Under the Black Flag

New York State of Mind

Some 20 years ago, my friend P.J. O’Rourke came to dinner at my New York house with his new bride.  She was beautiful, reserved, intelligent, and after dinner called me a male chauvinist, racist anti­semite and left the house in a fury.  P.J. apologized and followed his bride out.  To this day I haven’t figured it out, nor has P.J.  Mind you, they didn’t stay married long enough for a serious inquiry to take place, and P.J. is now very happily married to Tina and has a large brood as proof of his happiness.  The first Madame O’Rourke was the granddaughter of the beautiful black singer Lena Horne.  Her father, the movie director Sidney Lumet, recently passed away.  Although I knew that Lena Horne was her grandmother, I was not aware of her father’s extreme liberal credentials, as of course I should have been, having sat through Dog Day Afternoon, the apotheosis of a queer bank robber who needs the money for his boyfriend’s sex change.

Looking back, I realize that I might have stated certain platitudes, such as black-on-black crime being publicized more than black-on-white crime, or that many white-collar criminals on Wall Street happen to be Jewish.  One must remember that, back then, liberalism among the elite cosmopolites such as the lady in question did not take kindly to certain truths.  Intolerance with conservative thoughts was the order of the day.  Alcohol,...

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