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Marianne Paskowski

New Year’s Resolution

December 28, 2006 6:26 PM

Whew, after last night’s holiday blast here, I’m making New Year’s resolutions already, or at least one: To never under any circumstances again engage in cocktail party chatter that always veers to blaming the media for all that ails the world. Should have just walked away, saying, “I think the dog is humping your mink coat.”

But not me. So yep, I stepped right into it again last night when a guest started grousing about how lousy TV news is at informing the American public about, well, everything. Why didn’t I just compliment him, instead, on his garishly patterned shirt, or politely asked him if he had lost weight? Afterall, I was the hostess.

So help me out here and give me your best tips for seizing control of cocktail conversation gone awry. Unfortunately, Amy Sedaris, author of the best selling book, I Like You, a whacked out guide to entertaining, is of little help on this front. Still have two more holiday parties to endure, and hopefully the words “gravitas” or “plutocrats” won’t pop up again.


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Comments (12)

David Eppenstein:

I always find that an N.R.A membership sticker prominently displayed on your front door should place all guests on notice of the bent of the host and hostess. Of course, for the more obtuse, a couple of strategically placed assault weapons adorned with holiday appropriate decorations and a hostess decked out in her newest holiday bandolero should be enough to pacify the situation and the guests. If that isn't enough the dogs are Pit Bulls aren't they?

Deborah McAdams:

Saying something utterly inappropriate usually does the trick.
I remember my quite proper British friend Louise saying she called her urban assault vehicle "my van-gina, because I carry my kiddies around in it."
The next comment was, "who needs a drink?"

Marianne Paskowski:


Oy. First of all, I have gentle Labs that would lead a crook to the cookie jar and let him/her empty out the house. I'm too permissive with the dogs, as you know, and appreciate the advice.

Second, I abhor guns. So that's an obstacle.

Third, now I really realize my mistake. Wardrobe malfunction. Although I look pretty in pink, I should have worn a more control freak outfit, black or red.

We, and thanks for reminding me, actually have a badolero that could be filled with beers to subduel our outspoken guests. I'm glad you wrote. I need to be a little more snarky in '07. No longer want to be known as the "Gracious Marianne," as my right-winger, John, frequent contributor here, calls me, but, instead a pit bull on steroids.

But I guess I'm a reincarnated Lab at heart.

Happy New Year,

P.S. Read the Sedaris book about entertaining, think you can relate.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Deborah,
Loved your comment, don't think I could pull it off, tho. At one point,, I ran out to the kitchen, apologizing, to check on the stuffed mushrooms in the oven, which wasn't even on. But Deb, I'm a dove, and need better lines and excuses to extracate myself from conversations that I cannot stop, and don't want to partake in.

So is it OK to say, "I have the vapors?" Not sure what that means, but I might try that out.

Best '07 to u,


My brother loves to get me involved in a political tete a tete, so I've had practice turning the subject to something else. But, that said, it's easier to slap your brother than a guest at your home. So rather than embarassing your guest, I suggest redirecting the conversation by asking, for example, if anyone's seen the latest Britney Spears photos... or what everyone thinks about "name the latest celebrity sex scandal."

Marianne Paskowski:

You are a Godsend, why didn't I think of that? Thanks for arming me, I'm off to New York for a big family reunion where I will be attacked by 40 people about me being in the media. Is there anything more I should know about Paris Hilton? Or Rosie? or something safe to discuss. Heaven forbid, I should bring up the subject of Iraq and the troups.
Happy New Year,

Jeff Mulligan:

Well, Marianne, instead of blaming the dog for being a dog (who dares to wear mink anymore?), tell the pinheads complaining about "biased media" why the media report things the way they do.

Media people are paid to report what they see. When asked to interpret and analyze what they see, they bring intelligence and experience to the task.

People who think the media are biased, usually blaming them for a left-wing bent, are basically unknowing. They are ignorant about the facts being reported but nonetheless think they know better. They have the discernment skills of a dead gnat. And they unquestioningly believe authority figures who pander to their fears and simultaneously blame reporters for exposing facts those authority figures would rather hide.

Every authority figure bitches about the media, liberals and conservatives alike, when reporters don't play along with their deceptions. True leaders consider the press the price of democracy. Demagogues, incompetents and, yes, plutocrats, know that enough gullible, ill-informed, and stupid people will buy into their "media conspiracy" prattle.

And, as far as I'm concerned, Marianne, the press is too cozy with the powers that be, whoever they are. That's the bias, be it for left- or right-wing influences, that's the real threat to our democracy.

Perhaps your stupidest party guests wouldn't understand that, so you'e right. Why try to disabuse them of the notion?

But even if you beg, I'm not bringing my mink to one of your parties!

Marianne Paskowski:

Oh Jeff,
Where shall I start? First of all, I do think I actually had a limosine liberal at my party last nite who has a mink coat--which she didn't bring-- but she wasn''t the problem. She's hip, she's seen it all. She is s 80 and far wiser than all of us. BTW, I fixed her up with an age appropriate male.

Instead, at my party, I found many liberals who were not realy up on current affairs, but, nonetheless, voiced highly opinated remarks and accused the media of their very own shortcomings. The dialogue was inane.

I apppreciaate your comment back, Jeff, but it's not really going to help gear me up for the next party tomorrow. I hear bananas, BTW, help restore chemical imbalances, which I think I am experiencing.

Happy New Year,


Hi Marianne,
The trouble with you is that you are in a profession that the whole world has strong opinions about. You can't win in the presence of so much expertise. Maybe at the next parties you attend, the people won't all know what you do. Tell them you are a funeral director or a proctologist. My guess is that you will be able take the conversation in any direction you like.
Happy New Year

Dave Sanders:

Have you thought of discussions as of the duality of light? Maybe slapping your brother Tony isn't such a bad idea? The Big Bang and where is your soul is always a party crasher.....After all "don't sweat the small stuff" In one hundred years who is going to care?
As of tonight maybe y9ou now have the execution of Saddam H to discuss...haha
What and the heck am I doing in Southern California on a wonderful night blogging back on a party? haha i guess it means I am getting old and need to get back up North so I can try and bust a move at the New Years party i am going to attend....I think I'll try and unnerve the hostess now that I have some ideas haha
HAppy new Year DWS

Marianne Paskowski:

Got through the last one unscathed,.. The bash for 40 "blended family" types (that's p.c lingo for divorced people and who winds up where from which family eventually during the holiday crunch) went AOK, and I could have stepped in it again,easily because they all know what I do for a living.

Think I lost 2 lbs. playing with a relative's two young sons and attending to the family matriarch's needs for wine and bufett helpings. And that heavens the hostess was savvy and had a Yankee Swap exchange for the group. That engaging party game put conversation on the shelf. All were diverted, trying to wind up with the bottle of Grey Goose. I didn't get it, up I didn't get an earful about media coverage, either.

Happy '07,

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Dave,
Thanks for the suggestion. Will learn more about the Bing Bang Theory in my spare time for the next party, altho I have to say I'm pretty partyed out and it's a relief to be back to work in some respects.

Funny, nobody talked about the Saddam hanging at the last party. I'm not so sure the nets did the right thing in televising it. Why make the guy a hero?

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