Fran Lebowitz is far too polite. The celebrated actress and essayist has long been considered one of the avant-garde’s most coveted cultural treasures. Such success has allowed her entrée to an exceptionally exclusive world far beyond the comprehension of the hoi polloi. Now, with impish aplomb, she has turned that dark wit on the very Bulgari-bejeweled hands that fed her in the new novel, Exterior Signs of Wealth.
Exterior Signs has been quietly shopped around New York’s preëminent publishing houses of late, but so far all have emphatically declined. Its contents are said to be so profound, so shocking, such a boundless threat to the status quo, that no one is willing to take the risk. And Lebowitz, ever the professional, has simply refused to press the matter.
Yet the book is precisely what America — and the world — needs at this crucial moment. In an age where hardworking citizens subsidize the gauche extravagance of the one percent (and then pay again to watch it fetishized on cable television programs), this is one reality check that could literally wake the world up.
Storming the Barricades
Lebowitz was destined to be a revolutionary from the start. As a young woman, this Menckenian mensch knew the milquetoast milieu of her birth would never satisfy her ambitions. At 20, barely old enough to mix a proper sidecar, she ran away to Manhattan. There she landed a job as Andy Warhol’s stenographer at that infamous den of polymorphous perversity, The Factory.
Fran quickly earned a reputation for impeccable discretion as the guardian of The Factory’s most hallowed secrets. These included an extensive repository of blackmail materiel that Warhol salted into his art sales to push their prices to their exorbitant heights. Ringing up millions on that gilded cash register gave the pop artist’s chain-smoking assistant her first inkling of grifting the international elite.
Later, Ms. Lebowitz claimed two important perches: on the masthead of Vanity Fair and in the judge’s chair on Law & Order. These afforded her an unrivaled view into the archaic traits and conspicuous leisure of the moneyed class. Her dispatches from this period sizzle with a fearless clarity that left many outraged. That bravery caught the eye of Stanley Kubrick, who came to be a dear friend of the subversive author.
Notes From Underground
One of Lebowitz’s most notable projects from this time was the notorious orgy scene she penned for Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. For inspiration, she drew on a life of underground excess, from the Rothschild Illuminati party she attended in France at the age of 22, to the billionaire S&M dungeons of New York’s nouveau riche she frequented at the height of the 90s tech bubble. And yet that’s merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her knowledge of the one percent.
Indeed, Lebowitz is the only living woman granted honorary membership to the Bohemian Grove (at the suggestion of William F. Buckley no less!) and has a standing invitation to the Bilderberg conclave. She is also an habitué of Graydon Carter’s illustrious naturist salon, secreted away in the basement of his waspy Greenwich Village dining club. Among her circle of friends are such boldfaced names as Toni Morrison, Calvin Klein, Martin Scorsese, Paul Shaffer, Melinda Gates, Caroline Kennedy, Barry Diller, Bill Maher, John Waters, Anna Wintour, the Viscount Severn, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Kofi Annan, Angela Merkel, RuPaul, Andre Leon Talley, Peter Beard, Nicki Minaj, Rafael Cruz, George Takei, Lorde and Cher.
Privately, Lebowitz’s dog-eared manuscript has caused much consternation (and a few belly laughs) in the great halls of New World Order power. It is said to describe the utterly nihilistic Weltanschauung of the cultural elite, eviscerating the very possibility of freedom, democracy or even justice at the hands of our ravenous slave masters. Some believe she exposes the truth behind the Federal Reserve, Scientology, Fox News and the student loan crisis. Others hint that she might have included a first-hand account of Illuminati child sacrifice and never-before-seen details of Leonard Nimoy’s death hoax.
If published, Exterior Signs of Wealth could unleash a tidal wave of outrage that far surpasses the Wikileaks imbroglio. It may even inspire Occupy Wall Street-style riots. Clearly, the black hand that rules our planet will never let this happen.
Others, however, are a bit more pessimistic. They note that the writer lacks any valid Twitter history of protest and suspect this all may be some Warholian long con. Could Lebowitz be hoping to elicit a 10-figure payout to embargo her incendiary manuscript, the very sort of bribe that, rumor has it, Truman Capote demanded of Gloria Vanderbilt to keep Answered Prayers off the shelves in 1975?
In a preëmptive attempt to smear her, several major media companies have labeled Ms. Lebowitz an, “overly verbose narcissistic cryptosocialist outlier.” The fact that the author has even explored asylum options has not quelled the whispering campaign against her. She did consider Russia, but was dismayed by Putin’s treatment of Edward Snowden. Costa Rica has made overtures, but their restrictions of cigarette smoking — among the strictest in the world — coupled with the country’s awful humidity, have reportedly made her reluctant.
On behalf of the tired, the poor, the huddling masses yearning to breathe free, the citizens of the world beseech you, Fran Lebowitz, to lift that lamp beside your golden door and let Exterior Signs be published today!