by RIP RENSE
THE IMAGE DIRECTOR
(Feb. 28, 2007)
Okay, I was trying not to write about this, but
somebody has to do it. To ignore it would be like ignoring an
antibiotic-resistant staph infection. On your ass.
Got your attention?
Writing about this will
not change a damn thing about anything. It will serve no purpose whatsoever,
other than the unimportant function of enabling like-minded people to nod
their heads---or, more likely, shake their heads---in sad agreement. And it
will further cement my reputation as an irrelevant 20th century relic.
Now, understand that I do
try to be charitable, I really do. I try to be forgiving of foibles and
ignorance. I try to allow for people who have no consciousness about
themselves beyond immediate gratification. Especially young ones. They
haven’t had much chance to do any serious thinking, after all, except about
tattoos, and the smothering media/pop culture juggernaut does not exactly
prompt contemplation, self-examination, let alone compassion.
But. . .
If Oscar Batori were
run over by a truck. I mean flattened like roadkill. And left to dry in
the street like a pressed frog cadaver. Or if some nice young gangsta
decided to waste the white boy for his wallet. Or if he fell from the top of
a thirty-story building. Tied to a refrigerator. Or if he were kidnapped,
flown to Africa, lashed naked to a tree, coated in sugar, and left for Army
extra-terrestrial mantises took Oscar Batori to the planet Noogoodoogoo, and
enslaved him to clean their toilets for the rest of his life. Giving him
only worms to eat.
It would not bother me.
Oscar Batori is in the
running for the most worthless human alive, and believe me, that competition
This is not to say that
he is wholly unsympathetic. No more than a black widow or a puff adder or a
virus. I mean, every creature is more or less a victim of circumstance, a
prisoner of urge and function.
But Oscar is new type
in my experience. He fills a niche I didn’t know existed, a niche lined
with a type of self-love and artifice and fecklessness so profound as to be
unknowable, except to his ilk. Morality? Ethics? Are those bands? He
brings to mind David Letterman’s superb descriptor for recent generations:
“feral.” I would add: “ferret.” Although ferrets have the excuse of being
I am just at a loss for
words here. Suffice to say that Oscar’s quiddity is the epitome of nugatory
trumpery. I just don’t know how else to say it.
Oscar is an “image
director” of a New York nightclub. This is possibly a more substantial job
than, say, the guy who gets up in front of movie audiences and says, "My
name is John and welcome to Landmark Theaters, today's movie is. . ." But it
definitely makes up in mystique what it lacks in substance. This is 21st
century success, baby---oh, so 21st century. Speaking of which, The Os-Man
is just 21 years old.
Not bad for "earning"
$700 per night.
$700 a night! Yow! Well, what
does this "image director" do? Simply this: he causes young
stick-of-gum-thin models to hang out at a particular nightclub, in this case
bearing the trust-fund babyish name, Kiss & Fly. That's it. Doesn't even
throw out drunks, or clean up puke. Os just stocks the eye-candy, stokes the
buzz. Oh, okay, and he also has to kiss-and-fly to Milan, Paris,
London, and the Cannes Film Festival to, as the club owner puts it, “create
relationships with agents, designers, model agencies and with the celebs.”
Sign me up. I've never
even been to Pittsburgh.
Wowee Zowee. A
relationship creator. Now that does take skill, dealing with all those agents,
designers, models and celebs in Milan, etc. I mean, they're the crème de la
crème of bitchiness, pose, vapidity, venality. You have to have just the
right au courant youthful insouciance, just the correct infusion of
cool 21-year-old assholery and thousand-dollar Prada sports jackets (Os just
bought one.) Only spoiled, beautiful children suckled at the dugs of the
most ephemeral cultural crapola need apply.
J.D. Salinger's Holden
Caulfield, who couldn't stand good, old-fashioned, pipe-smoking Ivy League
"phonies," could never have imagined the likes of an Os. His life is really
a sort of perfect tissue sample in the soon-to-be corpse of all sane,
civilized culture. CSI Human Race. Cause of death, doctor? "Relationship
Os, the "relationship creator," at work.
I know what you're really thinking: how can I become an "image
director" at a club, too? Hard to say. How it happened for Os was that
he got to be seen in the club-heavy "meatpacking district" (heh) of NYC,
with all manner of skeletal models on his arms, and the Kiss & Fly owner
simply opted to exploit the young man's, um, magnetism. Os's nightly “work?”
To lure eight to ten models from various “catwalks," “runways,” and (probably)
shooting galleries into Kissing and Flying. That's it. He’s a mackdaddy.
Oh, shame on me! How
helplessly I sink into cynicism! Just what is so wrong with a guy earning a
living like Os? And with girls earning a living by wearing clothes that they
don’t own, slinking along platforms with a look that conveys nothing if not
the ability to bite off testicles and spit them out? Not everyone can do
these things. I can’t, and fat pimply people can’t, and neither can
quadraplegics or African children gone blind from starvation. Takes someone
And what’s really
wrong with Os getting ahead in this anti-depressant drunk world on his
natural, um, charm? Christ, it beats the hell out of work, doesn’t it? And
what kid in his or her right mind wants to work anymore? Remember that “what
do you want to be when you grow up?” poll taken at American high schools a
few years ago? The one that came up with “icon” as the top goal? Mommy, I
wanna be uh idol!
I mean, Os Baby must
embody the wet-dream life of 98 percent of all persons under 30! Imagine: he
day-sleeps, and spends the rest of his invulnerably youthful time buying
clothes, drinking martinis, dancing, eating blood-rare filet mignon,
schmoozing with models and celebs, and riding jets all over the world to
first-class hotels. Where he does it all over again. For pay!
Magellan never would have
sailed across a bay had he known it would lead to this.
But Os doesn't know from
Magellan. He proudly trumpets his lifestyle---right in his very own
New York Times profile(!) Yes, the NYT devoted about 30 inches and a photo
to this accomplished young American!
Read it! The headline dresses up his nonexistence with the chi-chi
title, “Model Whisperer.” As Merv Griffin would say, "Oooooooooo. . ."
“Look at me,"
proclaims Os, "a couple years ago living in a model apartment, eating ramen
for dinner. . .Look at me now.”
Yes, I’m looking. I see
the H.P. Lovecraft-weird 21st century ruination of a child,
six-feet-and-three inches of self-love, emptiness, ugliness. But ho-hum, I’m
a schlumpy middle-aged Internet columnist who spent his youth working his
ass off as a reporter for plenty of no money, so who’s the chump?
Well, folks, there isn’t
really much more hatred that I can manage to spew here, at least not
entertainingly, so let's just take a look at Os’s rather astounding resume,
as a kicker:
Somehow, he was born
to a Hungarian refugee alky (his descriptioin) and English mother, owns
an American passport, did a little time at the City of London School for
Boys (instead of studying, he went out “every night until 5 or 6 in the
morning" to various clubs), started out as a male model making $75 a day
(found it boring), drinks copious amounts of double espressos, white wine,
Vodka, wears (among other things) Yohji Yamamoto sneakers, Paul Smith
striped socks, corduroy pants, gray cashmere hoodie (from Marc Jacobs,
whoever the cat crap that is), and blue Gucci overcoat (which he boasts cost
$1500.) He met his girlfriend, a model (surprise!) at the H&M on 5th Avenue.
Recipe for an O.D. (delibertely
or otherwise) by 30. Either that, or becoming a billionaire (take your pick)
airline/media/equity/real estate mogul by 30. That's the beauty of
Funny. When I was 21, I
was washing boats in Marina del Rey for five bucks an hour, and driving a
’65 Oldsmobile. I wore twenty-dollar Jeans West jeans, $10 shirts, Converse
sneakers. I didn’t know any models (or any girls, really), and enjoyed
getting drunk occasionally on Olympia or Almaden. I had gone to a couple of
discos, not to dance, but to stare in misanthropic horror. I was trying to
figure out how to get a job on a newspaper somewhere. I owned nothing from
Gucci except the memory of an ex-stepmother fawning over the name.
No wonder I never became
a model whisperer.
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