Taki: French lowlifes in high society
GSTAAD—It’s been very sunny and hot, with the bluest of blue skies above and the greenest of green mountains around me. It does not get any better than this. The farmers have cut their grass and packed it for the winter’s feed, soon the cows will be coming down from the hills, and the Swiss franc will continue going through the roof. Life is now so expensive in Switzerland, even the rich are starting to complain.
For the moment I’m sitting pretty on my lawn, trying to make some mischief. I failed to do so last week by announcing Saif Gaddafi’s arrival at the Palace hotel. No one in their right mind took it seriously—not even the hacks, who twenty years ago believed me when I wrote that Mrs. Saddam Hussein had moved in for the duration. Back then, journalists arrived and began snooping around. The Palace’s owner, Ernst Scherz, a very old friend, found it amusing and refused to deny it. The hacks drank copiously at the bar and everything was hunky-dory until the powers back home froze their expense accounts. Gildo, the greatest maître d’ ever, still talks about it when he’s not singing arias from Don Giovanni, which he knows by heart.
Which brings me to a Don Giovanni wannabe: the froglike DSK, newly free to seduce more good lookers from Africa and its environs. There’s not much I’ve ever disagreed with in Stephen Glover’s writings except for his recent description of that phony socialist pig’s wife as a tolerant French woman because “her class and background” require it. Actually, it is she who wants France’s top prize even more than the short fat man with bulging eyes and oversized ego. Let’s not forget that DSK’s first wife got him connected with the right people in les Grandes Écoles, which landed him his first good job as a lecturer. After that he used his second wife to get him in tight with the civil servants who steered him and recommended him to eventually become Minister of Finance. Now his third good job—being a billionaire—is financing his bid for France’s top spot. Anne Sinclair is no babe in the woods. She resigned her popular TV chat show when her pig husband was appointed a minister, claiming it might be a conflict of interest. It was nothing of the sort. She had inside info that the show was about to be canceled, so she bailed and ended up looking more honest than Honest Abe—who was dishonest as hell, incidentally.
Glover is right in calling DSK a chauvinist sexual predator and depicting him as untrustworthy, greedy, and unscrupulous. He is all that and more. But his wife is just as tricky, as is her billion-dollar fortune, one that derives from her grandfather Rosenberg’s art dealership. Rosenberg’s deals were as shady as Wildenstein’s, but unlike the latter he never got caught. Daniel Wildenstein I knew quite well from my El Morocco nights during the 50s in the Bagel. He was an awful man, always complaining about the waiters or not having the right table—you know the kind. Back then we used to get into fights quite regularly over women—nothing serious—if one went down, that was the end of it. I never hit Wildenstein because he was so skinny, ugly, and miserable, although if anyone deserved a knuckle sandwich it was he. There were rumors galore about his dishonesty, but the French always covered things up, as they tend to do.
He is now dead, and his son Guy is being investigated for a massive fraud, which obviously I cannot comment upon although I know that he’s guilty as hell on the principle of “like father, like son.” I used to play a lot of polo with Guy Wildenstein in Paris and he was perfectly behaved but no one among us liked him. I cannot put my finger on it, but he was extremely unlikable, just like his old man. I hope he goes down, but the odds are ten to one against. The French protect the rich and powerful—just look at DSK. That other arch-phony, the pseudo-philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, would have been laughed off the campus of a school for retarded 12-year-olds, yet he regularly appears on French TV as an advisor to Sarkozy and as a well-informed source. He’s only a source for self-promotion and bullshit, says Greece’s greatest philosopher since Plato. DSK, BHL, Rosenberg, Wildenstein—what did the French people do wrong to deserve such lowlifes? Is it punishment for collapsing so quickly against the Wehrmacht? Or for collaborating so eagerly with the conquerors? (After General Weygand’s collapse, a wit wrote, Veni Vidi Vichy!). It could also be that since the French have such a beautiful country and Paris is the most beautiful city on Earth, God made sure the French people have DSK, BHL, Rosenberg, and Wildenstein to balance things out.
As I write this sitting among the lavender and rosemary in my garden, I see a large limo pulling up at the Palace. A short, disgusting fat man with bulging eyes is getting out, followed by his rich-looking wife. Oh my God, say it ain’t so.
Taki Theodoracopulos, better known as Taki, is a journalist and writer, living in Gstaad, London, and New York. His column ‘High Life’ has appeared in The Spectator for the past 25 years, and he has also written for National Review, the London Sunday Times, Esquire, Vanity Fair, the New York Press, and Quest Magazine, among others. In 2002 Taki founded The American Conservative magazine with Pat Buchanan and Scott McConnell, and he is also publisher of the British magazine Right Now! Taki has been writing for GstaadLife since its first season in 2003/4. More of his musings can be found here.