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I don’t expect those watching the red-carpet interviews at the Oscars to be Harvard English majors or anything, but come on.
On Sunday, the one awards show we all have to pretend to care about was held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Actor Hugh Grant — best known for his work in “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Love, Actually,” who also played a small part in last year’s “Glass Onion” — was one of the many celebrities interviewed by individuals of varying intellect.
In Grant’s case, he got Ashley Graham — a model who did not go to Harvard, or indeed any institution of higher learning. This would not usually matter, except for a giant misunderstanding when she asked Grant about his “favorite thing about coming to the Oscars.”
“Well, its fascinating,” said the English-born actor. “It’s — the whole of humanity is here. It’s ‘Vanity Fair.’”
“Oh, it’s all about Vanity Fair,” Graham responded. “That’s where we let loose and have a little bit of fun.”
What Graham was referring to was the Vanity Fair magazine Oscars after-party. What those of us who have read the classic Christian allegory “The Pilgrim’s Progress” know is that John Bunyan’s fictional “Vanity Fair” is a place where every human whim can be indulged.
As the magazine itself notes on its website, “‘Vanity Fair’ originally meant ‘a place or scene of ostentation or empty, idle amusement and frivolity’ — a reference to the decadent fair in John Bunyan’s 1678 book, The Pilgrim’s Progress. By the 19th century, however, author William Makepeace Thackeray made ‘Vanity Fair’ his own, borrowing the term to christen his widely read 1848 satirical novel, which was serialized at the time in Britain’s Punch magazine.”
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