A few days ago, across the street from my office building at Rockefeller Center, the sounds of Caribbean music reached my ears as I made my way into work in the morning. I knew that the Today Show has, for some time now over the last several years, at least, featured mini-concerts. Perhaps Fox News was doing the same thing with its morning show, I speculated—a thought probably planted a few days before, when I saw a bandstand set up with some musicians onstage.
This time, as I drew closer, I noticed the little scene in this photo. It was a veritable cabana party going on. What could be the occasion?
Good ratings? Or something that must be music to the ears of Roger Ailes—a potential megascandal for the Obama administration? The music and the relaxed attire were so festive that I half-expected to see Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and God knows how many other house conservatives come out to do the Limbo Rock. (They might be slightly premature in their expectations: Fifteen years ago, as the Monica Lewinsky situation hit the fan and dreams of impeaching Clinton danced in their heads, they were ready to do the Bimbo Rock. We all know how that turned out.)
Just around the time I was taking in this scene, another one greeted me: a mad hive of people pressing toward the door of the Fox News Building, madly snapping photos of someone hidden by the crowd until that person had slipped behind the door. The last time I had seen such a swarm of shutterbugs snapping away was during a book (???!!!!) appearance by Cindy Crawford at a Barnes and Noble store on Fifth Avenue one Christmas season nearly 20 years ago.
“Who were they shooting?” I asked a couple of bystanders.
Each offered the same initial response: “Oh, some supermodel.”
Some supermodel. It says something about contemporary American culture, I think, that this answer could be so blasé. The term “supermodel,” after all, was originally coined to designate an individually far removed from the normal pack of models in terms of money and level of fame. Over the years, it applied to the likes of Cheryl, Christie, Cindy, Elle, Kathy, Tyra, and Katie. It usually combined several of the following: 1) a Sports Illustrated cover, or multiple ones; 2) appearances in Victoria’s Secret; 3) at least one divorce; 4) extending 15 minutes of fame into a fashion line, talk show, or reality show; or 5) eye-candy appearances on film, with no pretensions toward lasting thespian careers.
We have come quite a distance from those days. “Some supermodel” implies that we’re making so many of these that we simply can’t keep up anymore. America, it seems, has become better at inventing supermodels than at inventing gadgets.
The second of the two onlookers I spoke to offered a name for this supermodel: Miranda. At this, I drew a near-total blank. I could think of only three reasonably well-known figures named Miranda: Miranda Hobbes, the red-headed lawyer friend of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City (a fictional character, be it noted); Miranda Richardson, with a well-deserved reputation as an actress but never, to my knowledge, as any form of model; and Miranda Lambert, who has made her mark on country-music stages rather than catwalks.
I could just imagine the intense disappointment of a friend of mine (and he knows who he is!!!!!) On a prior occasion, he had chastised me, a lifelong Yankee fan, for not knowing that: a) Derek Jeter was dating Jordana Brewster, and b) Ms. Brewster was easy on the eyes. What would he think now, when I not only had failed to come up with a picture of “some supermodel” but couldn’t even summon the last name of the one in question?
This is the story of my life, I’d have to tell him: a minute late and a dollar short.
The next day, idly perusing one of the tabloids without which life in New York is sadly incomplete, I was, at least, able to supply the name of “some supermodel.” I learned that Miranda Kerr was an Australian supermodel and that she had dropped in on “Fox and Friends” the prior day. Evidently, she was promoting her own skincare line.
I still don’t have a clue about anything else this woman has done (although, I suppose, a supermodel is not expected to do anything except recline on a beach somewhere, being snapped away)—but I’m sure my friend will enlighten me some (after scolding me for being too late to snap a picture of the Aussie lassie).