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Post-Irony- Post-Satire-Post-Everything – It’s Section 9 in the N.Y. Sunday Times
Sam North
I am beginning to think that the Dallas Cowboys are the secret majority shareholders of the Sunday Times and dictating editorial policy.

Living in Vancouver, Canada, the one major drawback to living here is the dearth of good local newspapers and most important of all, a decent Sunday paper. The Province does a Sunday edition but you wouldn’t want to be seen in public with it. The alternative is the Seattle Times which is fine if you need something to fill the cracks in your wall, but not for anything else. Fortunately you can get the New York Times Sunday Edition. It never quite weighs the same as the actual local New York edition and disappointingly all those lavish lingerie ads seem to be missing from our editions, but it’s the real thing and like a true New Yorker, it takes about a week to read it. This being a Tuesday night I finally reached Section 9 Sunday Style.

I must confess I usually skip this section. I’m single, never likely to make enough money to attract anyone to a wedding and never really accumulated much style. Section 9 is for people who groom and actually care about who is getting married to whom.

I began reading Ellen Tien’s piece of ‘The News was Bad – I went to Bendels’. Rarely has an article about breast cancer been so captivating. It was witty and poignant. On receiving the news she has breast cancer "…I did the only thing I could really do under the circumstances, I went shopping." It was a revelation, real and funny. I began to examine Section 9 more carefully. There is a definite ironic tone, but so subtle, I wondered if it wasn’t actually post-ironic. The lead article ‘Partying like it’s 1999’ was upsetting. Katherine Rosman writing on the young bankers and dot-come high flyers blowing their massive payoffs on endless clubbing. The tone is well post-satiric. ‘for the 405-ers, a typical schedule consists of Sundays at Bungalow 8 (for bingo) followed by Pangaea…’
Bingo? Bingo is cool? This trend has definitely not reached the West Coast.

I loved the fashion shots of all these ‘society’ women wearing the same Tom Ford designed Saint Laurent jacket (with fur trimmings). How anyone could be considered designer of the year and contrive to make every woman look like a Dallas bag lady beats me, but it made me laugh and everyone else in the coffee shop. So post everything I think.

I began to read Section 9 with the kind of thrill normally reserved for a new Tom Wolfe novel, with a slow realisation that Bonfire of Vanities (conceived as a satire) is brought to vivid and possibly unintentional life right here in Section 9. It’s funnier than ‘Igby Goes Down’ the new film starring Keiran Caulkin and that was pretty damn witty.

There is even a feature on Manchester, England where following the IRA bombing some years ago it has had an extensive makeover, attracting ‘cool ’ London stores such as Harvey Nicks and Selfridges as well as ex LA restaurant hostesses. Now enjoy a weekend with the 24 Hour Party People. Manchester is also home to the Royal Beckhams and full of cool resturants and clubs. With Manchester University and Man United there it is always a very lively city.

Section 9 is so rich in content it is a true cornucopia of lifestyles. There’s Jeff Koons raving about the ‘archetype of the material venus’ the pot rack in the kitchen. His own new show opens in November featuring er.. a pot rack. David Colman writing in the Sunday Times keeps his tongue firmly in his cheek here and I am so happy to know Jeff Koons makes good‘French toast’.
More stunning is the reopening of the Copacabana. I just loved the dress code: For men: flashy suits and hats adorned with a feather; for women, low-cut sparkly dresses, big hair, stilettos. Signature cocktail: Pina Colada.
I am beginning to think that the Dallas Cowboys are the secret majority shareholders of the Sunday Times and dictating editorial policy.

Finally I got to the wedding pages and I guarantee I never read about weddings, but now I was electrified, I had to see what was going on and was not disappointed. The piece by Lois Smith Brady on Millicent Bogert and Scott MacDonald’s wedding in San Francisco was moving and well Anne Preloux has a challenger at last. I loved the bit where they came to Vancouver Island for storm-watching and bad weather and the anticipated wedding ring that didn’t materialise – until later. I wonder if anyone has bought the movie rights.

Added to which there were the ‘partnership vows’ of Vincent and Edward centre page on the Wedding Celebrations. I noted that Edward is the son of Olga Lanni DeBonnis and Theodore L DeBonnis of Troy.N.Y. and wondered how their Sunday turned out or did they have to take a sudden cruise that weekend?

Right now, it’s still Tuesday but I can’t wait until next Sunday. I know which section I’ll be reading first from now on.

© Sam North October 23rd 2002
Sam's own piece on the delights of Vancouver appears in Elle Decor 'November' N.Y. Edition

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