Last night about a dozen of my sister’s friends, family, and I met at a bar called Libations on Manhattan’s sort-of lower east side to surprise my sister for the TV show What Not To Wear. Her roomate, Betsy (yes the same Betsy from those hiking pictures) submitted my sister, Liz, to the show and whaddayaknow, they picked her to makeover. We sat upstairs in the third floor bar, now set up to look like a movie studio, while my sister met with a “potential business partner” (all a sham, of course). We all came down stairs, following the stars of the show, Clinton and Stacy (aren’t those street names in New York?) to surprise Liz. My sister blushed, almost cried, grew excited, and then overwhelmed. We curled around her in “reality” show fashion by instruction. And we “cheesed” (a TV term meaning we faked a “real” scene with a do-over) a few shots because the director needed the same scene from different angles.
Next, all of us shuffled upstairs and we listened to Stacy and Clinton berate my sister about her wardrobe choices while we watched her friends and family dis my sister’s style. I stood in the back the whole time, not wanting to participate in the whole materialistic, narcissistic fanfare. I didn’t arrange a “secret” date with my sister where the cameras could capture her bad taste in clothing, nor did I schedule a private interview with the director where I could attack my sister’s sense of style. But everyone else did. To be honest, I found it quite disgusting that they had $5000 to give away to her to buy clothing at stores which cost $500 for a pair of pants while people are suffering in New Orleans and the deep south. But I laughed when the director told us to “laugh!” and I stared at the screen when he said, “pretend you are watching her on TV.” And my poor sister, I think her feelings were hurt. Stacy and Clinton are harsher than a teeth-cleaning while Kenny-G is playing. But in the long run, the show might help her. My sister’s starting a collectors’ TV channel (Collectors’ Quest), and this might help her with publicity.
Speaking of helping those in need, my friend Ajit George’s father, Abraham George is a philanthropist who spends six months at a time in India helping the poorest of poor. From this CNN article, George says, “We are not going to solve the problem of poverty without addressing social inequality. Our approach is how to empower rural women.” Unfortunately, CNN never listed the actual website for The George Foundation, but you can find it by clicking here. George has also been on the Charlie Rose show, and he has a book out now which talks about the need and ideas for social and economic reform in India. He’s a good man doing good things, and it’s nice to see.