Intended, unintended consequence

Some comic relief. So Viennese property developer Richard Lügner had to face his big decision of the year – who to invite to the Opera Ball. He picked Karima el-Mahroug, the woman who kicked off the latest Berlusconi scandals, herself. Hilarity, of a painfully hypocritical Austrian kind, ensued. Apparently he got on better with her than he did with Grace Jones, who stood him up and went to the U4 nightclub at 222 Schönbrunner Straße instead.

(Consider this a rare AFOE gossip column post.)

5 thoughts on “Intended, unintended consequence

  1. In the weeks leading up to the Opera Ball, the Austrian tabloids claimed he asked Bo Derek first, then disinvited her when “Ruby” (Karima’s nickname) came through.

  2. Why is Lügner not banned from the Opernball? He’s vulgar beyond belief. He wouldn’t be invited to any ball in NYC or the Bay Area.

  3. Myles: the answer is that he subsidises it and the Opera itself, generously. Somebody has to, absent either the emperor or the fully developed welfare state of Kreisky’s era. More generally, Vienna has as much of a speciality in kitsch as it does in gentility and his presence is a rare admission of the facts. It’s always worth remembering that Freud didn’t pull his ideas out of his arse – he observed his environment and drew appropriate conclusions.

    I have to say that I strongly approve of his decision. None of the anarchists I knew as a student there could have come up with anything quite as tellingly satirical without even knowing it, and they included some skilled provocateurs. I always thought the traditional riot outside was best seen as part of the show – a hall full of people demonstrating their eliteness really demands a disreputable mob as a benchmark, or the other way round. Were they protesting or validating the whole thing?

  4. More generally, Vienna has as much of a speciality in kitsch as it does in gentility and his presence is a rare admission of the facts.

    Yes I know, but it pains me, because the greatness of Vienna is as its historical standing as a center of civilization, and Lügner makes a mockery of it. The idea of white-tie balls, of which the Opernball is now the most famous, is aesthetic and social refinement; Lügner blows that to smithereens.

  5. Why is everybody saying Lügner? His Name ist Lugner, without the Umlaut; Lügner (notice the dots above the u -> ü) ist der german word for “liar”.

    And, as has been noted above, that is not approbriate. Mr. Lugner manages to convey, if only unintentionally, a lot of truth about the Viennese society.

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