Sure, Olivia Palermo is on the cover of New York magazine. But Isaiah Wilner's hotly anticipated article isn't really about her at all. Nor is it really about Valentine and Olga Rei, the Russian stepsiblings who have finally officially outed themselves as the creators of now-defunct website Socialite Rank, which "wiped out what little dignity New York society had left." (Hilarious!) It's especially not about Lydia Hearst, who had complained to Socialite Rank that she'd been told the article would be about "my career as a model and entrepreneur and success and my handbag"—she is mentioned in the article only as a "nonstop e-mailer" of the site. And it's not about Tinsley Mortimer, and it's not about Fabiola Beracasa. It's not even about unearthing the truth about Olivia's shameful, and possibly fake, letter ("there are four basic theories") to fellow socials, or whether or not Tinsley really elbowed her at that charity fashion show ("the alleged incident"). Turns out, it's all about the mastermind behind Park Avenue Peerage, Socialite Rank's successor-site. He's a University of Illinois freshman named James Kurisunkal. "I live in Urbana, near a farm... I'm like—I'm not even white!" It gets better.
18 year old James has never been to New York, but now, thanks to the strange Palermo-related confluence of events that led to the end of Socialite Rank, he's the proprietor of the only game in town. He's not completely unprepared for the task.
He spent his adolescence reading The Book of Royal Lists. "I'm schooled in the Fields, the Swifts, the Pullmans, the Masons, the Armours, the Ogdens," he says. "And then we have the Pritzkers and Crowns—oh, and I love the Boston Brahmins. I'm obsessed with them." Suddenly, he interrupts himself. "Do I sound psycho? Do I sound like a loser? Like someone who didn't make it? At the core, I'm a researcher. I'm an investigator."
Today on PAP, commenters are responding to James's coming-out post ("It was just less than two weeks ago when I became the lead debutante, with the crown gracefully atop my head. And here I am, fully as James Kurisunkal, minutes away from rolling cornfields in Illinois...") with a mixture of shock, derision, and awe.
"lllinois? WHAT? This is more exciting than I ever thought," says "Mango," while 'UESguy' sniffs, "Um, this kid is obviously a closeted midwesterner (no judgment), slightly twisted in that 'talented mr. ripley' way... i feel dirty and ashamed now." Whether or not these readers are ashamed, it seems likely they'll remain loyal to Kurisankal, our hero. Where else will they be able to discuss which Hearst is the most important?
The Number One Girl [NYM]