Socialites

David Patrick Columbia is the founder and editor of New York Social Diary, a website that chronicles the lives of the Big Apple’s elite. Since graduating from Colby College in 1962, Columbia has led numerous lives: he's been a stockbroker, an owner of a head shop in upstate New York, a sportswear designer, a freelancer (he wrote a firsthand account of one of Truman Capote's "lost weekends"), and a scriptwriter for a courtroom television show. In 1988, Columbia finally found his calling when he collaborated with Debbie Reynolds on her autobiography. In 1994, Columbia began writing the New York Social Diary for Quest Magazine (a condensed version of the website is still printed in Quest every month). The New York Social Diary website was launched in September, 2000. Columbia has since become something of social fixture himself: he's been the subject of articles and blog posts in New York Magazine, Gawker, and the New York Observer.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: What do you think of the socialite phenomenon?

 

David Patrick Columbia: Well the term “socialite” actually started in the late 1920s, late 1930s. And actually that was a result of, for the first time, younger people going out independently without having the . . . let’s say asserting themselves independently socially. Basically going to nightclubs drinking and partying. And the term “socialite” was just an easy way of saying these are people who could afford to do this without working, or didn’t have to work as much as other people and they had more time on their hands. The word “socialite” comes back to the _________ vernacular in a way that actually, it’s just kind of the same thing. It’s a way of saying these people who seem to have a lot of time on their hands have enough money to support themselves without working.

 

Conducted on: October 29, 2007

 


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