Monday, November 01, 2010

Oligarchs and Absinthe Shots
Mr. Prokhorov, standing a head above everyone else in the room, surveyed the crowd. Rumors circulated that this was Nicole Kidman’s apartment, adding a bit of sex appeal that grew stronger as it was translated from Russian to English and back again. Someone claimed that Mick Jagger lived downstairs. People smiled and stopped the waiter with the caviar for one more bite.

Vladimir Yakovlev, the co-founder and editor of the magazine, briefly thanked the crowd before handing the microphone to his deputy, Masha Gessen, who read her speech from her iPad. Copies of the magazine were fanned across coffee tables — the cover carried an unflattering photo of Mikhail Gorbachev — but people paid more attention to the waiters carrying trays of absinthe shots.

...As plates of scallops and beef stroganoff floated around the room, a woman with a microphone climbed the staircase and tried to silence the “the snobs and ultra-snobs,” as she described the crowd. Moments later, Cassandra Wilson, the Grammy-winning chanteuse, emerged and, eyes closed, began to sing. The Russian conversations carried on, and the party livened up as a brass band took over and the dance floor filled with rowdy moves that included a couple that broke out in push-ups. For dessert, a waiter offered a fancy wine push-up pop. “It’s like a jello shot,” he said.

Because people are already totally in love with the Russian gazillionaire who is going to help ruin Downtown Brooklyn, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s magazine, Snob, is establishing a new home on New York newsstands this Wednesday, according to The Observer. "Russians living abroad have been rediscovering Russia," deputy editor in chief of Snob, Masha Gessen, told the Wall Street Journal. The lifestyle magazine hopes to promote this rediscovery and cater to the country’s elite class.
Jan van Eyck
I'm less bothered by the new barbarism than by the self-conscious intellectual culture that's unable to come to terms with it, that's unable to reconcile claims to liberalism, earnest idealism, and good intention, with a taste for high-living in service to the powerful. It's easier to have respect for honest bastards than their passive apologists. The people responsible for The Social Network may be more interesting than the people responsible for Facebook, but where does that leave Masha Gessen or her brother and the other editors of N+1?

Look at the smile. That's the face of a great bastard. You can't help but like him.

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