When the crème de la crème starts to whiff a little bit off

Ideas

When the crème de la crème starts to whiff a little bit off

One UK newspaper called her ‘Trump's bag lady’, but this is the woman who could be US ambassador to SA

Columnist


When suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane announced on Monday that he had been the best commissioner in democratic history, his strategy became obvious: he’s hoping for a job from Donald Trump. Unfortunately, Trump has already filled his quota of South African fantasists.
According to BusinessLive, the next US ambassador to this country could be a certain South African expat named Lana Marks, whose claims of having played at the French Open, either in the 1970s or the 1980s – but “probably the ’80s” – have led some to suggest that her relationship with the truth is as festive as Trump’s.
Certainly, at the time of writing nobody had been able to find any evidence of her international tennis career. However, I would like to give Lana the benefit of the doubt.
Consider the interview in BusinessLive, in which she explains that her home since 1987 – Palm Beach, Florida – is “the most exclusive part of the US …The crème de la crème of the world lives there.”
Now, as we all know, only two types of people use the phrase “crème de la crème” un-ironically to describe the lives of the ultra-rich: copywriters in 1982, and morons.
I don’t believe that Lana is a moron. On the contrary, she has made a career out of designing and selling handbags for up to $25,000, which means she is highly skilled at taking money from morons.
Still, science and Keeping Up With The Kardashians teach us that when you live among the crème de la crème, your mental faculties can become somewhat eroded, leaving you believing, for example, that $25,000 is a reasonable price for a sack in which to carry your tissues.
All of which brings us back to the French Open claim. I think we must consider the possibility that Lana found herself on a tennis court in France, either in the 1970s or 1980s, and some local, kind coach recognised her sad condition (severe exposure to money) and eased her symptoms by convincing her that she had, somehow, qualified for the French Open and that this was it. Perhaps she wondered for a day or two afterwards how it was that she’d played a man at the French Open, and for only a set and a half, and that the only people watching were pigeons. But when you’re crème de la crème you don’t linger long on such questions.
So what, exactly, qualifies Lana to be an ambassador? My guess: she showed up.
In The Fifth Risk, published on Tuesday, Moneyball and The Big Short author Michael Lewis reveals how Trump’s team never expected to win the election and so hadn’t bothered to put together a transition team. On the day of the inauguration – when it all become horribly real – a horde of randomly hired employees surged into the department of agriculture, having “no idea why they were there or what they were meant to do”.
According to Lewis, some of those dispatched by Trump included “a gas company meter reader, a country club cabana attendant … and the owner of a scented candle company. One of the CVs listed the new appointee’s only skill as ‘a pleasant demeanor’.”
By those standards, Lana seems overqualified. After all, she grew up in a white supremacist paradise. She plays tennis in Palm Beach. She’s made a fortune selling flayed crocodiles to the newly and tastelessly rich. What more could Trump want in a representative of his administration?

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