Monday, September 26, 2005

Hermès: God of Political Expediency

I see that Oprah Winfrey has brought closure (revolting word, I know, but just so appropriate) to the matter of her little set-to with Hermès this summer. What a fascinating study in how fat cats get fat and then fling their weight around Oprah is. She even had the irony to urge shame on "anybody for thinking that I was upset for not being able to get into a clothes store and buy a purse" ... But, if not that, then what the hell were you upset about, Oprah? The store was closed and, for this completely sufficient reason, a staff member turned you away. Simple dimple. The fact that people were still inside when you were told you couldn't join them is rather easily explained by the fact that ALL STORES DO THIS! They lock the doors at closing time, but give the remaining customers inside a ten or fifteen minute grace period before they are then required to leave too. That's the way it works. And it is preeminently, even gratuitously, fair!

But Oprah is angry because of a surmise that the rules might've been broken for her were she somebody else (or, more likely, were the offending Hermès employee somebody else--someone a little more grovelly to prima donna talkshow hosts). Which, maybe, is the tiniest bit understandable--at least to other infants, anyway--but is otherwise totally indefensible. I mean, it's like being angry that a policeman gave you a speeding ticket because he might've only given you a warning if he was in a different mood. Frustrating, perhaps. But that's all that it is or ever can be.

"Everybody who's ever been snubbed because you [sic] were not chic enough or the right class or the right color or whatever — I don't know what it was — you [sic] know that that is very humiliating and that is exactly what happened to me." Ah, me! The terrible burdens of extreme wealth and decadent living compounded of the devil's own pride. Only Oprah could be humiliated by something that happens to most people on a weekly basis. Still, one sees seeds here for the next great equal-opportunity crusade: in the ebb of the horrors of discrimination based on skin colour, behold the gorgon's head of discrimination based on skin thickness.