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STAND UP TO STEINBRENNER MALCOLM XM---

From Salomon_Brotb_ers
to Gold1nan 1 Sach
profit sh_rivel and l1igh -
livi11g ba11kers are ocked
with $300 000 pay cuts.
How the fu11 en cled
By Suza nn a Andr e w s

07

0 739175 0 Copynqhted naterial


ontents e •
"This would be the premier sports facility in the world. We'd have the Yanks, and we
might get the j ets back. Put a retractable dome on it, and we could get the Super Bowl!''
Al\ f),C ! Ifi Q CIT Y OFf ! ( I A I !' A C E 8 2

66 QcMn...94d ql}t on Gotham


$.,~~ai\nl!!f a15pound
The cop who allegedly snorted
of cocaine and lived; An-
In the recen t bond-market meltdown, dres Serrano's first music videos;
more wealth evaporated than in the '87 who's got the goody bags

Crash. And t his time-because invest-


ment banks are trading for their own
Departments .98
24 Cityside
accounts more than ever before-it
Robert I. Friedman
wasn' t just other people's money. New questions cast doubt on the Cue
Now Wall Street is a changed place, FBI's infonnant in the a lleged plot 109 Clam lesbian confab at Cafe
and for young t raders used to six-figure bonuses. the BMWs and to assassinate Louis Farrakhan Tabac; a Shallow Grave opens;
Cart ier watches are getting harder to come by. How do money man iacs Nicky Silver's new play; Dante's
26 Advertising new best-seller: the only snow you'll
strike back when the well runs dry? Well, by sending their briefcases
Alex Williams see in Central Park this winter
ho me to Connecticut in limousines, for starters . As Jay Chiat merges, once-hot crea-
tive star Andy Berlin uies to catch Misc.
72TI]Cla~ fire again with Fallon McElligott lJ!Iters
lntelllpncer by Pat Wechsler
8

m lies ltt!er 20 The CuHanoe Business and Roger D. Friedman ............... I I


The New York Post's designated Times Stephen Fenichell Best Bets by Corky Pollan ...........98
Counterprogramming with a for- Slles Ia Blrplns
basher- Hilton Kramer-is a man of by Leonore Fleischer ................. I 08
mer Odeon waitress and the cool-
many contradictions. He is an art c ritic est man in Hollywood New YcriCompetition
by Mary Ann Madden ............... 154
who has never studied art, a journalist
l ondon llnMsCrossword I 56
who got his first job o n the strength of The Arts 'CH 'Cros--.1
an imaginary journalism degree, and a by Maura 8. /acabson ...............l 56
100 Movies Cb~ 14 2
defender of high cultu re who is now David Denby Strictly Personals ..................... 149
best known for a st riden t column in a lowbrow tabloid. Miami Rhapsody is no t great;
Mamma Roma is a masterpiece re-
vived; Bad Company is dreary trash

102 Theater
John Simon
Tough fanner prosecutor Rudy Giuliani is let- 71te Moliere Comedies are sublime:
ting a man twice banned from baseball and After-Play is all foreplay and no play;
once convicted of a felony push him around. Body Shop gets a few things right
Is George Steinbrenner really moving the
Yankees to Jersey? Probably not. Do we really
104 Classical Music
Peter G. Davis
want to give him a $600 million "Yankee Village" in the Bronx, or a new, bil- The last of the romantics plays
lion-dollar stadium on the West Side? Heck, no. A case for calling his bluff. Carnegie Hall; in-your-face sonic
grunge at the Kitchen;
88 TILe 1!195 Mqvjegoer's the uptown/downtown
- Surv1val Guide dialectic

David Bourgeois scopes out the best-and worst-places to catch 106 Television
a movie. (Guess which category the Angelika falls into.) Also, Liz John Leonard
Ferbel's exclusive, scientific investigation into the artery-harden- Heather Locklear's
ing popcorn on sale at a theater neat yqu sbows that a problem class struggle; Peggy
Noonan's values;
widely thought to have been corrected last year is as bad as ever.
John-Boy's nuptials

FEBRUARY 13. 1995-VOL. 28. NO.7. Second-class (>06tage paid a t New York. New York. and additional mailing offices. Editorial and busi-
ness offices: 212-8S0.0700. POSTMASTER: Send address change> to New York, Box 54661 . Boulder. Colorado 80322-4661 . Subscription rates
in tht: U.S. and posseuions: 50 issues. $42. For subscription assista.nce. wrilt: Joseph Oliver, New York Mag.ui ne, Subscription Depanment.
Box 5466t , Boulder, Colorado 80322-4661. O r call (800) 678-0900 or (212) 447-4749. Printed in tile U.S.A.

Coftr: Drawing, Untitled, 1981, by Robert Longo, courtesy of Metro Pictures.


naterial
EOI T Ol·I ' ·CH I Ef
Kun Andersen
UPTOWN D oWNTOWN
l. "< £CUTI\ £ EDITO R \fi4 , A01 ' 0 IDITO l
Michael Hirschom Sarahfewler
AITICLE. S EOITOI DEPUY ' EOITO I 'E WS [OI TO I
1o1m Homans Judith Shulevitz Larry Doyle
0£51C ' DIRE< TO It
Robert Best
ASSISTA ' T .W. A , AOI""O l D I TO i lo
Tony FuUer. Deborah Harkins
PICTO it [ t!.DITOI
Margery Goldberg
SE/'I. I O R t OI TO IU
Kim France, Melissa Morgan. Mouhew Wcingarden
[01TO I S·AT•l.A it 0(
Tad Friend, Lynn Hirschberg
CO 'ITRII U TI NO f.O I T OR S
Alexis Bespaloff, Peter Blauner, David Blum
lohn Connolly, Barbara Coslikyan, Michael Daly
Peter C. Davis, Ruth C. Davis. Andrew Decker
David Denby. Edwin Diamond, Roger Friedman
lcffrey Goldberg, Gael Greene. Pete Hamill
Peter Hellman. Craig Horowitz. Bob Ickes
Maura B. Jacobson, James Kaplan
Jeanie RusseU Kasindorf. Jon Kat~. Walter Kim
John Leonard, Mary Aron Madden. Rebecca Mead
Patricia Morrisroe. Suzanne O'Malley. Nicholas Pileggi
BRISTOL PLAZA 99 BATTERY PLACE Eric Pooley. Tony Schwanz. Marshall Sella. lohn Simon
Christopher Smith. Ben Stein. Mark Stevens
210 East 65th Street Battery Park Ciry Michael Stone. lanice Hopkins Tanne, Tobi Tobias
New York, N.Y. 10021 New York, N.Y. I 0280 Pat Wechsler, Jacob Weisberg. Alex Williams
Carter Wiseman. Linda Wolfe
2 12.826.9000 212.898.4800 IFA:SIIIO ' OI R tCTO R
Jade Hobson Chamin
Luxury suires, eleganrly furnished wirh maid & linen service. CliLI \ 4R'f EDITOR OUIG\ £01TOI I UT IUS £01TOI
Gillian Duffy AroneFoxley Corky Pollan
Complimentary membership for Pool and Healrh C lub. P HOTO DIR [ CTOI. S P ltiA.L PR Oil('T)
Jordan Schaps
Available on long or shore rerm leases. tal STYL[ ASSIST \ , TS
Laura Georgio. Tracce R05S. Elizabeth Shepherd
SALES It IAI GAI ' S EDITOR: Leonore f1eischer
ASSOCIAT E EDITO R S
WINTER SALE GO I NG ON NOW John Dioso, Phoebe Eaton, Matthew McCann Fenton
Edith Newhall, Robin Raisfeld
ASSISTAI'- T tD I TO R S
Christopher Bonanos, Roben Patronitc
SALE 5749 Claire Perrault. Charles Runnette. Nonnan Vanamee
radius recliner R t: , OitT riU
as shown Vivian Barad, Barbaro Ensor, Michael Cihz
in starting fabric Linda Holl, MaMy I loward. Chris Norris
reg. 5899 Kate O'Hara. Colleen QuiM
Anya Sacharow. Whimey Scott. Randall Shon
ASSIHA ' T to T HE E DITO R- I I'o·CH U.F: Deborah R. Slater
tD IT OI I Al ASS I S T Arro. T S
A custom look Alexandra Lange, Dany Levy
at a great value AR T DU EC T O R

SALE S1149 Syndi C. Becker


as shown A RT ,.aooucr•o~ N A \ A.Ot a : EugeneTooman
on stilrtong leather" oH"TY "c'"n EDITOI: Sabine Meyer
reg s. l249 ASSOCIAT(. ART D l ltCTOa: Deanna lowe
ASSOCIATE ART raooucTIO ' MA , ACl:a : Emily J. Chase
.ssosr.- T ,tctuRE EDt To a : Yvonne Stender
,. • r o£rA a r ~ot r ' T tot A ' 4<i r • : Aimee E. Banol
'"T sr. o•: M. Susannah Davis. StC\'ell Davis
$Y$T(.Itol$ MA , AG£1
Many Reinert
A)50CIAT[ S\STLMS WA , ACl l : l.ominelloyd
sv n " " s us os r. " : Manha E. Bula Torres
P R OOLCT I O!tr. Ol l tCTO I
David Byars
, • o o u c T • o • "• " o to: Walston C. Bobb-Sconple lr.
P l ODUC T IO~ A SS I STA tr,i TS
Christopher Sichenzia. Michael Ziroli
Quality Tht followina &re reaisttrtd tradtmarb. and the use ol thtse lrtcJe.
mom is strictly prohibit«!: lleit llcts. 11«1 Bids. ll<:t-n ohe Un<11.
leather at ~ S:~~~·~:~u;:u~e io"!n~:~~il~=:~~r:S·. en:;
f'.:ational Interes-t, New York. New York ln1cllfFnccr, New Yorlt
affordable prices loumal. The Passlooate Shopper. The Sponlna Ufe. The Underground
Cwnneo. and The Urb.tn Suoocgi11. "'"'' York USSN 110028·7J6911s

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Mapzine Corporation, 755 Second ""'""'· New YO<\. New Yon
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(212) 213·0600 • Free parking at 148 E. 33rd St.
Mon., Thurs. 10· 8, Tues., Wed., Fri. 10·6:30, Sat., 10·6, Sun. 12-5.
ETHAN 10017-5998. Telepl>m<: 212-l!8(}.1)700. Copyriahs 0 ' ""b)' K-Ill
Map:Wt< Ccwpo,.tioot. All riahb rael'\'ed. Ad ""tlle5tJ for pmniJ.
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H O M E I N TE A IO ft S MapDn< Corporotion: William F. Re~ly. Chairman; Charles G.
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4 N£\Y YORK FEBRUARY IJ, 1995


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6 NEW YO RK FEBRUARY I J, 1995


Copynghted matenal
BILL STILL LOVED, POLL-VAUmNG THE MENENDEZ JURY
AT LEAST IN 90210 Certain residents of Los Angeles are in for a surprise soon when
Arnold Schwarzenegger is call- they answer their phones. A professional pollster will be on the
ing Newt Gingrich "our line asking not which candidate they prefer but how they feel
leader," but a. Clnton still has about confessed murderers Lyle and Erik Menendez. The rea-
Hollywood's support. So says son? Defense attorneys in the case think they didn't have a
Lara Berglhold, the new execu- chance to probe the hearts and minds of prospective jurors, and
tive director of the Hollywood according to Erik's famous advocate l.esHe Abnmson, "this time
Women's Political Committee, we'll have a sampling from 800 random people." And while
which counts among its active Abramson and her team prepare for the second Menendez trial,
members Barbra Streisand, beginning June 12, the public will be delving into the Dove
Jane Fonda, Cybill Shepherd, Books publication of taped conversations between Lyle and
and Glenn Close. "We're al- freelance British journalist Nanna Novelli. Abramson says the
ready working with the Demo- tapes were done without Lyle's knowledge: "The publisher has
One, Kate, ... Steft,
cratic National Committee on been sent letters by us and the prosecution. These are illegal Friends of mu 1t111
the '96 election," says Berg- wiretaps." Dove president Michael VIner, however, claims that it's
thold. On April 8, the genders clear from listening to the tapes that Lyle understood what No-
will mix at a Hollywood fund- velli was doing. Says Vmer: "There's a possibility that Leslie
raiser for the president. The Abramson may be concerned about her own image."
soiree will be hosted by two
thirds of the Dreamworks troi- ka--Steven Spielberg and David fund-raiser is tentatively sched-
Geffen-at Spielberg's Beverly uled for June, at the Santa Mon-
Hills home. Another industry ica airport. Says Katie Buck-
land of the California Demo-
KRAMERVS. cratic Committee: "When Newt
started talking about welfare
KRAMER'S PAST children going to orphanages, it
was like a wake-up call."
Writer and activist l.any Kramer has
found a way to agitate even the Gay
Men's Health Crisis, the group he IT'S AMESSAGE
helped found. Kramer has been
pushing for GMHC to embrace new
TO YOU, RUDY
but unapproved drugs called pro- Rudy GiuUani may give his re-
tease inhibitors, which Kramer says gards to Broadway, but he has
have done well in tests and produce far little intention of handing over
fewer side effects in AIDS sufferers than such drugs as AZf. But government cash. The city has
when GMHC's highly regarded Treatment Issues attempted to told theater owners privately
interview him on the subject, Kramer claims, the article was that there isn't enough money
blocked by GMHC's head of treatment, education, and advocacy, for all of them to be granted
David Barr. Longtime TI editor David Gold, who had conducted low-interest loans, even
the interview, was threatened with sanctions and even tennina- though there was a sufficient
tion by Barr. Kramer says Barr's reaction has more to do with per- amount to increase the joint
sonal antipathy than with any medical disagreement. "He's being state-city loan commitment to
allowed to use the organization to pursue a personal vendetta Disney for its renovation of the
against me," says Kramer, who claims the animosity dates back to New Amsterdam Theater on
their early days together at Acr UP. "My approach has always been 42nd Street from $2 1 million
to get drugs into bodies as fast as possible. David and GMHC are to $29 million. "It looks like
blindly cautious." Kramer says that Gold, who declined to com- there will be just $2 million for
ment, has tendered his resignation in protest. But sources say us to split up," one theater
Gold is still discussing with GMHC's board whether he will leave. owner says, referring to a
"Larry's been a strong and strongly opinionated voice in the promised block grant. "But
AIDS movement," says GMHC spokesman Daniel Wolfe, who that's not enough for a
wouldn't comment on Gold's status. "The interview with him bucket of paint." In re-
will be appearing in an upcoming issue." sponse, the big theater own-

Photographs: top, Michael Fergusson/Giobe Photos; center left. Catherine McCann/Outline;


center right. Barry King/Gamma-Liaison; bottom, Mark Peterson/Saba.
ers-Jujamcyn, the shu- [ THE KIDS ARE FAR RIGHT
berts, and the Nederlan-
ders-as well as Actors' Young Republican leaders are having no problems handling the
Equity and the League of liberal media elite. At a shoot with photographer .losepb Pulchlno
American Theaters a~d ~or~ for:thcoming profile in The New York Times Magazine, ed-
Producers, have subrrut- ttonal drrector Adam Mou suggested that a group of conservative
ted a written request for a stars gather on the floor under an American flag, aIa The Who's
meeting with Deputy famous The Kids Are Alright portrait. First to protest was Adam
Mayor John Dyson. In the Bellow, son of writer Saul and newly installed editorial director of
letter, they point out that the conservative Free Press book imprint at Simon & Schuster.
the city has twice failed to "It was a neat idea, but they didn't necessarily think about who
come up with matching was involved," Bellow says. "Plus, it was all about casting. They
..._...._,
OJ.MCIA.C. shllre money for projects under the
so-called Broadway Initiative.
had a black, a Jew, a gay, a woman. We had nothing to do with
each other. And we're not a rock group." The others-Bellow's
The cut seems especially cruel author David a-odl, who wrote The Real Anita Hill· Rush Lim-
given that the city also prom- baugh phone Screener James Golden; former Dan ou'ayle speech-
ised Disney Central Park-and writer Liu Schiffrwl; and former Clarence Thomas law clerk Uu-
the requisite security and main- ra lncram--were willing to soldier on. But when the flag was
tenance expenditures-for its draped over them and touched the floor, the group fell into dis-
June premiere of Pocahontas. array. "[Moss] tried to talk them into it but couldn't," says a
source. "We felt silly," says Bellow. "It just wasn't appropriate."
WHAT THE DEFENSE called The Hollywood Connec- SIRIO'SHEADACHE;
GOT AND DIDN1 GET tion. When he lived at rock
star Rick James's house in 1991 , STEIN'SHEADACHE
0. J. Simpson's dream team of Newman claimed, he partied
lawyers missed a potential lead with a man who bragged about MOVABLE FEAST: Despite
last week. Three months ago, being "O.J. and Nicole's best initial assurances that the ven-
they interviewed Rayce New- friend-a guy named Ronny erable Sirio Macciolli and his
man, a confessed former Holly- who had freckles." But it was world-famous Le Cirque
wood drug dealer and author only last week, after Newman would be unaffected by the fi-
of a book published last June saw ex-cop and ex-O.J. friend nancial tumult at the Mayfair
Ron Shipp testify about O.J.'s Regent, sources say that he has
dreams, that he recognized the been forced to consider the
MORIARTY ANDS ANEW INJUSTICE man. "I partied with him," in- possibility of moving and may
sists Newman, who recalls get- have to close the restaurant for
Michael Moltarty isn't a prosecutor, but he used to play one on
ting into a fistfight with Shipp several months if it comes to
television. So perhaps it shouldn't surprise anyone that when when he tried to bully his way that. The Mayfair currently
he suspects foul play, he sets off zealously on his own investi- into James's house. (James is faces charges of defaulting on
gation. Moriarty, who plays jazz piano when not acting, re-
cently went into one of the city's largest record retailers to buy currently serving time in Fol- its $72 million mortgage. "His
som State Prison for torturing desire is to stay," Maccioni's
a copy of his jazz quintet's CD. But instead of The Michael Mo- a female friend.) Meanwhile, son Marco says. "But we are
riarty Jazz Quintet-Live at Fat Tuesday's, the receipt read
sources say the defense plans still talking, meeting with [the
Benny Goodman Great Originals. Strange,
Moriarty thought, especially since the quintet to claim that during the fa- pension fund that holds the
doesn't play any Goodman songs. Had he un- mous Bronco chase last hotel's mortgage] and all po-
covered a scam to deprive his group of its June 17, 0 . J. Simpson tential buyers. Everyone wants
was carrying only $165 us to stay. We want to stay."
royalties? Moriarty went to a second outlet, in cash- not the previ- HELLO, NELLO: Nelo S.n is
and again a CD of his registered as a Good-
ously reported $ 10,000. about to go to war with bar
man. He went to a third store, where he
found that the labels and codes on some of "Media reports were de- owner Howard Stein. In May, Ba-
signed to make it look like lan, who owns Nello's, at Madi-
his CDs had been corrected while some
were still registering as Goodman's. Final- they were escaping," says son Avenue and 62nd Street,
a defense source. "But they will open a nightclub right
ly, Moriarty confronted his label, DRG
weren't." In A. C. Cowlinp's across the street from Stein's
Records, which is responsible for the pocket, however, were Au Bar on 58th Street. His
codes. "They told me it was a mistake,
checks made out to Simp- partners will be Giuseppe Cipriani
but only a few days before, they had also told me my ·
records weren't selling," says Moriarty, who has contacted his son totaling $8,750, which, and actor Mickey Row1ce. Later
lawyer. "If the investigation comes up a dud, okay, then it the source says, he had en- this year, when Stein opens a
warns others about what could be a nice little scam." The dorsed over to his children and new disco in Greenwich Vil-
others. Cowlings, according to lage, Nello and friends will be
quixotic Moriarty says he has also embarked on a new cam-
paign against government censorship of the media. "I am back his lawyer, Donald Re, has not nearby again, at Downtown, a
in the thick of it," he concludes. "I'm a warrior." yet been subpoenaed by either club they plan to open at West
side. Broadway and Broome Street.

U NEW YOR K FEBRU A R Y IJ, 1995 Photographs: top. Richard Hartog/The OutlookiSipa Press: center, Fran Collin/Gamma-Liaison;
bonom. John Barren/Globe Photasn- E'<ial
Off lltE RECORD "We had the
llllldest ...... I• IIIIJ'OII8'1
........,.,, 10 yo~~'d thmk we'd be
IIYiltc lots of IIIOIIIY 011 snow
.-.1. We~ In to
[111ursay's) bllclpt dllcuaion

he p.c. bubble has burst," hot young righty literary agent ..............
looldnc far ...,. froln
lnstud . . found
weiiiHd•
Lynn Chu declared last week, gloating over her sale of Newt ..WIIioul $29.6
Gingrich to Rupert Murdoch for $4.5 million up front (lat-
er reduced to $ 1 to make it seem less like an outright bribe
........
. . . . far

owertlllle," •~
eo.dl .........
told ..,rcn.
and more like a time-release one). "The coun- multicultural enforcers had insisted on includ-

....... __..
try is a lot more conservative than it was a few ing descriptions of Japanese people being vapor-
LOST RS SPARKY "111ln- •
years ago." ized. "They were not looking for analysis, and . . lllacll .......... (Jeffrey)
Why, it seems like only a few weeks ago that frankly," I. Michael Heyman, secretary of the ~

the country was still under the tyrannical reign Smithsonian, said without a slip, "we did not ............ ... _lolld
of left-wing political correctness, indeed only the give enough thought to the intense feelings such and obnoxloes, but ... - ....
week before last that the New Jersey Feminazis analysis would evoke." And so the Smithsonian [last ,..,... Lloll K1lw party)
were baring their claws against Governor will display only the fuselage of the Enola Gay, ........... tt ...
Christie Whitman, foaming about her naming a perhaps a video interview with her crew, maybe ...ulnc."--A journalist wflo
......... Dhnly's IOIIMIWhat
highway rest stop after the best-selling conser-
vative author Howard Stem. "It is inappropri-
a couple of pictures of cool explosions.
George Pataki's crew had certainly shaken
drury '-hour Poe.,_,_
....... c:onference 011 Central
ate," their sanctimonious p.c. d iatribe read, off the p.c. shackles by midweek, frrst Parte's Great LMm last week
"to pay tribute to someone with Attorney General Dennis C. Vac-

...................
who berates and demeans in- co's decision, Hey, why not discrim- FASHION VICTIIUA110N
dividuals on the basis of inate against fags- "T11e ...,....., -
their gender, race," blah whoops, t~gays? In beblack,llle . . ...,
blah blah. But Whit- removing "sexual ori- _.
man, who knows entation" from a list
which way the o f categories specifi- • • mand,llle-.,
btporhaN....._
wind blows, cally protected from ac:ddeld ... Ioiii the
blew back: "I've job discrimination in 49 ...... Mertc:Ms
done it, and his department, will! diulalltieL"-
that's that." Vacco didn't "add '-111 Krolalf,
The same day or delete language" - - - f a r tile
Whitman told those anti- or in fact change any- Nalloul~
sex shrews to shut up, new thing at all, his 011......, ca•• •••H1c011
House majority leader Dick Armey ,' spokesman claimed. tile kanu ~of
llell.utNewtolt'IVG~W,......
told reporters in Washington, "J. don't need to "He's not concerned with people's sexual pref-
spread of tllelllft.dly ......
listen to Barney Fag," then quickly corrected erences." Except, those with functioning memo- ......
himself-"Barney Frank," the openly gay con-
gressman from Massachusetts. It was just "trou-
ries will recall, when a lesbian is competing with
him for a job.
............................
~.,_,...20)

.........................
ble with alliteration," Anney explained. (His Similarly, when Mary Glass, Pataki's acting
tongue must be particularly slippery: Try saying commissioner of social services, told the Daily OVERHEARD "Can't we speed
Frank as fag.) And-except for that lonely p.c. News that homeless shelters have "made the tills up? I have to pick up Ivana
citadel, the New York Times-that was that. problem worse" and should be shut down, she by 6 P.M."......I(enlllth by Line,
The bubble has burst. Political discourse is no was not suggesting she was actually going to in federal bankruptcy court last
longer controlled by bleeding-heart knee-jerks; shut them down, her spokesman insisted the ...... after ... . , back his
jewelr) ..a-IW.CIIcenM
now the soapbox belongs to the red-blooded next day. "Flat-out wrong," he fumed to New froln tile ba..,pt Clro, Inc.
neo-knee-jerks. Early last week, the Smithsonian York Newsday. "She never even implied it." The
Institution d ra stically scaled back its 10,000- spokesman did not address what Glass might
square-foot exhibit commemorating the bomb- have been implying when, asked where the
ing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after veterans homeless should go, she shrugged and said,
and other right-thinking folks complained that "Everyone has friends o r relatives."

Phococnphs: top. EYllll AgootinVGamma-Uabon: bottom. David Allmll.GI. Illustration by Istvan Banyai.
expert in Business
laboratory
medicine, AREUTERIAN SLIP
testified that LAST TUESDAY AT 2:26 P.M., THE
anyone with currency-exchange markets abruptly
Cantwell's discombobulated when a Reuters news
alleged levels flash hit the big screens:
should "be CLIJIITON STICKS FINGER
comatose or IN MEXICAN DIKE
dead." "Things came to a halt for a minute or
Stranger than so," says a Bear Steams trader on Wall
the incredible Street. "It seemed like a construction
results is how site in the trading room.... One
wildly they comment I heard was whether Clinton's
fluctuated. Even sexual preference had changed."
the Police A trader at the Chicago Mercantile
Department's Exchange noted a similar reaction to
own expert Reuters's way of breaking Clinton's
declared that the bailout of the Mexican peso.
huge swings in "Everything stopped; everyone was
Cantwell's BE pointing at the board and laughing. It
levels could was amusing but not terribly
indicate fraud. professional. When I talked to the
c i t y ··Either one of the analyses was Reuters people, they said it was one of
inaccurate:' William Closson, head of their most requested stories.... No one
THE THICK WHITE LINE the lab that did Cantwell's tests for the will ever convince me it was an
LOOK AT IT ONE WAY, AND BOB CAN'JWELL NYPD, testified, or "they came from innocent mistake."
is a very lucky man. If an NYPD separate individuals or something was None of this apparently reached
internal investigation is to be believed, added to one of the specimens. Those Reuters's New York office. "I can't
the 44-year-old former narcotics are the only variables that I can really say there was any reaction," says
detective took enough cocaine to kill imagine." Rainey agreed: "I really think bureau chief Bill Sposato. "There
himself and has apparently suffered no there is nothing that makes them make defmitely was no revised item run."
ilJ effects. Look at it Bob Cantwell's sense other than a presumption that at COLLEEN QUINN
way, and he was wrongfully kicked off least one of the samples was artificially
the force, because of either extreme enhanced or that one of the laboratories Health
ineptitude or deliberate malice. made an egregious error."
"I don't know what happened and Testimony at Cantwell's hearing ITS ER MEETS LASSIE
how it happened, but something seemed to rule out laboratory error, SIMBA, fUNKYARD THlN, STRAINS AT HER
happened," the thirteen-year veteran leaving tampering as the only other leash, barking wildly.
says, sitting in his lawyer's office in explanation. Nevertheless, the Police "Last time she was here, she got
lower Manhattan. He shakes his head. Department's deputy commissioner for Krazy Glue in her eyes and they were
..The facts in this case are just so bizarre. trials, Rae Downes-Koshetz, discounted swollen shut," says Hope Prudenti,
There's something rotten in the the testimony and found Cantwell trying to restrain her 8-month-old
department that nobody wants to know." guilty. shepherd mix. "I don't know what's
On December 4, 1993, Cantwell, Cantwell's attorney, James W. Devor, wrong with her now. She won't eat."
assigned to the narcotics squad in then wrote to Police Commissioner It's 9 P.M. on a weekday, and the
Washington Heights, was given a drug William Bratton, who has the final say second-floor emergency room of the
test after his supervisor accused him of in these cases. Devor detailed the Animal Medical Center on 62nd Street
trying to steal cocaine while processing experts' testimony regarding tampering just west of the FDR Drive-the only
evidence seized in a drug raid. and accused the department of being 24-hour veterinary service in the city-
(Cantwell clajms he was re-bagging a more concerned about bad publicity is full of patients peering out of boxes
leaky package in the evidence room, a than finding the truth. If Bratton found and sitting on the laps of their owners.
routine procedure for a narcotics Cantwell guilty, Devor wrote, he could Except for Simba, the room's occupants
officer.) But when his three urine be covering up wrongdoing at either or are silent, heavy with the gloom of
samples were tested, they came back both of two elite squads-NYPD's illness and the aftermath of calamities.
with wildly divergent results. Vial No. I Health Services Division and the "She fell five stories," says Santos
tested at 494,051 nanograms per Internal Affairs Bureau-and "publicly Garcia, peering into the box at his
milliliter of benzoylecgonine (BE), a sending a message that a cornerstone of doleful 2-year-old gray-and-white cat. "I
chemical produced when the body the 'blue wall of silence' is this Police was in the audjence at the Richard Bey
breaks down cocaine. The second vial- Commissioner himself." show and my ~e beeped me. She was
taken a few hours later-tested at Commissioner Bratton never replied cleaning and opened a window, and
167,751. And the third sample, taken a to Devor's letter. He signed the decision Destiny fell ·o ut."
few minutes after the second: 659,650. authorizing Cantwell's firing without The A.M.C. is considered the most
These numbers are all astoundingly comment last summer. And the sophisticated facility of its kind in the
high. As a comparison, one medical commissioner is still keeping silent. country-"It's the Mayo Clinic of
study reported that a man with a ten- Through a spokesman, he refused to veterinary hospitals," says Dr. Kim
year drug habit who admitted smoking comment, saying only, "The findings Setting, an intern there-treating
an ounce of cocaine the day before his were conclusive that this guy had 60,000 patients a year and offering
drug test tested at only 34,000. At cocaine in his system, and we dismissed nearly every medical specialty available
Cantwell's administrative hearing, him because of that." to humans: neurology, oncology,
Petrie M. Rainey, a Yale University ROBERT NEUWIRTH cardiology, gastroenterology, even

16 NEW YORK FEBRUARY lJ, 1995 Pho1ograph by Rex Miller.

"' p r Jl 'Tlaterial
dentistry. But it is the emergency clear is that "it was a big bullet Mello was told that his brother
room-which treats 50 animals a day, wound," Jameson says. The dog's Fernando, the flamboyant ex-president
18,000 annually-that gets aU the owners decided that since he was a of Brazil, had just been acquitted of
press. BA-A-A-D APPLE, blared USA Today "work dog" and had lost his function, corruption charges by the Brazilian
about Apple, a 9-month-old border he should be destroyed. Supreme Court. Two days later, Pedro
collie that was rushed to the A.M.C. last The A.M.C. is funded largely by lost his speech, and five days after that,
January after swaUowing an eight-inch donations. When pet owners can't or he died of an extremely rare form of
knife with a four-inch handle along with won't pay their bills, the center gets brain cancer. Coincidence? Many
a devil's-food cake (he was saved). And stuck with the tab-and sometimes the people in New York's Brazilian
the tabloids made much of Leo, an animal. "Some people just leave their community don't think so.
Abyssinian cat who fell 46 stories from pets here rather than pay," says vet " It has become a common bar joke in
a Manhattan high-rise last July and, after technician Jody Schumacher with Brazil," says one of Pedro's best friends.
a stay in the intensive-care unit, walked disgust. Spokeswoman McGrath is quick "You don't want to fuck with this guy
to add, "But we don't do animal Fernando."
placement. We're a hospital." "The common people of Brazil beUeve
A.M.C. employees are known to be that Fernando [de Mello] has an aura-
soft touches, however. "It's almost he has divindade, or protection from evil
a requirement for working here spirits," says Fernando de Lima, a
that you adopt a pet," McGrath manager at New York's Plaza Hotel.
admits, sighing; she owns two "Anyone who goes against Fernando-
abandoned cats. Technician bad things happen to them."
Christina DeMarco took home a Pedro's first mistake, apparently, was
puppy she found in the Bronx that telJing the Brazilian newsweekly Veja in
had been submerged in hot tar up 1992 that his brother had pocketed
to its nose. "We scrubbed him off millions of dollars in kickbacks and was
with dishwashing liquid and a regular cocaine user. (Some say Pedro
peanut butter and then shaved came forth with the allegations after
him," Schumacher says. "He's Fernando tried to seduce his wife.) The
okay now. His name is Tar." fallout was spectacular: Fernando was
home on his own four legs. NANCY }0 SALES impeached; their mother, Leda Collor
"Last night, we had a dog that was de Mello, declared Pedro insane and
shot," says surgical aide Antonia International fired him from the family business
Jameson. Rumors fly that this was a (Pedro had psychiatric tests and brain
"guard dog" that had been fired on by VOODOO POLITICS scans to prove his sanity); Pedro and
police, but it could have just been a LYING IN HIS BED IN MEMORIAL SLOAN- his family fled to Miami; and then Dona
rival drug dealer or someone who Kettering Cancer Center on East 68th Leda had a stroke and fell into a coma
doesn't like dogs. The only thing that's Street in December, Pedro Collor de from which she has yet to recover.

n
The New-YOJt( Historical Society, though currently holding a fire
sale to wipe out its $2 million-plus operating deficit, has proved
itseH to be surprisingly astute about financial matters.
Late last month, Bill Ambler sat in the auction room of Sothe-
by's, growing increasingly upset as bidding on a set of fourteen
paintings of Inca kings rose well above the estimate of
$60,000-$80,000; they finally went for $343,500, to an anon-
ymous New York collector. Ambler was distraught because his
great-great-grandfather Frederic de Peyster had donated them to
the society back in 1873, specifically so that, according to a let·
ter De Peyster wrote, "they may stimulate the spirit of research."
"Now," Ambler says bitterty, ''they will be decorating some
plutocrat's dining room."
Ambler, a Ph.D. candidate in art history, acknowledges that his
ancestor's letter is "not a legal document. But he was president
of the society at the time, so I doubt he thought one was neces-
sary.'' Ambler is also miffed that when he tried to find a more ap-
propriate, more publk home for the paintings, he discovered
that the Brooklyn Museum had previously approached the His-
torical Society to arrange a separate sale--at its estimated
price--but was rebuffed. (At press time, the Brooklyn Museum
had until last Sunday to preempt the sale, if it could come up with
the purchase price minus a 3 percent museum discount; the Met
recently acquired Lo Sheggia's Triumph ofFame in a similar man-
ner.) "The Brooklyn Museum was interested at a time when the
works had already been consigned to Sotheby's," says a Histori·
cal Society spokesman. "We had to make some difficult deci-
sions.'' Runt G. DAVIS

PhorogTaphs: lop. Andrew Uchrenstein/l.B. Picrurc<: botlom. councsy of Sorheby's. FEBRUARY IJ, 1995 NEW YORK 19
matenal
Then, as if to tempt fate Madonna, Serrano's video
further, in 1993 Pedro might get another chance to
published Writing It Up: The be rejected by MTV. "We'll
Story of an Impostor, a wait for the marketplace to
biography in which he claimed create a bigger demand for it"
that Fernando and his wife, before judging whatever
Rosane,participated in black- "content issues" the video
magic rituals in the basement might raise, says Steffeck.
of their Brasilia mansion and Meanwhile, Earache/
that their personal witch, a Columbia Records, Godflesh's
candombte priestess named label, plans to distribute the
Cecilia de Arapiraca, led clip to regional video shows
Fernando, Rosane, and her and hopes the Box, the cable
mothe~ Rosita, in macumba jukebox channel that often
ceremonies among the severed shows videos MTV finds
heads of birds and animals. He objectionable, will put
also accused them of using Serrano's art into rotation.
voodoo dolls to cast spells on their M e d i a jANE WEAVER
enemies. "Fernando, all dressed in
white, spun around the basement in a
CRUCIFIXION'S COOL Culture
possessed state of ecstasy," Pedro wrote. CLOSE-UP ON the claws of two roosters
Just as his impeachment trial began, being taped with metal spurs. Two men GEITING THE GOODIES
Fernando's luck changed: Ulysses bump the birds' heads together, then toss TI'PICAL STAR-STIJDDED BENEFIT AT THE
Guimaraes, a major opponent, was the animals into a caged ring. Plaza: the Hearsts, De La Rentas, and
killed in a helicopter crash, and his "When I make my work," Andres Rohatyns. But the crowd is fidgety,
body was never recovered. Ibsen Serrano says, "I don't think about the awaiting the most important arrivals of
Pinheiro-the Brazilian Newt Gingrich reaction of the audience." the evening. Finally, they appear, and
who led the impeachment movement - A black man sits in a neo-Gothic within moments the walking tuxedos and
was expelled from Congress in a wooden bishop's chair. CUT TO a man ball gowns are all over them-the gray
financial-impropriety scandal. After being strapped into an electric chair, in shopping bags being handed out near the
turning on Collor and denouncing him grainy black-and-white. CUT TO a ballroom's exit. Smiles erupt as the
to the media, Elma Farias-wife of skeletal man in a loincloth. PAN guests rifle through the sheets of white
Collar's closest adviser and fellow ACROSS his sca"ed body. His ankles. tissue paper, uncovering COs, a leather
indictee Paulo cesar Farias--died of a are strapped by a woman in a white diary, and-yes-a $ 100 Tourneau gift
heart attack. wedding dress. He is hoisted upside certificate. "Perfect," one bejeweled
And then Pedro-only 43, healthy as down. The blood rushes to his anguished guest coos. "It's my nanny's birthday."
a bull, with a clean brain scan just two face as he hangs in a crucifixion pose. Goody bags, once a mere token, have
years before, was diagnosed with brain " It was not my intent," Serrano says, evolved into a not-so-subtle marketing
cancer. " Pedro's tumor was discovered "to make a video that MTV would like." promotion that the dancing-for-dollars
32 days before he died," says De Lima. "It's a really good-looking video," set expect, covet, and occasionally
"He had headaches in Brazil, so he says MTV program director Kurt misappropriate. These days, guests
went to a clinic in Sao Paulo, and they Steffeck, who along with eleven other often measure an event's success not by
found four tumors." members of the network's acquisitions the money raised for charity, but by
"The who le witchcraft thing is so group screened Serrano's debut music whether the freebies measure up.
silly," says Carlos Wattimo, president of video, Crush My Soul, a couple of " I've seen supposedly civilized folks
Brazil Update Weekly, an American weeks ago, but-and there had to be a hide one goody bag
distributo r of Brazilian television but-"we felt musically there wasn't a underneath their
programs. "Brazil is the largest Catholic home for it a t the current time." evening coat in order
country in the world- but it's also the This despite the fact that Serrano, the to get another," says
largest country that believes in NEA-funded artist-photographer best one benefit veteran.
macumba. To believe Pedro's death had known for his depiction of a crucifix "Once my goody bag
anything to do with macumba is like suspended in urine, has an obsession was stolen from
believing green men were responsible with bodily fluids that closely mirrors beneath my table
for New York's blackout. It's that of the music channel's own art while I danced."
coincidence and fate." brutes, Beavis and Butt-head-who The annual
Other Brazilians are not so sure. At themselves might have enjoyed the Carousel of Hope
the Brazilian Mission to the United grinding wall of noise produced by Gala is widely
Nations, one diplomat who asked, Godflesh, the British industrial-metal acknowleged as the
understandably, to remain nameless band that recorded Crush. creme de Ia goody
says, "Everybody in Brazil talks about Serrano, who at this point m ust be bag event. Thirteen
this. Even during his presidency, people accustomed to rejection, was "not hundred
said he did some voodoo work. And surprised, really.... I've heard
now, almost all of his foes have died or they don't like straps.
d isappeared from politics. They don't like to see
"I don't believe in witchcraft, but I people hanging. I'm sure
believe Fernando practiced it." Prince or Madonna could
As for rumors that umbanda candles get away with a lot more,
bum outside of Fernando's window, the but not Godflesh."
diplomat shrugs it off. "Everybody does lf the relatively unknown
this in Brazil." he says. "Sometimes I do Godflesh sells as many
it too-just in case." LANCE GOULD records as Prince or

Phot<Jill1lphs: bonom. Marina Gamier (2).


Copynghted material
B o o k s
SOUUAHED OUT
"1 THINK IT REVEALS AN UNPREDICTABLE
Souljah, a more complicated Souljah,"
Steve Wasserman, editorial director of
Times Books, was saying last week of
the memoir No Disrespect.
But the Souljah who arrived at St.
Peter's Sanctuary for the panel
discussion "Coming Together in
Harmony: Black Men and Black
Women," was actually a fairly
uncomplicated Souljah.
"Let me say again that this is merely
to generate discussion," was Souljah's
defense of the 90-minute forum that
revolved unresolvedly around the
questions What is a man? and What is
a woman? "We're trying to do a little
business here," was her explanation for
the phalanx of white photographers
that surrounded the black panelists and
temporarily obstructed the audience's
view.
"If I had an extra room, she'd have her own class," says Aida Montero, principal of P.S. And while the soul singer Nona
124 In Peril Slope, Brooklyn. Instead, Mary BarT takes groups of ten or • dozen second· Hendryx mused on polygamous
graders Into the hallway for 45-mlnute reading tutorials. marriages and actor Dondre Whitfield
denounced prejudice against light-
guests-Dustin Hoffman, Tom Arnold, other way. "We've grown accustomed to skinned black men, Sister Souljah, who
and Clint Eastwood-recently paid at the guests taking more than one bag. became a 1992 Clinton-as-moderate
least $ 1,000 each to attend the Beverly We don't endorse it, but we always have campaign prop after she seemingly
Hills fund-raiser, and toted home extra champagne on hand." suggested that black people go out and
bulging sacks containing 41 different While corporations expect donated kill a bunch of white people, stressed
products. ranging from a Marvel comic products to foster brand loyalty, the personal responsibility and two-parent
book to a sweater designed by Ivana policy may hurt sales more than help. households. The only indication of
Trump. (Total retail value $855.32.) Donated cosmetics, a goody staple, underlying complicatedness was that
There was no snatching of extras: occasionally revisit department-store she occasionally referred to herself in
Guests had to exchange special tickets shelves as returned merchandise. the third person.
for the weU-guarded bags. Roman Alonso, Bameys director of In her book, as in the discussion,
Multiple bagging, however, is a public relations, explained, "There is no Souljah's a hip-hop Helen Gurley
rapidly growing etiquette breach. At a way of knowing the difference, and we Brown, offering sisterly confessions and
celebrity auction for the National tend to honor all return requests." unexceptionable dating tips to
Actors Theater on October 28 at the And plenty of the stuff simply winds mouseburgers in the 'hood.
Pierre Hotel, a Kennedy clan member up in the garbage. Ken Frydman, a "Always meet a man in a public
and her unidentified male companion political consultant, remembers one place," she advises. "Beware of
left the Pierre with no fewer than four particularly unmemorable bag. "I went gangsters and macho men of all kinds."
goody bags, according to observers. to Gracie Mansion for a party promoting There is even a nod toward the
And who can blame them? Inside was New York City as a film location, and aU newly dominant paradigm. "We must
a veritable supermarket: Trident gum, they gave out was a plastic New York •m•nnr m the notion of welfare as a
Listerine mouthwash, a silver-plated City key ring and a copy of the way of life," she writes in the fina l
frame, disposable Schick razors, Hollywood Reporter." (Estimated chapter.
Lubridenn lotion, and Halls cough value $3.95.) No Disrespect went on sale
drops. (Total retail value $30.) "It wasn't even Variety," in the lobby of St. Peter's,
The media elite have a lso been moaned Frydman. and Souljah endorsed an idea
known to succumb. At an AIDS charity Publicist David Kratz to continue the discussion in
function hosted by Donna Karan, would have preferred a key a series of weekly town
seemingly cameraless paparazzi David ring to the cotton boxer shorts meetings. An extremely
Allen snared two low-end bags- he received at an opening- white Random House
baseball cap, water bottle, magazines- night party for BAM's Next representative, giddy with the
with the schnorrer's mantra, "Can I Wave Festival. "The shorts promise of a 22-city book tour,
have one for my editor?" And one were seam-splittingly too briefly forgot to remake what
columnist was spotted walking out of tight. I'm not the biggest Wasserman had called the
the fiftieth anniversary of Patsy's guy in the world, so pit-bull image of rap.
clutching four jars of the Italian I imagine "What can r say?"
restaurant's famous marinara sauce. everyone had a he asked.
($8.95 each.) tough time "Sister
Rather than combat goody filching getting into ruled."
with heightened security, Kimberly them." LINDA
Charles, of Champagne Taittinger, a DAVID H ALL
substantial corporate donor, looks the WALLIS

Photograph$: top. Stephen Ferry/Gamma-Ualson: bo11on1. Roxanne Mo tamedi.


:Opynghted matenal
Mixed Nuits
By Alex Williams
Photographed by Patrick McMullan

omeone asked me if the casting

S
' couch still exists," said Fiona Lewis,
a burst of blondeness standing amid
the cherry blossoms at "44." "I said,
' Not between actresses and directors,
but between producers and studio
heads.'"
Lewis, being celebrated last week as the au·
thor of the barometer-spinning new book Be·
tween Men, should know. An actress turned
"Hollywood fiancee," she's soon to marry pro-
ducer Art Linson (The Untouchables, and the
De Niro/Pacino Heat!.
Which one is Linson?
"Think movie producer."
Ponytail. Armani suit. Stubble. Tan.
"No ponytail.''
So then Linson's the one standing with
Robert De Niro, the one De Niro will talk to,
at least long enough to murmur, "We gotta
go.'' Calvin Trillin and George Plimpton
stand together, looking like a tweedy, ex-
tremelY clubbable Mutt and Jeff.
Says Lewis's editor, Morgan En-
trekin: "I don't publish a lot of fie·
tion like this. But it sounded like a
Clockwise from upper left: At the CFDA awards, Grace
lot of my friends' talk.
Mirabella gets a last-minute touch·up; at "44," Buck
Sort of Nora Henry Identifies the reason for the party-the new book
Ephron-esque." by Fiona Lewis-seated alongside Randy Quaid, who
And thus Nora talks about the old Bogdanovich days; Robert De Niro
Ephron, also pres· makes quick work of the evening, stopping with
ent, can leave a producer Art Linson and photographer Roxanne
happy woman, se- Lowit; Nora Ephron, left, chats with literary agent
cure in having Lynn Nesbit; George Plimpton, left, and Calvin Trillin
mingle. Meanwhile, at Bowery Bar the previous
achieved the cui·
Friday, gossip columnist Richard Johnson gets a
ture's highest honor:
birthday squeeze from wife Nadine; a self-
adjectivehood. propelled Nadia Auermann at the CFDA ceremony.

Copynghted matenal
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Copyr ghted matenal


rou e
The FBI 's case against Qubilah Shabazz has only two major problems:
The bureau's informant can't be trusted, and neither can the bureau.

OSPEL MUSIC BLARED FROM The FBI's investigation was so question- Stephen S. Trott, a federal appeals judge
loudspeakers inside the Riv- able, they say, and their informant so for the Ninth Circuit. Trott, who headed
erside Church in Harlem last shady-far more so than has been previ- the Criminal Division of the Justice De-
Tuesday as a remarkable ously reported, New York has learned- partment under Reagan, warns that gov-
gathering began to take form. that the case against Qubilah Shabazz ernment snitches frequently lie and fabri-
In the basement of the cathe- probably never should have been cate evidence, and will "double-cross
dral where Martin Luther brought. anyone with whom they come into con-
King Jr. had preached, Coret- "My gut reaction is that this is a na·ive tact, including-and especially-the
ta Scott King sat next to Betty Shabazz, girl who got sucked into a conspiracy," prosecutor."
widow of Malcolm X. Joining them was a says John S. Pritchard III, acting chief of Yet even by the inexact standards the
local African-American all-star lineup: New York City's Transit Police. "Proba- FBI applies when recruiting snitches,
the actress Ruby Dee, David Dinkins, bly not enough investigative work went Michael Fitzpatrick, the informant in
Percy Sutton, New York NAACP presi- into this," says Pritchard, who is black, the Shabazz case, is especially slippery.
dent Hazel Dukes. It His drug abuse and
was, Dee said, "an ex- early terrorist activi-
tended family, closing ties have already
ranks." been catalogued in
The family member the press; however,
they had come to he has also lived a
close ranks around, life of deception and
Shabazz's daughter fraud, slithering his
Qubilah, is awaiting way out of one mess
trial on charges that after another.
she solicited an FBI The 34-year-old
informant to assassi- Fitzpatrick, whose
nate Louis Farrakhan. mother is Jewish,
But no one in the cav- joined the ultra-right-
ernous church base- wing Jewish Defense
ment believed she League in 1976, and
had done such a immediately made
thing. Rather, they be- his reputation by
lieved, Qubilah, a bombing a Chelsea
poor, lost 34-year-old bookstore that sold
woman, had been Communist litera-
emotionally manipu- ture. Arrested by the
lated and then en- Feds, he quickly
trapped by a high- turned informant and
school friend as part infiltrated a JDL
of the FBI's continuing campaign against and who as a senior FBI official from front called SOIL (Save Our Israel Land).
black leaders. 1976 to 1984 managed undercover cas- Wearing a hidden wire, Fitzpatrick made
"Her experience has a regrettable but es. "If the government jumped every time a case against Victor Vancier, now a pub-
familiar ring to families of well-known they had a tidbit, something that you lic-access-cable-TV talk-show host, who
African-American leaders throughout the could indict somebody for, thousands of was convicted of plotting to bomb the
twentieth century," Coretta Scott King people would be indicted." The FBI Egyptian Tourist Office in Manhattan,
told the crowd of 200. "Black leaders and "should be worried about whether it will and later admitted to blowing up eleven
their families from Marcus Garvey on look like J. Edgar Hoover, who played other Egyptian diplomatic targets up and
down to this case have been subjected to very dirty with Martin Luther King," down the East Coast.
campaigns of slander, harassment, and adds Philip Heymann, a deputy attorney When one of his former FBI handlers
intimidation designed to discredit them. general in the early days of the Clinton was asked whether Fitzpatrick, who re-
"We are here today," she declared, "to administration who's now a professor at ceived more than $10,000 for his ser-
say, this will not work." Harvard Law School. Heymann says vices, was a credible informant, he
That the black community would flock Qubilah Shabazz should not be prosecut- replied: "The evidence was used and the
to defend the daughter of Malcolm X is ed on the basis of a case made solely by a judge and jury believed it. Mike was
not surprising; what is surprising, how- "loose-cannon informant" who, to escape credible back then. Is he credible now? I
ever, is how many people in the law-en- jail time, handed her over to the Feds. don't know."
forcement community agree with Mrs. "Criminal informants are remarkably Evidence obtained by New York sug-
King's assessment that this will not work. manipulative and skillfully devious," says gests that he is not. Fitzpatrick, who en-

Photograph by Frances M. Robert•.


lal
tered the federal witness-protection pro- which run some 300 pages, she repeated- Luther King Jr., says that the case might
gram in 1978, has been constantly in and ly worries that her mother will be assassi- never have been brought against Shabazz
out of trouble, moving from one dead- nated for publicly implicating Farrakhan if a black Justice Department o fficial had
end job to another, frequently skipping in Malcolm X's death. Fitzpatrick is more been involved in a supervisory position.
out on bills. In 1982, using his wife's au- than sympathetic. He volunteers at one Instead, the case was made by white FBI
tomobile, he ran up I 6 I parking viola- point that he knows a hit man in Chicago agents and U.S. Attorneys, and "what are
tions with fines totaling $8,486.03. That they can pay to do the job, adding, "I hate the odds that [they] knew who Malcolm
same year, he bought a home in [Farrakhan], too. He's bad for my race." X was beyond a baseball-cap level?" asks
Schoharie County in upstate New York- Garrow. David Lillehaug, the assistant
which promptly burned to the ground, "SHE WAS ENTRAPPED BY AS VICIOUS AND U.S. Attorney who brought the case, grew
the cash-strapped Fitzpatrick receiving a evil a snake as ever has lived on this up in South Dakota and has spent most of
settlement from the insurance company. earth," Shabazz's attorney William Kunst- his working life in Minnesota. Syl Jones, a
"It was never investigated," columnist for the Minneapo-
says a source familia r with lis Star Tribune, says Lille-
the settlement. "Very often haug is known as a "decent
in cases like this, the insur- man." Nevertheless, he wrote
ance companies just settle." in his column, "A big-time
In I 985, he worked for federal prosecutor in any ma-
Metro-North, where, accord- jor city would have been sus-
ing to his W-2 form , he picious that this was a set-up.
earned just $1 ,796.15. That But U.S. Attorney David
same year, he stiffed New Lillehaug don't know black
York Telephone for an un- history from Parcheesi. So
paid bill of $256.95, plus in- Minneapolis is the perfect
terest. He allegedly support- SUMMERS , NICRAEL KEVIN SUMMERS , MICHAEL KEVIN place to bring this kind of
ed himself by selling drugs, A NONE A NONE na'ive indictment. Anywhere
and used cocaine habitually
himself. "He freebased and
93-35897
052860 511,~0 11/24 ! 93- 35897
052860 511,~0 11/24
snorted cocaine before it was fashion- ler says, with his typical flamboyance. "It
else, the prosecutors would
have smelled a rat."
It can be argued, however, that it was
able," says Ron Kuby, one o f Qubilah goes without saying that). Edgar Hoover exactly because of its racist past that the
Shabazz's attorneys. is still alive and well in the FBI." FBI had to take action in the Shabazz
During this period, he also infiltrated When Shabazz goes on trial in May, case. O nce Fitzpatrick told the bureau
New York meetings of the left-wing Com- Kunstler clearly intends to put the FBI on about the alleged assassination plan, not
mittee in Solidarity With the People of El trial as well. going forward with the investigation
Salvador, according to one well-informed Throughout the late sixties and early would have been "catastrophic," says Ed-
source. The FBI sent informants like Fitz- seventies, the FBI under Hoover operat- ward S. G . Dennis Jr., an assistant attor-
patrick to infiltrate CISPES meetings and ed a top-secret counterintelligence pro- ney general for the Criminal Division
political rallies, rummage through trash, gram to ruin black-n ationalist leaders, during the Bush administration and the
and obtain membership lists. as well as Martin Luther King Jr. and the highest-ranking black official in Justice
Fitzpatrick then moved to Minneapolis civil-rights movement, often by pitting Department history. Dennis says that if
under the name Michael Summers. While black groups against one another. Some Farrakhan had been killed, " [Black] Mus-
there, he joined an anarchist group called 360 operations against black-nationalist lims would say, ' It's Malcolm X all over
the Back Room and tried to persuade groups were launched by the FBI under again. The bureau couldn't keep him
members to bomb police stations; the the rubric COINTELPRO; these included from being assassinated even though they
group tossed him out. Just before Thanks- the spreading of rumors to the media knew about it.' The worst possible thing
giving 1993, he was arrested for cocaine about Black Muslim leader Elijah for them to do is not to act on the infor-
possession, a ctime for which he would Muhammad's sexua l conduct. As mant's information."
have faced up to five years in prison if Hoover himself wrote to FBI bureau Others, though, say the government
convicted. Instead , Fitzpatrick turned in- chiefs in a memo discussing the black- had an option short o f full-bore prosecu-
formant yet again. nationalist facet of cotNTELPRO, one of tion. If the government believed that
Last fall , Shabazz moved to Minneapo- his "long range goals" was to "prevent Shabazz's threat against Farrakhan
lis with her 10 -year-old son a t Fitz- the rise of a 'messiah' who could unify lacked credibility, and that Fitzpatrick
patrick's urging. On welfare and es- and electrify the militant black national- had egged her on, "maybe they should go
tranged from her family, Shabazz saw ist movement. Malcolm X might have in and talk to her," says Heymann, who
Fitzpatrick as her salvation, telling friends been such a ' messiah'; he is the martyr of adds that it's possible that the case
in New York she was going to marry him. this movement today." Ironically, it was wouldn't have been brought if there had
Once she was in Minneapolis, though, her later reported that the FBI likely had in- been more careful oversight by Justice in
troubles deepened. Her son was tern- formation about the plot to assassinate Washington. Immediately after the ar-
porarily removed from her home by coun- Malcolm X but failed to intervene. rest, Justice Department officials told the
ty welfare workers. Throughout this peri- Although scholars and law-enforce- New York Times that they were "caught
od, the FBI contends, Shabazz and Fitz- ment officials agree that COINTELPRO was off guard" by the prosecution. The next
patrick discussed killing Farrakhan in buried with the race-baiting Hoover, day, a Justice spokesman acknowledged
retaliation for his rumored involvement in . many told New York that its legacy still that the department had been informed
the assassination of her father in 1965. haunts the bureau (so much so that in at the deputy level of the Criminal Divi-
But according to one source who has seen April 1991, 230 black agents met in sion-"which is a fme level to go to,"
transcripts of the eight audiotapes and Washington to discuss filing a class-ac- says Heymann. " [But] the attorney gen-
one videotape made by Fitzpatrick, tion suit against the FBI, alleging job dis- eral and the deputy attorney general
Shabazz appears to be anything but a crimination). David Garrow, Pulitzer seem to me to be scrambling to desert a
cold, calculating killer. In the transcripts, Prize-winning biographer of Martin sinking ship on this case." -

Photograph by Saba. FEBR U ARY I J, 1995 NEW YORK 25


natenal
BY C H A RL ES KAI SE H

HE
BITES

HILTON KRAMER- ART CRITIC FOR THE NEW YORK


Observer, weekly Times basher for Rupert Mur-
doch in the New York Post, and shrill defender of
Mathew Arnold-style Western Civilization wher-
ever he writes- launched his career as a journalist
with a lie. It was a relatively minor instance of vita
enhancement, but big enough to get him his
first job. It was the fall of 1952. Kramer was 24,
and broke-a little desperate, perhaps. His high-
school yearbook predicted he would write the
great American novel, but four years later he
seemed ready to settle for a job teaching literature.
After getting a B.A. at Syracuse, he spent a couple
of years bouncing around graduate schools-Co-
lumbia, the New School, a brief stop at Harvard,
and then a ''horrible year" at Indiana University,
where he first encountered "serious anti-Semitism."
PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES McGOON
F Oa o,~,; •v ~O« A.
In the course of his travels, he collected his first three drop- you get more attention when you score off something than when
pable names-Lionel Trilling, Richard Ellman, and Philip Rahv. you praise it."
But after two years, he still had no graduate degree and no mon- Here is a typical passage from his column in the New York
ey. So the budding intellectual returned to New York to start Observer about the last Whitney Biennial, which manages to en-
over. compass most of the critic's prejudices in just a few well-chosen
His first stop was the placement office at Columbia Universi- sentences:
ty, to try to fmd something in publishing or journalism. "The "There is no point in ' reviewing' the car loads of junk that
woman there had a folder of my undergraduate record, but she David Ross' apparatchiks have accumulated for the current ex-
wasn't particularly interested in looking at it," Kramer remem- hibition as if it had anything to do with art. Even the people who
bers. "She asked me if I'd been to the School of Journalism, so I approve of trashing the museum with this garbage don't pretend
naturally said yes. Which I hadn't been. And so through her, I to find any esthetic interest in it. They know ve'ry well that a
got a job working on the night shift in the New York office of the show like the Biennial isn't an art event, and wasn't meant to be.
Agence-France Presse." It's a straight-out political event, though 'straight' may not be
"Truth" is what Kramer calls his avocation. "I feel I am the mot juste to describe [it] .... But why should anyone go to
equipped to know the truth," he told me, but he would never an art museum for further lessons in the politics of race, gender
forget this early lesson about the usefulness of a flexible ap- and class? You can read the same thing every day on the Op-Ed
proach to the facts. Kramer is almost always on the attack, page of The New York Tunes."
whether he's focusing on the crimes against high culture com- Week in, week out, it's a bone-rattling performance. "It's just
mitted by the Whitney Museum or on the "shameless," "brain- wild," says a New York Newsday columnist. "He must need an
less," and "dumbed-down" New York Times, the institution that extra set of towels beside him when he writes, because he has to
first made him important and is now the sole subject of his col- wipe the foam from his lips."
umn every Thesday in the New York Post. As one of his admir- Some are more sympathetic. "Polemics aren't always ab-
ers puts it, "He's a power person-he thrives on that. He knows solutely keyed to a kind of absolute intellectual rigor," explains
Jack Kroll, Newsweek's veteran theater critic, who has
known Kramer since the fifties. "He's one of those guys
you learn more from by disagreeing with than you would
from a hundred guys you may agree with, because he's
such a smart guy and such an outrageous guy. And in this
business, you've got to be outrageous, or else who gives a
fuck? So in that sense, I am a fan of Hilton's. Sometimes
you read his stuff and you think, 'Holy shit! He can't be
serious! Hilton, what are you doing?' It's a great piece of
performance art, among other things."
For three decades, he has been the scourge of the art
world- first as art critic for the Times and then as
founder and editor of The New Criterion. And always he
has cast himself in the same role: the last virtuous Roman,
alone on a rampart, hurling boulders down on the Yisi-
goths below.
Once, he limited his targets to the Whitney and the Met,
to decadent curators such as Henry Geldzahler and his
disciples, like Andy Warhol and David Hockney. Today he
knows just as much about Whitewater as about Abstract
Expressionism, as much about military strategy as about
minimalist sculpture.
It was a typical piece of Murdochian mischief to give
Kramer a weekly opportunity to attack the Times, and
the critic confirms it was Rupert himself who suggested it
after reading one of Kramer's pieces attacking the decline
of cultural coverage in America. And even though he
doesn't "always" like the journalism in the Post, Kramer
says he loves the paper's politics. "It's not my duty to pro-
vide a critical estimate of tabloid journalism," he explains.
"I'm perfectly happy writing for the Post."
Contrary to the assumption of many of his victims,
Kramer left the Times on good terms in 1982, having
raised the money to start The New Criterion. Rather, his
problems with the paper stem from "the extreme degree
to which the reporting of the news has become political-
ly determined in the Times."
But his anger also has a generational aspect. He consid-
ers it criminal for the newspaper to devote so much space
to Broadway, television, and rock music; and like so many
of his comrades on the right, he's able to hate all three
without knowing much of anything about them. It's baf-
fling to him that the Times might want to target readers
20, 30, even 40 years younger than himself.
Kramer, in fact, is still happily fighting 40-year-old bat-
ties. For instance, he believes that the McCarthyite House Com- ter it ran a particularly distasteful account of the gay march on
mittee on Un-American Activities had "a legitimate function" Washington in April 1993. Bawer refused to talk about his pre-
and that it did "more good than bad." The FBI's lifelong investi- vious employer.
gation of Leonard Bernstein's politics was perfectly appropriate Today, Kramer can say, with a straight face, "Some of the peo-
because "it was in the interests of the government to know who ple I've been closest to in my life have been homosexual." Still,
was supp01ting Communist causes." And a "good part of the that doesn't prevent him from comparing the scary present to
New York educational system was totally dominated by the the lascivious socialism of pre-Hitler Germany: "When you [con-
Communist Party. It was very difficult to get a job in the system sider] the unremitting drumbeat in favor of the new racial and
if you were not on the left." (To which American Federation of sexual politics ... plus a president in the White House spear-
Teachers president Albert Shanker responds, "I like his art writ- heading the drive for gays in the military, you might think we
ings, but that's certainly not true. All the hiring was done were living in a time that radical libertarians would welcome as
through a civil-service system.") a golden age of unfettered freedom. Certainly nothing quite like
One of the principal angels for The New Criterion is the John this epoch of open-ended, anything-goes permissiveness .. . has
M. Olin Foundation. According to Paul Loeb's book Generation been seen ... since the days of the Weimar Republic."
at the Crossroads, Olin has spent between $15 million and $55
million every year since the late seventies to push a conservative LL THIS PERMISSIVENESS, THESE RACES
educational agenda. The foundation's beneficiaries have also in- and genders and sexual orientations as-
cluded a string of right-wing college newspapers and the notori- serting their rights, makes Kramer nos-
ous Dartmouth Review. talgic for the fifties. Except for one dis-
Many movers in the art world believe Kramer's vitriolic cam- turbing interlude, that decade was the
paign against Tom Armstrong contributed to the Whitney's de- first golden period of Kramer's life.
cision to remove him as the museum's director. Armstrong, now Kramer was 25 and single, running
at the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh, bears no rancor. "It copy at night at Agence-France Presse
always amused me that a dig at the Whitney was woven into and discovering the joys of the Manhat-
every column no matter what the main subject of abuse," he tan art world during the day. Very
says. To get Kramer to let up, "my mother said to invite him to quickly he filled E. B. White's prescription for success in Man-
dinner. I tried it. It didn't work. I'm very fond of Hilton. I really hattan: He was "willing to be lucky." He was the sort of person
am. He's a delightful conversationalist." But the dinner didn't you could still call a "gay bachelor" back then, before the uncon-
work. Kramer resumed his attacks the following week. scionable theft of the G-wor<i. Toscanini was conducting the NBC
Kramer's continuing assault on Armstrong's even more ag- Symphony, and Penn Station hadn't been tom down yet. "That
gressively trendy successor, David Ross, seems to be producing was a very amusing period of my life," Kramer recalls.
the opposite result. "Because Hilton has been so vicious, the Meeting Philip Rahv in Indiana in the summer of 195 1 was a
board of the Whitney has no choice," explains a former col- "very important event" in his career. Rahv was the co-founder and
league of Kramer's at the Times. " It either has to keep Ross or editor of the influential intellectual journal Partisan Review, and he
appear to take orders from Hilton." offered Kramer "a lot of encouragement about pursuing a career as
His obsession with the political correctness of the left has blind- a critic." That fall, Kramer also met the poet Delmore Schwartz;
ed him to the tyrannization of his own thinking by the dogmas of that turned out to be a less felicitous alliance.
the hard right. "Everyone knows that Hilton Kramer has never Two years later, Kramer submitted his first article to Rahv. By
had a heart," says a senior critic at the Times. "But what's even sheer chance, he assured me, he cashed in on his first controver-
sadder for an art critic is that he now has no eye either. He has on- sy. "It was called 'New American Painting,' and it consisted main-
ly a mind programmed to check art for its ideological content." ly of an attack on Harold Rosenberg's idea of action painting,"
says Kramer. "I had no idea at the time that there had been a
N PERSON, KRAMER IS REMARKABLY COURTLY. THE VOICE long-standing feud between Philip Rahv and Harold Rosenberg.
is of the carefully modulated, faux-British variety; and So Rahv welcomed it with open arms. It was just dumb luck."
the thinning hair, hom-rim glasses, and habitual bow In his memory, Kramer was an overnight sensation: "Once
tie make him look like the naughty English professor this first piece appeared in Partisan Review, that opened every
at a boys' prep school. Only the Cheshire-cat grin that door for me. Suddenly the entire New York world considered me
accompanies every cutting remark gives any hint of an important art critic. Because I'd published this article in Par-
the violence of his prose. "I'm really not very angry at tisan Review. I was absolutely amazed. I'd never really thought
all," he said to me mildly over salmon at Giovanni, on about having a career as an art critic; it would have been ludi-
West 55th Street. "I'm appalled at times: astonished, crous. But I immediately got a call from what was then called the
disappointed, anxious, worried ." Then, improbably, Art Digest, which was a fortnightly magazine, asking me to re-
he added, "I think of myself as just being judicious." view exhibitions."
In the Kramerian cosmology, the Whitney Museum and the In 1952, Kramer voted for Adlai Stevenson. But the much
New York Times are both caught in the gravity of the counter- more important event for the young critic that year was the shift
cultural, pot-smoking, authority-defying black hole that was the that occurred at the Partisan Review. "Rahv at that time was an
sixties. As the author of a book that celebrated the possibilities ex-Marxist," Kramer remembers. "He still considered himself a
of that decade, I was amused when Kramer used a whole col- radical but had decided to make his peace with capitalism and
umn in the Post last month to express his astonishment that af- bourgeois American democracy." To celebrate this stance, Rahv
ter an hour of friendly banter over white wine, some of my ques- put out a special issue of the magazine.
tions for him were actually unfriendly. It was a crucial moment for the American intellectual com-
Kramer often refers to the destruction wrought by the sexual munity, in some ways a precursor of the sharp tum to the right
revolution. But since most neocons have concluded that direct of Irving Kristol and his disciples at the end of the sixties. In
attacks on gay people are no longer politically productive, it's 1952, the Partisan Review asked a glowing array of intellectuals
been years since Kramer has written anything so provocative as to answer four big questions about the end of their war on
his meditation on "the homosexual's recognition that his condi- America. One of them would frame Kramer's lifelong obsession:
tion represents a kind of joke on nature." Nevertheless, gay con- "Must the American intellectual and writer adapt himself to mass
servative Bruce Bawer stopped writing for The New Criterion af. culture? .. . Or do you believe that a democratic society necessari-

}I UC:I-1 ABOU']' TllE 11\ li\ GE OF rrl-HS NE \VSP1\P EH AS YOU 1)0?.,.)


B1\ CK I.} IPASS I\' ELY. '·'·I C:A HE A BOtJ r ril-l E C ONri' EN~I~~-, l-IE SA il).
ly leads to a leveling of culture, to a mass culture which will over- considers Bellow "one of the most important writers of my gen-
run intellectual and aesthetic values traditional to Western civiliza- eration." John Leonard, New York Magazine's TV critic, who
tion?" was Kramer's colleague at the Times in the seventies, remem-
Kramer's rise culminated in his landing the editorship of Arts bers how Kramer felt when the book came out: "Humboldt's
Magazine. He was meeting scads of artists, including the leading Gift was a very wounding book to Hilton because Saul Bel-
painters of the New York School. He was closest to David Smith low- who may be one of the nastiest people in the world any-
and Richard Pousette-Dart. But his friend Delmore Schwartz way-was his icon. For the whole Partisan Review avant-garde
was about to turn on him. in New York-the inte!Jectual elite- Bellow was the proof. ...
In 1957, Schwartz was in a severe depression. At the end of This was the real goods: the Jewish American novel at the high-
the summer, the poet's wife, Elizabeth Pollet, left him a note say- est level."
ing she wouldn't see him again unless he entered a hospital. The Kramer waited almost twenty years before unleashing his fury
note mentioned in passing that Kramer had offered her a chance against Bellow in Commentary. Last year, he called Humboldt's
to write some reviews for Arts Magazine. Gift "an extended exercise in self-exoneration.. .. I could not
That year, Kramer had moved into the Chelsea Hotel. "It abide the way the author had contrived to exempt himself from
wasn't filled with wackos then," he says. "This was pre-wacko." the moral indictments the book so freely brought against others,
Schwartz became enraged by his wife's note, and he decided- indeed against almost everyone." Naturally, Kramer never men-
for no good reason-to blame Kramer for his plight. He checked tioned his own indictment- because, he told me, "it's a footnote
into the Chelsea and started haranguing Kramer on the tele- that only about eight people in the world would be able to un-
phone; then he charged Kramer with planning to leave his own derstand anyway." But he did write in Commentary that for him,
wife to marry Schwartz's-though at this point, Kramer had the Bellow "spell was broken" after this book.
never been married. When Schwartz threatened to kill Kramer, Luckily for Kramer, when Humboldt's Gift was published in
Kramer opened his door a crack and saw that Schwartz was 1975, he had something much bigger to console himself with.
holding a gun. After Kramer recruited a detective, Schwartz The man Bellow believed was "born to make progress in cultur-
went completely berserk and was bundled off to Bellevue. al New York" was now chief art critic of the New York Times.
Later, Schwartz hired his own detective and filed a $150,000
suit against Kramer, accusing him of an "illicit relationship" with KRAMER HAD ARRIVED AT THE PAPER TEN YEARS EARLIER, WHEN HE
Elizabeth, although there wasn't any evidence to support was hired by Clifton Daniel to be the art-news editor. When Abe
Schwartz's suspicions. But the suit dragged on for a long time. Rosenthal succeeded Daniel as managing editor, and Arthur Gelb
Kramer's real-life ~<ncounter was traumatic enough. But what became his de facto deputy, Kramer complained so much about
was even more damaging was the way Saul Bellow portrayed cultural coverage that they decided to make him cultural-news
Kramer when Schwartz became the title character in BelJow's editor in 1972. Rosenthal and Gelb were giddily obsessed with the
1975 comic novel Humboldt's Gift. In Bellow's lightly fictional- culture of the city they loved. But Kramer was constantly bom-
ized account of Kramer's ordeal, the young critic was renamed barding them and everyone else at the paper-not just his editors
"Magnasco." Bellow wrote that Humboldt "jumped Magnasco but even the publisher- with complaints about how things were
on Sixth Avenue in front of Howard Johnson's. A group of les- being covered. Fina!Jy, Gelb couldn't take it anymore. The Metro-
bians gotten up as longshoremen rescued the young man. They politan editor (whose portfolio included culture) always moved
had been having ice-cream sodas, and they came out and broke across the newsroom at what looked like a hundred miles an hour.
up the fight. " He stormed over to Kramer's desk to confront him.
A few lines later, the narrator suggests Magnasco ought to "Hilton!" Gelb shouted. "Stop sending me alJ these memos!
leave town for a while: You' re driving us all crazy. Don't you realize I care just as much
" 'Leave?' said Magnasco. 'I only just got here. Down from about the image of this newspaper as you do?"
Yale.' Kramer stared back impassively. "I care about the content," he
"I understood [said the narrator]. He was on the make, had said.
long prepared for his career. Others might never have recovered from such an exchange. But
" 'The Trib is trying me out as a book reviewer,' " Magnasco Kramer knew exactly how to play his bosses. Rosenthal and Gelb
said. were notorious for the way they sometimes meddled with the
"When I met Magnasco," the narrator continued, "he proved work of their critics, but Kramer had one gigantic advantage. As
to be overweight, round-faced, young in calendar years only, Rosenthal explained to me when he was executive editor of the
steady, unflappable, born to make progress in cultural New York. Times, "Art is one of the rare fields of life in which both Arthur
'I won't be driven out,' he said." and I are humble. I can't tell the art critic to go to this gallery in-

I SAT down tc
Kramer was devastated- he stead of that gallery." This deference also made it easy for Kramer
to continue to get away with what he calls "the dirty little secret"
of his career: " I have never in my life taken a course
in art history."

After being lntemewed tor this article, Kramer launched


a p~ptive strike in his New York Post column•
....~ ~"l? I
Kramer's stint as culture editor lasted only a few months; then profile of then-mayor
he became the chief art critic for nine years. After John Russell David Dinkins by
arrived to share art-reviewing duties with Kramer, Vincent Can- Todd Purdum in the
by asked Jasper Johns how he felt about the dueling critics. Sunday magazine-
"Well, it's the perfect arrangement, as far as I can see," said which began with the
Johns. "You've got one art critic who hates everything and one words "He is not .so
who adores everything." nice" and continued
Another Times critic remembers that "Arthur and Abe both to describe the may-
looked at Hilton as a cultural arbiter and trusted his judgment or's penchant for
tremendously. Back then he was conservative but not crazy. In- "eating three course
secure people like Abe and Arthur almost thought of him as a fa- meals from china and
ther figure-someone who upheld standards. His area of crystal in front of
strength was their weakest. To them he seemed like a genuinely aides or guests given
cultivated man." cold turkey sand-
"He raised the level of intellectual discourse at the paper," wiches on plastic
says Grace Glueck, an arts reporter whom Kramer encouraged trays"- becomes, in
to branch out into criticism. "He is an unembarrassed elitist. I Kramer's parallel uni-
think Hilton is an impossible-ist. He would like to see the world verse, a puff piece.
remade to his way of thinking. It's a continual source of frustra- An even tougher Mi-
tion and anger to him that it doesn't happen." chael Kelly profile of
David Gergen was
ERE LIE TI-lE ROOTS OF KRAMER'S CUR- "toothless," according to Kramer. Former executive editor Max
rent fury toward his former employ- Frankel used to muse, "I wonder how he'll deal with our weath-
er. For years he played Henry Hig- er report."
gins on West 43rd Street, and he "The irony of Hilton Kramer is that he has the potential to
thought of the Times as his very own have some real impact within the New York Times," says Alex
Eliza- with Rosenthal and Gelb al- Jones, a former media reporter at the paper who quit to write a
ternating as his Colonel Pickering. book about the Sulzbergers with his wife, Susan Tifft. "But he
"I put years of work into building up has squandered that by making his criticism so hysterical and
the Times's coverage, and I went to unremitting. If he leavened it by giving the Times credit when it
a lot of trouble to keep it on as high was appropriate, people there might pay some attention to what
a level as possible," says Kramer. The Gray Lady became his girl, he says. As it is, they completely ignore him."
and at least in the area that mattered most to him, he thought he "He has persuaded himself that the sixties were nothing but a
could control her. destructive plague and all remnants of it should be rooted out,"
Just like Henry Higgins, Kramer is apoplectic about the pres- says art critic Robert Hughes. "It's like looking at the denuncia-
ent passions of his prodigy. "Rubbish!" Higgins shouts after tions in the Malleus maleficarum"-the standard theological
Eliza announces she will marry Frederick Eynsford Hill. "You work on the detection of witchcraft a couple of centuries ago,
shall marry an ambassador! I am not going to have my master- which sanctioned torture to secure confessions. "This was the
piece thrown away on Freddy!" kind of rhetoric that one associated with the good old-fashioned
This is exactly the style in which Kramer now speaks about heresy hunts after the Counter-Reformation.
the Times: the furious tones of a jilted lover. For the Gray Lady "I want to emphasize that he made some very serious contri-
has chosen far more unsuitable companions than Freddy-she's butions," Hughes continues. "He's had many useful and elo-
cohabiting with gay men, feminists, black people, all at the same quently expressed insights, particularly in classical modernism."
time. ADVANCING THE CAUSE OF DEVIANCY, bellowed one headline But now "there's that stiffening. You don't like to see people be-
over Kramer's column in the Post. GRAY LADY GOES LAVENDER, coming caricatures of themselves."
screamed another one. Two years ago, Kramer actually attacked Hughes for agreeing
" I have never, never been found to be in error in anything I've with parts of Kramer's critique of political correctness on the
written about the Times," he claims. In real life, he makes an em- left. "Mr. Hughes exerts himself to occupy some liberal middle
barrassing number of mistakes. But the editors and reporters he ground that, in the real world of politics and culture today, sim-
attacks don't see any percentage in responding to him. "Look," ply does not exist," he wrote. So much for nuance.
says a senior Times executive, "I get letters from crazy people all "If you agree with any part of Hilton's program, you're a pla-
the time. His just happen to get published." giarist," Hughes explains, "and if you don't, you're a Communist."
Kramer complains that military coverage has never recovered Kramer, says Hughes, might have avoided his ideological
since Drew Middleton retired-and doesn't even realize that hardening by the mental exercise of reasoning his way through
Middleton was succeeded by Marine Corps lieutenant general an entire book rather than sticking to journalism. "I think it
Bernard Trainor, who spent nearly four years in the Washington might have truly clarified and modified for him some of his fun-
bureau in the late eighties. Kramer has called Adam Moss the damental arguments about culture," he says, "instead of having
editor of the Sunday magazine when Jack Rosenthal actually to constantly repeat them in short takes."
holds that title. He thinks the first "important page-one correc- At the end of lunch, I asked Kramer whether he thought his
tion" appeared last year, but an earlier one appeared twenty own columns weren't even more distorted by ideology than the
years ago, during Rosenthal's regime. One week, he misspelled news reported in the New York Times.
Todd Purdum's name throughout his column. He even mangled "That's often been said," he admitted.
the title of the only famous book ever written about the Times. "Do you disagree?" I asked.
In Kramer's world, Gay Talese's The Kingdom and the Power be- "I think there's probably some truth in that," Kramer replied.
comes The Power and the Glory. Then he added, in perfect doublethink, "But it doesn't mean that
More often, Kramer applies his own black-is-white ideological what I write is not true."
filter to the paper, producing surprising results. A devastating Maybe a real journalism degree would have helped. -

l'holograph by AP/Wide World Ph01os.


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