January 26, 2008

The interpretation of carpeting.

Remember the way Jeffrey Toobin — in "The Nine" — belittled Justice Anthony Kennedy through the interpretation of carpeting?
[Justice Anthony] Kennedy's vanity was generally harmless, almost charming -- sort of like the carpet in his office.

Understatement was the rule for the decor in most justices' chambers. Everyone had a few personal touches -- O'Connor employed a southwestern motif, with Native American blankets and curios; Ginsburg had opera mementos; Stevens had the box score from the World Series game in 1932 when Babe Ruth hit is "called shot" home run against the Chicago Cubs. (Stevens had attended the game as a twelve-year-old boy.) Kennedy, in contrast, installed a plush red carpet, more suited to a theater set than a judge's chambers. Worse (or better, depending on one's perspective), the carpet was festooned with gold stars -- garish touches that made the office a sort of tourist attraction for law clerks and other insiders.
When I read the book, I wrote:
What the hell? So what if Kennedy has proletarian taste in carpet? Does that mean anything about him? And, supposing it does, why would a man who likes thick carpet and bright colors be less suited to make decisions for us than someone with high-class, refined tastes? Who are these asinine clerks who are trying to take the justice down a peg because of his carpet?...

[Toobin is] promoting the theory that Kennedy -- as the next sentence reads -- "tried hard, maybe too hard, to impress"... Kennedy is a ridiculous man, don't you know...
I'm thinking about that now, as I eat breakfast in the elegant restaurant in a beautiful, historic hotel in Austin, Texas and stare at the floor:

DSC07377.JPG

Maybe it's not so much about high and low class taste as it is a matter of Eastern and Western taste. Yes, I know Sacramento (Kennedy's home town) and Austin are far from each other. This hotel reflects the styles of 1886 and the tastes of a cattle baron. Sacramento was a gold-rush town in the 1800s. But some rough, adventurous people got rich in the 19th century. Shouldn't east-coasters like Jeffrey Toobin — he was a New York City preppie — and — I'm thinking — those law clerks — show a little respect for the sweep of American culture?

57 comments:

Kevin said...

Ann! You are in Austin? Any chance of meeting up?

Ann Althouse said...

Austinites, email me at my annalthouse gmail address. We might be able to do a meetup, yes.

Maxine Weiss said...

A Mother who decideds to visit her sons in their 20s shouldn't be banished to a hotel, unless it's this one:

http://www.fourseasons.com/austin/

I've heard they have a fabulous Sunday brunch.

Anyway, the issue is.....is it really that much of an imposition to take Mom in, for the 5 months she's going to be in town?

I'm sure the 20-something sons could hide all their paraphrenalia and what-not, while Mom makes herself at home.

Is Mom really going to cramp their style?

After all, 20 years from now (10 years?) when Mom needs custodial care.....and the sons are having to lift her, and change bed pans.....

Sons might as well get used to it now.

Maxine Weiss said...

Why is everyone in the Althouse family so careful to give each other his/her space?

These odd living arrangements.

I think the Althouse family should all be forced to live together under the same roof:

---Prying into each other's lives
---Digging out the stash from under mattresses.
---Peeping through keyholes
---Evesdropping on conversations
---Spying on each other

Isn't that what normal families do?

Ann Althouse said...

Maxine, the last time I was here I stayed at the 4 Seasons. The Driskill is at least as good, more centrally located (near caf├ęs) and an older, more historic building. It's very glamorous in fact -- and more Texan. Ask some Texans.

somefeller said...

I recognized that was the Driskill before clicking the link. Fine hotel, easily on the par with the Four Seasons if not better because it's a real Texas hotel.

If you have some free time, go do some shopping up and down South Congress and get some lunch at Guero's. Also, there's a good Roy Lichtenstein show up at the Austin Museum of Art right now, if you want a little fix of pop art.

Then, if you have some extra time on your hands, you can take a side trip to Texas's real metropolis - Houston.

Tim said...

"Shouldn't east-coasters like Jeffrey Toobin — he was a New York City preppie — and — I'm thinking — those law clerks — show a little respect for the sweep of American culture?"

Yes, of course they should - the pity of it is, they cannot. I find the east coast and its denizens - even the expatriates on the west coast - insufferably snobbish.

Adding insult to injury, last weekend, when the men of the West in Green and Cheddar failed to defend their home turf against the invading New York Football Jints, us westerners wept for the pain of a Boston/New York Superbowl.

Ugh.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Oh the stars at night
are big and bright
clap, clap, clap, clap
deep in the heart of Texas!

Maxine Weiss said...

Guess the Son:

Which Son is most unhappy with his current living situation?

Which Son took a look around?, surveyed the landscape with furrowed brow....sussed out the environment...

...and came to the conclusion the Austin is not half as Liberal as it tries oh-so-hard to pretend it is.

Which Son encountered rampant hypocracy in a City that tries to carefully cultivate and put forth a certain image to the world, yet behind closed doors is actually more hard-nosed, and Conservative than all the rest of Texas!

Which Son isn't going to be staying in Austin for long ???

nansealinks said...

How nice to know what the justices really think about America justice

Southwest motive::okay let's take this bull by the horns.

Opera:: it's not over till the fat lady sings

Called shot story: sigh! there's a lot of truth to this side of the story, but it's good for nostalogistic sense.

Yellow stars: look how they shine for you, and all the things that you do.

downtownlad said...

It's still tacky. But then again - so are Texans. A perfect match.

Maxine Weiss said...

Althouse, who insists on seeing the good in everything....won't tell you that the bad economy has hit Austin hard.

Apparently, they're having a little trouble keeping up their off-beat, oh-so-eccentric image.

These Sons have had more options than most. They had a choice between residing in New York, Wisconson, Austin, and maybe Florida.

How many kids get their choice of 4different States to reside in?

downtownlad said...

Last time I checked, you could live wherever you want. Unless you're incapacitated like Terry Schiavo. And who said it is limited to U.S. States?

Maxine Weiss said...

Guess the son:

One of the sons is completely dissatisfied with his surroundings, and is a bit of a Fussbudget.

The other son is quite content, and frankly, anywhere he hangs his hat is home to him.

Can you believe that two people that came from the same womb could be so different?

Maxine Weiss said...

Guess the Son:

One of the Sons was an allergy-baby who seemed to be allergic to everything. Sensitive, sensitive, sensitive, fragile and frail.

The Other, was very robust and indestructible as a child.

Fascinating how the former allergy-baby, is now the one with the least adjustment problems.

I guess we outgrow our allergies.

--Until they come back with age.

Uh-oh.

rhhardin said...

Chambers carpeting may be something to consider when the paper again headlines Supreme Court Decision Looms.

Or it may mean it's a slow news day.

madawaskan said...

Heh.

Isn't this along the same lines as the extra bars on Chief Justice Rehnquist's robe?

Man though if we want to talk tacky I always thought the tromp l'eoil border that Hillary papered the Oval Office with was really, really bad.

Somehow "fake" tromp l'oeil in the White House seems so......un-American, yet so Clintonesque.

Speaking of Sacramento and south of that Berkeley I always though that gun club story about Boalt Hall, and Warren was interesting.

Brokered Republican conventions....

ricpic said...

Maxine in meow mode, talons out,
A puss devoid of Voyteck clout.

madawaskan said...

Wait....

I found a picture of it.

It's not in the Oval Office I think it's the Blue Room?

Yuck I loathe the fakeness of this...

Link

Come on democrats defend this border....

Yelch!

tjl said...

downtownlad writes, "It's still tacky. But then again - so are Texans"

There is little in Texas to rival the tackiness of that special NY sense of entitlement. Witness dtl's many posts advertising his (purported) income, apartment, and social life, and comparing them unfavorably with those of certain other commenters.

madawaskan said...

Hmm doesn't sound like Kennedy and Ann's thoughts about Sacramento are too far off.

Can't find pictures of Kennedy's carpet but here is one of the Assembly and Senatein Sacramento-

Assembly Carpet

Senate Carpet

Maxine Weiss said...

Actually, I'm through. Let the Althouse family deal with their own issues by themselves. From now on, I charge for my family counseling services.

Maxine Weiss said...

I'm now completely taken up with trying to unravel the family dynamics of Abel and Jacqueline Klein, and their two children...one of whom thinks he's just really something special.

How does a child get raised to develop that kind of an ego ?

Walter said...

Maxine,

I'm glad that you will be stopping working on the Althouse family, but If you start charging for this service, please skip posting about not making any money in the future.

Dumb Plumber said...

Guess the Son

Who gives a flying f*#k? What does this have to do with the carpeting in the various offices of the Supreme Court Justices???

Seriously, Maxine....get a life.

walter neff said...

Toobin also said that Ruth Bader Ginsberg's carpet didn't match the drapes, and I want to know how he knows that.

JohnAnnArbor said...

I would find it more than creepy to have Maxine the Scientologist examining my personal life the way she examines Ann's, criticizing people she doesn't know. It's disturbing.

Maxine Weiss said...

A Mother sweeps into town, but Sons refuse to put her up at their place....forcing her to seek public lodging.

You don't feel that's worthy of my withering analysis ?

walter neff said...

I don't think this mother either sweeps or vacuums. Or dusts for that matter. She's a career gal. No time for housework

Maxine Weiss said...

Mother knows at least three people with private digs in the City. Yet not a one of these Fellas offers to let her crash with them.

walter neff said...

Maybe she has poor hygiene. College professors are often absent-minded. She might forget to bathe regularly.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Maybe they have messy houses. I do. I won't let ANYONE in except a plumber, and then only if there's an active flood in progress.

Seriously, Maxine. Leave Ann alone. Xenu's calling.

Maxine Weiss said...

She's a Mother for God's sake ! I'm sure she already knows all their private little secrets, and dirty laundry already. No need to put on airs when Mom's around.

If it were me...I'd arrive unannounced, and swoop down on 'em when they least expect it.

Get a look at how they really live !

Maxine Weiss said...

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2006/06/inside-sigma-phi-house.html

If the frat boys were willing to let Ann into their private living quarters......how much worse could Sons' personal abodes be?

And, we all know the scandalous things that went on at that "Inhabited" Sigma Phi frat house.

....Nevermind that one uppity Frat kid who chewed me out in the comments, and suggested I was impugning their good name with my hints of orgies, drunken revelry, incantations & witchcraft.....all of which I'm quite sure the Sigma Phi house engages in.

I love getting a bird's eye view into how others live !

Love,
Maxine

Kurt said...

If Maxine's a Scientologist, isn't giving free family advice "out-exchange"?

walter neff said...

Isn't Maxine a climatologist? She considers AL Gore the mother ship.

Maxine Weiss said...

" Maxine, your imagination is not only overactive, but quite rude. You have no basis to your claims and are completely wrong on all assumptions. The schools at which Sigma Phi is represented are among the top in the nation, UW Madison included. (not to mention Yale and others which Sigma Phi did not feel were impressive enough to found chapters)"---Sigma Phi 6/2006

JohnAnnArbor said...

I love getting a bird's eye view into how others live !

Then watch "Trading Spaces" or something. Cyber-stalking Ann is slimy, especially the way you do it. LRH would approve, I'm sure, but that isn't a recommendation for those of us living in reality.

Maxine Weiss said...

I say what everyone's thinking.

And if Ann's in Austin, then we all want to see photos of the Sons' personal living quarters.

Nobody cares about all this other stuff, Driskill carpets and whatnot...

Modes of living, personal effects, dirty laundry, an unmaid bed----these are the things that people would like to see.

Hiding all of that, is only going to make my vivid and "rude" imagination run even more wild.

Middle Class Guy said...

downtownlad said...
It's still tacky. But then again - so are Texans. A perfect match.



Ah, another elitist slob. One thing about those tacky Texans; they can tack one shot to the heart in a New York minute.

JohnAnnArbor said...

I say what everyone's thinking.

I think I speak for AT LEAST 95% of commenters here: No, you don't.

Kevin said...

John, Amen! Maxine is a creepy stalker.

Maxine Weiss said...

I can honestly say, that in all my years on this planet...I've never ever ever worn a scarf. Never.

I've been in cold climates. Jackets. A big coat. A sweater, sparingly. But never never never have I ever felt the need to reach for a scarf.

I guess I just don't see the purpose, or what exactly a scarf would do for me. I'm not sure what it would provide that just a regular, normal coat doesn't.

walter neff said...

The best way for you to wear a scarf Maxine is as follows:
Stand on a chair or a small foot stool.
Tie one end of the scarf with an overhand knot around your neck.
Tie the other end around a sturdy light fixture.
Then jump.
You'll be glad you did!

Maxine Weiss said...

Oh, I see. One wears a scarf to send someone else a message?

Somewhat clever, I suppose.

JohnAnnArbor said...

There's always the Kevorkian scarf.

Christy said...

I worried about the good-taste-police until one day I woke up and realized I was the good-taste-police. And no longer cared.

Kirk Parker said...

DTL,

If you're going to put Maxine in her place* with such aplomb, what can I do but extend the hand of peace to you? Well said!

-------------------------------------------
*Not that she'll stay there, or even go there, but that's not your fault.
---------------------------------------------



And Maxine, it's not your analysis that's withering...

Middle Class Guy said...

Maxine Weiss said...
How does a child get raised to develop that kind of an ego ?



Look in the mirror!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"I guess I just don't see the purpose, or what exactly a scarf would do for me."

Perhaps you could tie it tightly about your mouth so you would be blessedly quiet.

amba said...

Maxine: apparently it's blog commenters who are prying into each others/their hosts' lives and peeping through keyholes. You're projecting

As for stars on the carpet, what about Rehnquist's Gilbert & Sullivan gold robe stripes? I loved that touch. I thought that it was great that he could bring that kind of whimsy to such a serious job.

Maxine Weiss said...

Has nobody here ever spied on a family member?

The fun of being taken unawares, and being caught, red-handed, in the most embarrassing, and humiliating of circumstances.

I love family life!

JohnAnnArbor said...

The fun of being taken unawares, and being caught, red-handed, in the most embarrassing, and humiliating of circumstances.

More Scientology. The first thing they do when you join the cult is record as many embarrassing confessions as they can, to be used against you later. If you REALLY catch their attention, they'll tail you and monitor you J. Edgar Hoover-style for more dirt.

Maxine shows buy-in, but that won't absolve you of auditing debts....

somefeller said...

"I love family life!"

I don't think that's true. I suspect you don't have much of a family life, and your family members like it that way.

Ralph said...

The Kennedy Center is coated in red carpet and white marble. Can't say I like it, and it's dated, but it isn't tacky.

Chip Ahoy said...

I saw wallpaper like that in a tiny bathroom. They weren't stars, they were imperial chrysanthemums, but they looked like stars. On a dark background they made the walls effectively disappear into infinity and the pattern defined the area as if in the darkness of space. The ceiling was also covered. It was a neat trick that made a small area seem comfortable.

Chip Ahoy said...

I told my friend I was amazed the sidewalks in Reno are carpeted. He goes, "Yeah, I heard of high-tech before, but this is high-tack."