Gatsby, Ralph, and rescuing the rich

Finally, something about literature AND politics. I don't usually read the "Styles" section in The NYT, but today I found a real treasure: a hilarious and highly literate story by Cathy Horyn on a Prince of Superficiality: Chasing the Threads in the Life of Ralph Lauren. Horyn was amused to find that our hero likes to compare himself to the title character of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. (Correction to an earlier note: Ralph designed the clothes for the male leads in the 1974 movie; thanks to Kate Coe for pointing out my error; due to too-hasty reading, I thought he'd merely seen the movie.) Horyn comments that the two may have much more in common than Lauren imagines. "I think it's more useful to look at Mr. Lauren," she writes, "and the source of our fascination with him, in a literary way. And the obvious parallel is Fitzgerald's bootlegger, Gatsby. Both came from nowhere; both prize the trappings of old money but have made theirs in new ways,..." etc. But read the article, and think back on Fitzgerald's (not Hollywood's) Gatsby as you ponder the Bush administration's new tax plans for the rich.

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