The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, February 28, 2004  

This Week on Saturday

(Note: Since “Tina Brown Thursday” lately has appeared here most often on Fridays, I’m technically only a day late this week, and while my excuse is valid -- I’m packing here, moving tomorrow -- my apologies nonetheless.)

Two weeks ago Tina Brown needed a 40-word warm-up before getting down to her customary business: name-dropping and party-hopping.

This week, Brown dispensed with that formality entirely, beginning her column, “A Welcome Diversion for Democrats,” this way:

Jon Bon Jovi’s last big gig was in front of 70,000 people at Giants Stadium, but on Monday night in Manhattan he was playing a dining room.

The occasion was a VIP donor party for John Kerry in an elegant apartment at the Dakota, that legendary West Side pile, hosted by TriBeCa Productions executive Jane Rosenthal, her husband and TriBeCa Film Festival co-founder Craig Hatkoff, and Infinity Broadcasting CEO John Sykes. Eighty big-ticket Democrats from Wall Street and the entertainment world got to mingle over cocktails with the front-runner.

Graciously, Brown allows her readers into the room for a moment, enabling us to catch a bit of the wise and worldly chatter that occurs at the seemingly endless stream of really smart Manhattan parties she attends with that city’s purported power brokers. Example: “My advice to you, senator: Stay strong!”

The rest of the column consists mostly of useless prattle about Ralph Nader. “One can only imagine the extent of Nader’s simmering rage as he watched the rise of [Howard] Dean on the flickering black-and-white TV in his Spartan apartment,” she writes, leading one to wonder whether she’s been having cocktails chez Nader, though, in keeping with his carefully cultivated and closely guarded image, I suspect Nader would more likely serve apple cider in jelly-jar glasses. (And how does Brown know Nader’s place is “Spartan”? I know we’re supposed to believe it’s ever so humble, but I also thought nobody had ever been there.)

Brown ends the column on an odd note -- no, not the sneering tone, that comes with the package -- one that raises, once again, questions about Brown’s mindset regarding gay men. (Remember the “prancing stockbroker”?):

On Tuesday, thanks to the mayor of San Francisco’s nuptial offensive, the president seized the opportunity to change the subject from job loss to gay marriage. This one will prove thornier to Kerry than Ralph Nader. Veterans in drag, where are you?

“Offensive.” That’s subtle.

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