Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An Aristocrat at the Luncheon Table

I had lunch yesterday with a third generation Palm Beacher, a man who travels in the highest circles of American social life. He spent most of the time lecturing me on how misguided I am. His assertion is that the aristocratic world of Palm Beach is not only still vital but larger and more active than ever. He divides the island between the aristocrats and the pathetic wannabes whose presence he pointed out in the restaurant, especially one table of loud and garrulous men. I pointed out that his beloved Everglades and B&T have any number of members who scarcely qualify as aristocrats, a term that he speaks with delicious pleasure.

I told him how in my book I conclude that it’s his WASP associates who live in a ghetto in Palm Beach now, residing primarily in the estate section, traveling between the B&T and the Everglades, and attending parties which include almost all of their diminishing set. He would have none of that. I don’t agree with him but he was persuasive and devastating describing the new, vulgar world of the wannabes. If the men at the next table could have heard him, they would have cringed.

My friend talked a good deal about Shannon Donnelly, the society editor of the Palm Beach Daily News, who sees herself as writing about the most generous, charitable Palm Beachers in her column. This selfstyled aristocrat views her as the queen of the nouveau, promoting wannabes whose only virtue is their money. He is irritated that the paper almost never writes about the old world of Palm Beach, but that is largely by the choice of people such as my luncheon companion.

1 comment:

Tellin It Like it IS! said...

With all due respect, what "legacy," is this profound Aristocrat leaving behind? One can certainly appreciate the Aristocrat's efforts to sit with a non artistocrat, like L.L., who seems to be pretty intelligent. Is it safe to say that this aristocrat may want to be "featured" in L.L.'s next book? (smiling) P.C.