Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Desi freshman rocks the NY social elite; preppy self-selection

So apparently there was some kind of socialite war in New York City which blew up over some website called Socialite Rank, which posted a possibly fake letter from a young upstart socialite who was trying to take the place of the queen socialite. Normally, I wouldn't care one way or another but there's an Asian American at the center.

Enter Park Avenue Peerage, the brainchild of James Kurisunkal, an 18 year old college freshman at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. PAP quickly took SR's place, but as less catty commentary and more chronicles of the rich, beautiful, and fabulously dressed.

But, as is always the case, the one revealing secrets is not an insider at all: He’s an 18-year-old college student who runs the site from his dorm room. “I live in Urbana, near a farm,” he whispers when I call. “Oh, my God! I’m not supposed to reveal anything. I’m like—I’m not even white! Do you know how fucking riotous this would be? I am not the poster child. You would not even believe what I look like.”

Everyone was convinced that it was authored by someone who was very much an industry insider, and it turns out to be this young guy who has never even been to NYC. The richness! James, it's okay to be brown and down. It's even okay for someone who is obsessed with couture to be photographed in the somewhat ironic combo of a hoodie over a button down shirt, with thick geek chic square glasses to boot.

He spent his adolescence reading The Book of Royal Lists. "I'm schooled in the Fields, the Swifts, the Pullmans, the Masons, the Armours, the Ogdens," he says. "And then we have the Pritzkers and Crowns--oh, and I love the Boston Brahmins. I'm obsessed with them." Suddenly, he interrupts himself. "Do I sound psycho? Do I sound like a loser? Like someone who didn't make it? At the core, I'm a researcher. I'm an investigator."

Bored Asian American experts on little-known fields salute you, James, for being our hero and for your rise to fame.

This quirky little story just goes to show that you, too, can make it big through the internets, this series of tubes.

P.S. Although, I also gotta say, perhaps he had some dire self-hatred that he grew up idolizing lots of rich white people who made their money off of poor people and people of color? I guess I'm both proud and disturbed.

P.P.S. At least James seems down to earth and normal, compared to some other highly privileged New York preppies.

At a bar owned by and run for preppies in NYC, you get idiots like this:

Mr. Cleary, handsome if one considers Gary Sinese handsome, prefers meeting women in the street-level restaurant rather than in the noisier basement-level club, which usually starts hopping around 11:30 p.m., although both offer an excellent caliber of women, he said. “You don’t meet girls here you want to hook up with once,” he said. “You meet girls here you want to hook up with multiple times.”

Clementine Crawford, 25, a Princeton graduate, rephrased that sentiment from a female perspective. “Women come here looking for their future husbands.

I guess this is the equivalent of DC's Madison Club and the Glover Park Men's Club. Ways for rich, mostly white people to mingle with only the proper kinds of potential DNA-swappers.

Blech. Yuck. Rinse. Repeat.

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