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C. Paul Luongo's Published Columns

Friday, September 08, 2006

Are You a VIP?

Are You a VIP?

Today’s VIPs, are not really.

Ever notice that when you go to a “VIP Party” you hardly recognize anyone?

Who are these people? Where do they come from?

Well, let’s take a look.

Friends of the person giving the party. Friends of the Publicist. Friends of the caterer. Buskers. Shills. Street venders. Friends of friends.

But are they important? Are they truly VIPs?

One local freeloader was widely exposed in the Boston Globe no less because he “crashes parties”. Imagine! A few years ago you could be arrested for that. Now he’s accepted as a celebrity.

Friends of mine are on every opening “VIP List” even though they are not important. In fact, they even admitted to me recently that they go to the ‘burbs for a cheap dinner and never spend a penny in the invited establishments.

Another gentlemen who is retired and living in Boston is at all the parties. Totally unimportant to anyone except himself and his ability to be on lists that offer free food and booze.

A few years ago, a Toronto hotel publicist telephoned to ask why I should continue to be given VIP status, despite the fact that I had been staying at the hotel for some time as a VIP guest. I hung up immediately and stopped staying there.

How do you answer a dumb question like that when they have my Press Kit to indicate that I am president of a Boston PR firm, Author of the book, AMERICA’S BEST 100, a Journalist who has written countless articles ranging from Public Relations to Travel, Restaurants and Social Critiques for varied publications, and have made appearances on TV-Radio Shows in the US and Canada including regular appearances on the NBC-TV Today Show.

My God, what else should I have to do to qualify as a VIP? Go naked with earrings, tattoos, body piercings and green hair? Give me a break.

The club scene is another eyesore. Ever notice that it is the Big Burley Muscled males with big pecs guarding the door, who probably haven’t graduated beyond grammar school, who decide who get in or not? While being paid $9.50 per hour! They know VIP’s? Hardly. What they look for are outrageous demeanor, clothing, a sleeve of tattoos, body piercing (the weirder the better) the new age qualifications for VIP.

Show up in a Brooks Brothers suit and tie and you are relegated to the back of the line.

My, how things have changed. Standards? There are none. It’s all who you know no matter how important or not you happened to be.

Then there are those of us who attend many social, civic and charitable events during the year in Boston and contribute to many worthy causes, and yet their names are rarely listed nor does their photo appear in social columns. This despite the fact that certain “Social Editors” list VIPs in attendance that includes lovers, miscreants and assorted hoit polloi. Even an obnoxious decorator couple. Go figure.

It’s the Golden Rule. He who has the gold (on their bodies and around their neck) rules.

Background? History? Achievement? Doesn’t count. Gone. No one cares.

Used to be that in Boston, background or accomplishment mattered. Not anymore. New York had the title of “everything for sale”. Now it’s universal, except Europe where the only bastion of standards can be found today. So get on a gondola and sail on to a better more qualified “social, VIP climate” that is representative of an educated cultured history and background, which in the old days were the qualifications for VIP status in America.

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