samedi, juillet 12, 2008

Village people

Caveat emptor-I'm going to try to give an anthropological spin to a subject trash feeders like the National Enquirer and gossip mags like People (as well as the much more respectable ezine Slate) are covering with such zeal: the Peter Cook-Christie Brinkley divorce.

Will I be able to pull it off? Judge for yourself, gentle reader.

The Cook-Brinkley train wreck has been in the papers a lot recently. Much of the coverage has centered on the four-times-married Brinkley's choice to publicly battle it out in the courts.

This clearly didn't work to Peter Cooks advantage.

The middle-aged Hamptons denizen was portrayed as a slimeball who paid for thousands of dollars of porn a month and dated teenagers while married to Brinkley. Not surprisingly, Brinkley got full custody of the kids, with Cook allowed alternate weekends and Wednesday nights.

Today (Saturday) the N Y T website had a story on the whole repulsive battle. But because they are so hoity-toity, they took a different tack. The reporter chatted with local residents, and discovered, amazingly enough, that everyone had an opinion. Although guys had some sympathy for Cook (huh??) and women for Brinkley, women and men polled both felt that her choice to drag Cook through the courts was bad for the couple's thirteen and ten year old kids.

I have recently covered a dispute over a big development plan for my township. One of our large landowners wants to build a spa resort here, with close to 300 English manor style homes. I'm not going to argue the pros and cons here, except to say that while we live in a lovely area, it's an astonishingly audacious idea for a village 40 miles from the city.

But faced with a challenge to local custom, we do the same thing as the villagers in the Hamptons-we gossip. We attempt to develop consensus. We try to come up with a moral judgement. We form factions. We create intrigue and spread rumors.

Effective use of the grapevine may be the the only thing we have in common with the Hamptons right now. But just give us a little time

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