Editor’s Note: The featured image is James Lipton with Bradley Cooper, who is decidedly Ivy in Wedding Crashers and rowed for Georgetown. Which I know is not an Ivy school. But I still think West Point should be added to the Ivy League.
I did not know that James Lipton worked for a year in France as a pimp. It was legal and regulated, important distinctions.
Those questions he asked at the end of Inside The Actor’s Studio though, I loved those. Compiled, they are called the Pivot Questionnaire, used by a French host named Bernard Pivot. It is perhaps the case that Lipton picked up the Pivot questions whilst pimping.
The Ivy-Style Podcast is coming right along, and in structuring the show it occurred that it might be interesting to have my own Pivot Questionnaire for the guests. Here’s my list and my own answers, if you want to fill out your own in the comments that would be (1) really interesting and (2) help me decide if these questions work. Also if you have any other ones that you think would be interesting to sub for one here, by all means say so.
What is your favorite Ivy word?
Degage. That’s a little bit self-serving, because a reader used it to describe my own interpretation of Ivy. The reason it resonates is because it is meant, in this case, to reflect an accurate representation of the classical elements of Ivy Style, but to have the freedom to mess around with them just a little, to suit one’s own personal taste. And yeah, there are arguments about whether or not there are accents over it, etc. For Ivy-Style, there are not.
What is your least favorite Ivy word?
Elite. It’s actually one of my least favorite words, period. Everyone is elite at something, in something. Thus, there is no such thing. It is like being uniquely common.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally about Ivy?
Three things. First, the values. The pursuit of excellence, the value of thought, work ethic, classic aesthetics. Second, the look. For my money, Ivy is the most universally applicable style. It simply works anywhere. In the present, more than ever, ironically. You could be inaugurated as President in the same suit you wore to work, the same shirt you wore with that suit you can untuck and use as a cover at the beach. Third, the classicism of it. I don’t think there is much debate this morning as I write this that a rudder is called for in much that goes on. I am not saying what that rudder should be, in fact I don’t think there IS one rudder that should be. But I like the idea that my outward presentation matches for the most part my inclinations.
What turns you off?
First off, this is the best job I have ever had. I LOVE this job. I love the people, I love the advertisers, I love the challenge. I’ve looked around a lot on the internet (as has everybody) and there are not too many other spots where one’s grammar and spelling gets scrutinized simultaneously with their collar. That said, the thing that turns me off is having to filter comments with algorithms (we don’t do it manually, ever). I tried for the first ten months not to. It’s the internet, I’m the face of something, I get it blah blah blah. Still, there are people who think that negativity turns up the volume on whatever they are trying to really say, and that it somehow moves their pawn two spaces. Everybody makes mistakes (I took a fat photo with G. Bruce Boyer for chrissakes), everybody has parts of their lives that they are less proud of than others. There’s no purchase in highlighting that. And for the love of everything holy, you look so stupid doing it dressed in Ivy. It is like car keys in the hand of a third grader. You simply aren’t ready.
What is your favorite curse word?
One commenter thought when I first started that it would elevate the site not to write curse words, and I learned they were right. So I have to abbreviate. It’s the MF word, but used as a verb. As in “I MF’d that post so bad it hurt my feelings.”
What Ivy sound or noise do you love?
I’m getting into jazz. Mr. Boyer suggested some great artists in his articles here, and I have been working through them. It is hard, though, because in his words they are “best enjoyed in the dark drinking something red” and I am going through a Pinot Grigio phase right now.
What Ivy sound or noise do you hate?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
So, after I got sick, I decided I was going to actually do the two things I really wanted to do most. Write about and create an Ivy brand, and play out my music. I am doing them, and it only brings to the forefront the idea that you should really do what you love. The money does come, and what a difference in quality of life.
What profession would you not like to do?
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“John, you’re late.”