for trying to make a headlining incident out of the natural inclination of regular folk queuing up for Gwyneth Paltrow to personally sign a copy of her cookbook at the Authors Night benefit for the East Hampton Library.
In a rally of blogs and tweets that ensued, snaring more than a few participants, including Sag Harbor favorite Jay McInerney, who later back-peddled on his remarks, the matter finally gained perspective in Jonathan Welsch’s Speakeasy blog in The Wall Street Journal.
Titled “Did Gwyneth Paltrow Really Hijack Author’s Night in East Hampton?,” Welsch leads, “A reported kerfuffle involving the actress Gwyneth Paltrow and writers attending an authors’ party in East Hampton has been overblown, according to the event’s host… Social media reports from an attending author gave the impression the party came to resemble a mob scene with beefy bodyguards and long queues of autograph seekers causing a traffic jam in front of Ms. Paltrow’s table.”
Sussing out the incident, Welsch reports Dennis Fabiszak, a spokesman for the library, “said it was no big deal.” In an email Fabiszak reminded everyone of the larger picture here: “There was not a disturbance at the event. Gwyneth helped raise a lot of money for the East Hampton Library. She signed a lot of books for guests at the event. We are very thankful…”
Chalk it up as yet another incident in the hyper-tweet stratosphere that super charges the airwaves east of the Shinnecock Canal by the time August rolls around. Besides, there’s plenty of real ‘celebrities behaving badly’ news to nibble on from The Hamptons as you count down these last days of summer 2013.
Hang ten – Labor Day Weekend is just around the corner.
A former news editor, essay writer CHRISTINE BELLINI is an editorial consultant who spends a good deal of her time pondering the cultural curiosities of The Hamptons from her Sag Harbor tree house.