Legendary venture capitalist Tom Perkins gladdened all our mornings with an letter to the editor in the Journal predicting a "progressive Kristallnacht" against "the American one percent, namely the 'rich.'" (The inexplicable quotes around that last word are his.)
The op-ed is Godwin's Law meets head-scratching persecution complex, and it is a treasure trove for the psychoanalytically inclined among us. But so is Perkins's 2006 "novel," Sex and the Single Zillionaire. The premise: a wealthy widower named Steven Hudson is asked to be on a reality show where young women—or, as he describes them, "a gaggle of gold-digging bimbos"—compete for his love.
It is fiction, Perkins make sure to stipulate, but it offers us a glimpse into a glorious world of wide pinstripes and brash men, of boats and the cheesy restaurants of New York, a sparkling, fragile world about to be lost in the fires of the progressive Treblinka.
As Alec MacGillis has already noted, Perkins was once married to Danielle Steel, so he was clearly learning from the "best." And you can totally tell.
The "book" opens with Steven Hudson—"the famous boss of Hudson and Partners"—noshing on some eggs benedict prepared by his "live-in chef and household manager." It is an idyllic scene. "The morning sun glinted off the gold-rimmed plates and polished silverware." He looks admiringly over his fiefdom:
The view from his 47th-floor penthouse was as spectacular as ever. Five years ago, he'd closed the big house on Long Island and moved into this sleek, ultra-modern, minimalist, yet somehow very comfortable, glassed and terraced condominium. It had taken five years to hunt down and buy a fortune's worth of contemporary art, paintings and sculptures to furnish the penthouse.
And he is reading—what else?—the Journal.
Oh, were you wondering what Steven looks like? "He was tall, slim and strong, with a movie star's chiseled looks."
And yet, when the letter arrives asking Steven to participate in this reality show it is a shock and Steven demures. But yadda yadda yadda racist aside about a "real New Yorker" cab driver "complete with turban and Punjabi accent," and he agrees. Commence bodice ripping and Steven Hudson proving his own adage: "There's no fool like an old fool."
So many girls want Steven. There's the "lovely and very smart" Lynne, who tells Steven she wants to be the next Mrs. Hudson, though Steven doesn't notice that his dashing Yale-educated son has the hots for her. There's Jessie, a girl whose father "owned a fleet of ready-mix cement trucks and was very successful." Jessie "he could take seriously":
On their third outing she purchased tickets to the marvelous San Francisco ballet in brief residence at Lincoln Center. Somehow, she arranged for Steven to have a glass of champagne with the director, Helgi Tomasson, during the intermission, and afterward they had dinner at Aquavit, Steven's favorite restaurant for fish. The blue ultra-modern Scandinavian decor was as exciting as always.
There's also quite a bit of breast, though often encumbered by overly detailed description of kinky clothing and words like "upon."
The girls' room was illuminated by several wavering candles that cast an unsteady light over a scene entirely new to Steven's experience. Heather was nude upon the bed and Kim, above her, was also nude, but wearing some sort of complicated black leather harness. Through numerous buckles and D-rings, the straps crossed her shoulders, spanned her full breasts, encircled her waist, and passed between her legs to rise again over her firm buttocks to rejoin the other straps at the waist.
Oh, wait. The scene goes on in totally realistic, minimalistic detail and SAT vocabulary!
She held a long, black whip in her right hand. It had a leather handle and numerous strands whirling in the air as she manipulated it over the prone girl on the bed. Heather's body was glistening with perspiration as she moaned in anticipation of the whiplash, which seemed always to be withheld. The wind, the rattle of the windows in the old building, made it hard to hear what the two were saying exactly, but Steven made out, "Hurt me, please, mistress."
Father and son watched in silence. The eroticism between the girls was transfixing...
Throughout, the deft hands of Danielle Steel and a high school writing tutor are everywhere you look. For example, in this scene where Steven is finally alone with Eve, "the delectable young woman." He shows her how to make his favorite pasta and then they move on to dessert, if you know what I mean.
It was natural that they found their way into his bedroom. He turned down the bed and lit a couple of candles, while she withdrew to the bathroom. Shortly, she returned, wearing nothing at all. Steven came forward to kiss her marvelous breasts, but she said, 'My darling, I am so sorry, but it's the wrong time of the month for me. We will have to wait until we're on the yacht.'
He was frustrated. He shyly undressed to join her in bed. He could not recall ever feeling as adolescent, as embarrassed by his erection. She blew out the candle but didn't offer relief.
I'll stop here, but there's a lot more sophomoric, overlarded prose about breasts, restaurant decor, and impressively polished chandeliers should you want to keep reading: The hardback is available on Amazon for $0.01.
How's that for genocide?