The Breakfast Table

A Prada-Wearing Marxist and Proud of It

Sweetie, I am really at a loss as to how I can possibly express my sincere enjoyment of InStyle if saying that I just like it is fraught with post-ironic land mines. I do just like it. I don’t consider myself to be post-ironic or post-intellectual or, to jump back to your initial e-mail, post-Marxist, even though I love my Prada shoes. I consider myself to be an ironist, an intellectual, and a Marxist, again even though I love my Prada shoes. In fact I enjoy the incredible privileges accruing to me by virtue of my class, race, and fancy education so much that I would like to see everyone enjoy them, even if it means that after the repossession and redistribution of private property I end up with fewer than six pairs of black Daryl K pants. Believe me or not, I am serious.

I don’t really see why it would be surprising anyway that I would sincerely like InStyle. Insofar as I write about entertainers and entertainment for a living, I would have to be even more of an incredible snot than I’ve probably already come across as being in this exchange if I were not in fact interested in my subjects, but instead perpetrating some kind of down-my-nose-looking exploitation of the magazine-reading public. I derive pleasure from Cher’s new single and am thrilled at the prospect of talking to her, and I don’t want to hear any backchat from you about it. I don’t know how this could require me to like more and more relentlessly moronic forms of cultural production. Of the things you name, I do actually really like Behind the Music. I found the part of the one on Leif Garrett where they reunite him with the friend he was in the car wreck with to be excruciatingly emotionally affecting. I like Buffy the best of any show on the WB, but I haven’t seen 7th Heaven. Michael, I don’t know what Eloi is or are, and thus cannot respond to that part of your remarks. Maybe I’m a failed intellectual. The Marxism has not been very successful either.

Anyhow, I don’t think it’s slumming to have these tastes, like, for example, for the complete recordings of the Left Banke, whose best-known single, “Walk Away Renee” includes the word sidewalk . They are beautiful and have beautiful, beautiful string arrangements. I don’t believe you really think it’s slumming either, even with a less cool example, which since this is a public discourse, I don’t feel it’s really, really necessary for me to provide.

Both Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams have a tendency in some of their work to indulge a treacly sentimentality that is not really up my alley, but I can’t say I view either as a threat to society. However, if it helps to answer your question, I would rather be shot in the stomach and left to bleed slowly to death in a vacant lot than see Patch Adams, unless I happened to be under contract to a magazine that felt strongly that I would not be earning what they paid me if I didn’t interview Robin Williams, in which case thoroughness would require it and I would do my best to appreciate the movie on its merits, since it would not, after all, be the Pentagon Papers, but a Robin Williams profile, which, however good a job I did with it, as I hasten to add I would certainly do my utmost and sincere best to do, would, when all was said and done, only ever serve any real practical purpose if it ended up wrapping fish, something that, given the medium, I could not even hope to claim in the case of this comma-ridden and up-till-now seemingly endless sentence.

I see reading this over that it will probably be snapped up by Self-Regarding,Self-Righteous magazine before Shallow can get its hands on it. It’s a good thing you already said all those nice things about me in your previous e-mail. Thank you. But I am not. You are.