Sunday, June 14, 2009
IT is not the Mont Blanc Nicolas Rieussec Steel Chrono watch ($9700.00) that captures my imagination. This foggy and gray Thursday (11 June) in the Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s store it is my chat with a twosome – I’ll call them S. and D. At such a do as this, where GQ magazine, Saks and Mont Blanc form an alliance to sell product in a sleek, slick package to a techno pop soundtrack, one expects rather a lot of posing and peacocking. Chatting about anything of substance can be a buzz kill.
An aside: Not knocking anyone else’s spending habits … If Yours Truly pays almost $10,000 for a watch, it better wash the dishes, walk the dog, cook the food, feed the cat, answer e-mail, pick up the dry cleaning, gimme 50 pushups and have a glass of sparkling wine chilled just so when I return home from a hard day. But that’s just me.
Anywho, a conversation that begins with Queen Noor (above) and her cosmetic interventions quickly moves to weightier topics. D has just arrived from a panel discussion at the New York Public Library about the media's role in shaping perceptions that Muslims and Westerners have of each other. The Queen was a panelist and asserted that Muslim Americans need a “Cosby Show” to change negative perceptions of them as she believes that ‘80s show did for Black Americans (Of course, there are some who would beg to differ.)
The Queen's statement is the catalyst for a conversational stew: religion and racial oppression, ethnic stereotypes, prominent Lebanese Americans, colonialism and its harmful side effects, President Obama, Three-Fifths Compromise, the Chinese role in the building of this country's railroads. And in a surprising and wonderful twist, we play a game of “Who Are You,” guessing each other’s ethnic background (not ommitting any group) as best we can. “We’re all mutts,” D says afterward. “We’re hybrids,” I maintain, which D. and S. cotton to immediately.
After all, hybrids are good for the environment.