So Very Vreeland: My Favorite Lines from DV

DV by Diana Vreeland
While reading fashion icon Diana Vreeland’s memoir for the first time in over a decade, I’m happy to say that my love for this bonkers book has been reaffirmed.  Described by the New York Times as a “deceptively frothy meringue of a monologue” upon its publication in June of 1984, the memoir is a distillation of the best bits collected by editors George Plimpton and Christopher Hemphill over their hours of interviews with the Grand Dame of fashion magazines in cafes, salons, taxi cabs, and wherever Vreeland decided to drop her many, many names.  

Here are some of my choicest cuts:

“I loathe nostalgia.  Nostalgia –imagine!  I don’t believe in anything before penicillin.  I’ll tell you what I do believe in.  I believe in back plasters.”
This is literally how the book opens.  Leave it to Vreeland to begin her memoir, by definition a genre dependent upon reflection and affection for the past, with a distaste for nostalgia.  

“I’m big on larders. I could take my bed and put it in a larder and sleep with the cheese and the game and the meat and the good smell of butter and earth.  Oh, our larder used to be so attractive. . . .”
You may not know beans about Diana’s birth or early childhood by page seven, but so what?  By God, you’re well-versed in the woman’s pantry passions!

On Peggy Hopkins Joyce, collector of diamonds and rich husbands:
“Naturally, like everybody who drinks too much champagne, she began to get chins. . . .”

On learning the movements of a short ballet:
“I was also taught The Dying Swan, which is the most extraordinary thing because of the tremor that goes through this creature.  In the most extreme positions one leg goes out, out, out, and then the head comes down, down, down, and the body is moving, quivering, in a death spasm . . .oh, it’s too beautiful!  It’s beauty that’s leaving the world. . . .”

On color:
“Violet is a color I really like. But then I like almost every color.”
“All my life I’ve pursued the perfect red.”
“There’s never been a blue like the blue of the Duke of Windsor’s eyes.”

On southern skies:
“I don’t like southern skies. To me, they’re not . . . enough.”

And finally, without any explanation:
“I never go to bed tired.”

You Have Now Joined the Meeting: Or Ode to a Zoom Call

Hi, everyone.
Hi all!
Hello lovely people.
Is that you?
Yes, it’s me. 
Good to be here. 
Great to be here. 
Is everyone here?
Glad we’re all here. 
I like what you’ve done with the place. 
Is that your kitchen?
I so need to clean up.
Oh, this old thing?
I have that same couch!
Been in the family for ages.
Just got it from Amazon.
Where’s that cat of yours?
I love that cat of yours!
Sorry to hear about that cat of yours. 
Try the button at the bottom.
There’s no button at the bottom.
Hit the button at the bottom.
There’s no button at the bottom!
I think you’re on mute. 
Can you all mute?
Yeah, pretty sure she’s on mute. 
I’m just gonna go ahead.
In these difficult times. 
In this new normal. 
In the last month.
In the days ahead. 
I can see you but I can’t hear you. 
I can hear you but I can’t see you.
Am I supposed to hear you?
We’re having trouble connecting.
He’s having trouble connecting. 
It’s so good we’re connecting.  
How about tomorrow?
I’m fine with tomorrow.
Are we good for tomorrow?
I’m on for tomorrow.
Same time tomorrow?
Same time tomorow.
Same time tomorrow!

Language Arts by Brandon Taper

Language is an ever-changing and elastic phenomenon.  Words that meant one thing at an earlier time may mean something quite different, or even totally opposite, right now.  For example, “awful” used to denote something which commanded awe, but now means something best to avoid.  To describe someone as “dapper” once meant he looked more like Fatty Arbuckle and not, say, Cary Grant.  And if a Victorian man warned you with “Don’t sell me a dog” or  “You need some happy cabbage,” those phrases simply implied he didn’t wish you to lie to him and that you looked like you could use a bit of extra money to spend on yourself.  However, should he say those words to you today, it would behoove you to turn and run away because that man is obviously insane. 

Here are some common phrases that we used as recently as last month followed by their equivalent phrase in the Age of Coronavirus:

  • We used to say: “Want to go to a movie?”
    We now say: “Want to go to the living room?”
  • We used to say: “Time flies when you’re having fun!”
    We now say: “Is it Monday or Thursday?”
  • We used to say: “It’s not you, it’s me.”
    We now say: “Let’s socially distance.”
  • We used to say: “I love what you did with your hair!”
    We now say: “No, seriously.  It’s really not that bad.”
  • We used to say: “I’m not in the mood. . .”
    We now say: “Dr. Fauci said six feet away. . .”
  • We used to say: “I have to run errands. Where’s my jacket?”
    We now say: “I have to go to the bank.  Where’s my mask?”
  • We used to say: “How much do I owe you?”
    We now say: “I’ll give you three rolls of toilet paper.”  
  • We used to say: “Group hug!”
    We now say: “Let’s Zoom!”
  • We used to say: “Gesundheit!”
    We now say: “Getawayfromme!”
  • We used to say: “I know you like your brand of shampoo, but this one was on sale.”
    We now say: “They didn’t have any shampoo, so I got you dish soap.”
  • We used to say: “There’s no place like home.”
    We now say: “Is the DMV open?”