Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Livin' La Vita Dolce

The rich and famous are unlike you and me. For one thing, they commonly have a great deal more money.

A few days ago, the Italian fashion designer Domenico Dolce, whose opinion on artificial insemination all the world longed to know, asserted, “'You are born and you have a father and mother. At least it should be like that. That's why I'm not convinced by what I call chemical children, synthetic babies.” This did not go over spectacularly with the singer Elton John, whose two sons have a father and a father — Elton and his husband David Furnish — and who are alive and terribly cute, as all persons their age are, owing to the noted fashion designer Victoria Beckham’s having allowed them the use of her womb for two nine-month stretches, and of course I’m only joking. In fact the womb was the singer Melissa Etheridge's, though everyone knows the actual surrogate mother was Debbie Rowe. And I’d better abandon this shameless snarkfest of a paragraph before you become thoroughly disgusted with me.

Elton John, of course, gained international fame as a Jose Feliciano impersonator after attending the grammar school in northwest London that my wife would later attend. For years, he’s been known to younger listeners primarily as the guy who weeps copiously at the funerals of the very rich and famous — your Princess Dianas and Gianni Versaces.

Responding to critcism, Elt can be counted on to let fly the sorts of zingy bon mots Donald J. Trump commonly unleashes in response to someone pointing out that he’s an imbecile and a boor. Trump reflexively declares that his detractors are “losers,” makes fun of their wearing glasses, for instance (though you wouldn't imagine anyone with the Trump coiffure having the nerve to ridicule another's appearance), and vividly evokes a not-very-bright, very bellicose third grader coming down from a sugar rush. Elton’s a little classier than that. 

A very little. When, after Diana’s death, Elton had his lyricist rewrite the ludicrous Candle in the Wind to honor her, Keith Richards made fun of him, whereupon Elton declared, ““I’m glad I’ve given up drugs and alcohol. It would be awful to be like Keith Richards. He’s pathetic. It’s like a monkey with arthritis, trying to go on stage and look young.”

On getting wind of Dolce’s distaste for babies conceived non-traditionally, he quite reasonably asserted, “shame on [Dolce] for wagging [his] judgmental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill their dream of having children.” But that wasn’t enough for him. In the manner of a popular high school girl getting her whole entourage to snub someone with whom she has a beef, Elton also called on the world’s fashionistas to boycott Dolce & Gabbana — whose big breakthrough, mind you, was designing the bejeweled corset Madonna wore on her Talentless / Obnoxious tour in 1996.  

Not 24 hours later, Elt was observed entering an LA recording studio with a D&G shopping bag in hand. 

Sixty-six thousand persons (could Satan’s complicity be any more obvious?) nonetheless signed on to the boycott, whereupon the designers and other Italians, who should know one when they see one, accused Elton of being a fascist.

I pretty well agree with them. I believe that people should be able to say obnoxious, stupid things, as their being able to do so perpetuates my own freedom of self-expression. It’s one thing for Elton to disapprove, and emphatically, of Dolce’s professed distaste for in vitro fertilization. It’s quite another to try to incite a mob of non-consumers. Does he not think that those who carefully contemplate his every utterance have the intellectual wherewithal to stop patronizing persons whose views offend them without his telling them to do so?

Having never met the candle that could withstand even a moderate breeze, let alone a wind, I continue to regard “like a candle in the wind” as the stupidest simile in the history of English-language popular music. I lay awake last night wondering if I could come up with anything even stupider, and am now able to offer: I crossed the desert on a horse with one leg. I am unable to substantiate the rumor that D&G will design the corsets Donald J. Trump wlll wear during his forthcoming campaign for the Republican nomination for the presidency. 

The rich and famous are unlike you and me. They are generally more fatuous.

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