Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Fount of tales and gossip

Fifth Avenue. 10:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017. Chilly but sunny, yesterday in New York.

Groping toward Bethlehem or, What hath Weinstein wrought. The Daily Blab, be it the Times, the WashPo, the Post, the Daily Mail and all ships sailing the World Wide Web, are now daily “exposing” the Groper of the Day.

None of this is really news to a LOT OF PEOPLE who’ve been victims, or colleagues who either witnessed or heard passing stories about so-and-so who can’t keep his hands to himself, as Mother would say.

The world of media and entertainment is always fount of tales and gossip (as well as a cesspool, depending on the information). After all stories are its business. This story is so commonplace in that world as well as the whole world out there that there are no doubt a lot of guys having that extra scotch or two at lunch just to settle their anxiety about Who’s Next?  Because that’s what it’s come down to.
This is a world that deals in power as a personal asset. It is not democratic. We all know about this kind of behavior because it’s everywhere no matter who you are or where you live. It’s something we humans trade in, live our lives around; it’s all in the family.

These men who have been named all had that “power” (meager as it might seem in the scheme of things) in common, and no doubt knew it because it invites genuflection. Their socially obtuse behavior, to put it nicely, is always known and accepted as one of those things just we all do with terrible information about people in our lives.

Power’s not a bad thing in conception, but as Lord Acton once wrote a century and a half ago, in a letter to a friend “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…”  Corrupt is such a commonplace word in our vernacular that many of us are naturally inured to it. We don’t talk about it. Just like in families: too unpleasant or too dangerous; stay out of it.

Until. Something like this happens. Ironically the subject has been in the news for decades. Bill and Monica was 20 years ago and frontpage for years. However, it faded away significantly (as I write this), and Mr. Clinton revived the public sentiment about him as a President. Bill Cosby then cornered those headlines in the past few years. However, that was the first time there were multiples complaints surfacing (two and three decades later).

Now with the Weinstein story, it’s a shitstorm (sorry, no other word for it). You can’t help wondering if it’s leading to something decisive. I don’t know what I mean by that except the question now is: where is this going? And who is going there?

I’m not making excuses for the handy-andy’s out there but there are millions of women who can attest to having “experienced” the results of some “handy” and his bad habit. Someday some psychologist will have an explanation for “why” this is so common to be ordinary for many men. But in the meantime, the issue at hand, if you’ll pardon the pun, is Respect and its natural companion: Self-respect.

Respect for one’s fellow beings is often missing in the equation in social, day-to-day relationships not just between men and women but between many men (and not a few women) in business also. The Grope is just one of the many male expressions of the same thing.

I don’t know how far back this goes in history, although the Victorians and their ancestors wore too many layers for a passing fancy. It has been true for every generation since my father’s. Back then it was not talked about, not a word uttered. Now, like everything else, like the ads on the internet, it’s in your face.
Back to Planet Earth. These next couple of weeks will be quieter on the social calendar. It’s when people are preparing to celebrate the holidays, plan their trips, their private parties, and just move into winter. Nevertheless, New York in its philanthropic state, never sleeps.

On Wednesday, November 15th, The Rockefeller University’s President, Dr. Richard P. Lifton,  hosted the 6th annual Celebrating Science Benefit Lecture and Dinner for raising funds to support Rockefeller University programs that advance medical research in children’s health and development. The evening raised more than $2.5 million. 

This year’s speaker was Rockefeller University physician-scientist Dr. Titia de Lange, a world leader in cancer research and recipient of a Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, among many other honors.

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science, Dr. de Lange’s spoke about “When Good Genes Go Bad: Deciphering the Cancer Genome.”  She described her research and the crucial role telomeres play in maintaining the stability of the genome. Through her work on telomeres, she has made discoveries about how the genome changes when a normal cell becomes a tumor cell — findings that are shedding light on the causes of cancer while suggesting potential new strategies for treatment and prevention.

Following the lecture, guests enjoyed dinner and a tribute to the Sohn Conference Foundation for its global effort to inspire philanthropy for scientific research and its exceptional contribution to the treatment and cure of pediatric cancer. The Foundation supports cutting-edge medical research, state-of-the-art technology, and innovative programs to ensure children with cancer survive and thrive.
President Lifton announced during dinner that the Sohn Conference Foundation made a new $500,000 technology grant to Rockefeller University for high-performance computing, to help process and visualize genetic data faster to provide better treatment options for children with cancer.  

Event guests included Anna Chapman and Ron Perelman, Nancy and Henry Kissinger, Katherine Farley and Jerry Speyer, Lindsey Boylan and LeRoy Kim, William E. Ford III, Diane and Andreas Halvorsen, Jennifer Coyne, Lulu C. Wang, Sydney and Stanley Shuman, Judith and Howard Berkowitz, Yue Sai Kan and many more.
Evan Sohn and Richard Lifton.
Katherine Farley and Jerry Speyer. Judy Berkowitz and Titia de Lange.
Alex Denner, Jasmina Denner, Tess Oxenstierna, and David Oxenstierna
Eboni Gates, Lindsey Boylan, and LeRoy Kim.
Alex Shuman, Sydney Shuman, and Stanley Shuman.
Diane and Andreas Halvorsen. Barry and Bobbi Coller.
Amy Falls Rogers, Hartley Rogers, William Ford III, and Michelle Dipp.
Lulu C Wang and Anthony Wang.
Henry Kissinger and Sydney Shuman.
Anna Chapman, Ron Perelman, and Nancy Jarecki.
Charity begins at home. Founded in 1891, East Side House is one of New York City's oldest not-for-profit community service organizations. ESH's reach is staggering, and visitors often use the same word — lifechanging — when describing the impact of seeing East Side House in action. On a recent visit, interior designer Thomas Jayne was impressed by its programs and the strength of their ties to the world of art and design.

Jayne was joined on their respective tours by several members of the Winters Antiques Show staff and volunteers, including the Show’s Co-Chair Lucinda Ballard, a longtime member of East Side House’s Board of Managers. The group visited sites ranging from the early childhood Head Start program at Mott Haven Community Center, where Jayne enthusiastically joined in the students’ dance and movement class, to the Jobs-Plus workforce development program at Mill Brook Community Center, a one-stop career center that helps adults up to age 55 break into the job market.
Thomas Jayne visiting the East Side House Settlement.
A staff of approximately 450 full and part-time teachers, social workers and other experts serve approximately 10,000 residents in 29 different locations annually with a budget in excess of $19 million.

One of ESH’s high profile and glamorous fundraising events is the Winter Antiques Show which is now in its 64th year. Thomas Jayne is a Design Co-chair of the show which takes place the third week in January at the Park Avenue Armory. He is lending his voice to advocate for the use of historic art and antiques in contemporary interiors to highlight the critical work of the East Side House. The show, he noted, which is owned by East Side House, “has raised million in critical funds and helped myriads."

Contact DPC here.