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Monday, 27 January 2014

Sailing in Style


[Untitled]: photo by Joshua Perez (StrangeGoodness), 14 January 2014

Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?

Thomas Perkins: Letter to The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 24, 2014 4:49 p.m. ET

Regarding your editorial "Censors on Campus" (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich."

From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these "techno geeks" can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a "snob" despite the millions she has spent on our city's homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.

This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent "progressive" radicalism unthinkable now?

Tom Perkins
San Francisco
Mr. Perkins is a founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.

The Wall Street Journal, 24 January 2014

A hyper-wealthy billionaire venture capitalist has faced ridicule after comparing the treatment of super-rich Americans to the Holocaust.

Thomas Perkins, who is thought to be worth around $8bn, made the startling comparison in a letter to The Wall Street Journal in which he wrote of 'parallels' between the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany and what he describes as the "progressive war on the American one percent".

The letter, which was published by the WSJ earlier this week, begins: "Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich."

Mr Perkins was recently in the news after spending $150million building a super yacht called the Maltese Falcon.

Rob Willliams, The Independent, 26 January 2014

Tom will be the first to tell you that he has a big ego. He might have named this boat A Big Ego. You don't build a 300 foot megayacht with masts that are twenty storeys tall, that weighs close to 1400 tons, that cost 130 million dollars, you can't do any of that without a big ego.

David A. Kaplan, Newsweek senior editor and author of Mine's Bigger: Tom Perkins and the Making of the Greatest Sailing Machine Ever Built, interviewed by CNBC for its report Tom Perkins: The Greatest Sailboat Ever -- Maltese Falcon, 6 July 2007

[Untitled]: photo by Joshua Perez (StrangeGoodness), 21 January 2014

Venture capitalist Tom Perkins: photo by Reuters via The Atlantic, 25 January 2014

Google Bus Protest, San Francisco: photo by cjmartin, 9 December 2013

Venture capitalist Thomas Perkins' $150m yacht The Maltese Falcon passes under the Golden Gate Bridge. Photographer's caption: "This is the Maltese Falcon, the biggest privately owned yacht in the world. It is owned by billionaire Tom Perkins. It is 289 feet long and has three 191-foot masts. It had to come into the bay at low tide or else it would not have fit under the bridge. This yacht has 3-deck atrium with a circular staircase with clear glass floors, 5 staterooms, a passenger cabin, as well as a dining room and art studios. Just compare the size of this thing to the normal-sized sailboats that surround it. I can't even imagine.":  photo by Scott Dunham, 27 September 2008

Luxury Yacht For Sale: Lounge of The Maltese Falcon. I know what you're looks more like a mansion lounge and not the living room of a yacht. Bliss: photo by Maxine Simpson (yachtfan), 25 March 2009

Luxury Yacht For Sale: A bedroom in the Maltese Falcon. Almost as big as a house itself -- the epitome of what a yacht should be. And it's for sale!: photo by Maxine Simpson (yachtfan), 25 March 2009

Luxury Yacht For Sale: Yacht Stairs, The Maltese Falcon. It's like being in a night club, not a yacht!: photo by Maxine Simpson (yachtfan), 25 March 2009

Luxury Yacht For Sale: Deck of The Maltese Falcon Yacht. Luxury yacht through and through, what more can I say? Imagine having sun downer cocktails there...: photo by Maxine Simpson (yachtfan), 25 March 2009

Maltese Falcon going Full Tilt in all her glory: photo by Maxine Simpson (yachtfan), 25 March 2009

[Untitled]: photo by Joshua Perez (StrangeGoodness), 30 November 2013

[Untitled]: photo by Joshua Perez (StrangeGoodness), 6 January 2014


TC said...

Tom Perkins: The Greatest Sailboat Ever -- Maltese Falcon (CNBC, 2007)

Tom Perkins' Maltese Falcon sails under the Golden Gate Bridge, 27 September 2008

Dalriada said...

Wasn't the falcon in the movie just a fake? Just so much brass!

ACravan said...

I've spent a jolly 30 minutes or so reading up on the life of Thomas Perkins, where the most memorable thing I learned was the history of Plumpton Place, his Grade II-listed house in East Sussex (and the former residence of Jimmy Page). It's on the market and the realtor's small photographs show that it's extremely beautiful. I tend to be easier than some other people when it comes to considering Letters To The Editor, having had the experience of being excoriated in the past for a couple of my own. I try, as one should, to keep them short and to the point – get in and get out – and I think they serve a purpose for the writer, the interested reader and the publication. There’s a lot to disagree with in Perkins’ letter, including the obviously overwrought comparison to Kristallnacht, but I think he’s basically expressing a concern (which the unconcerned might find clichéd or incorrect) about the corrosive and destructive effects liberal “political correctness” has when it dominates, ridicules in an excessive and juvenile way, and seeks to expunge other kinds of discourse. I don’t read the San Francisco newspapers, but I certainly see it in the New York Times (whose editor describes the news side of the paper's very obviously liberal slant as "cosmopolitan," rather than Democrat-sympathetic) and the Philadelphia Inquirer. The fact that Perkins says kind things about his ex-wife, Danielle Steel, seems laudable to me. The “tweeted” criticism of Perkins by Kleiner Perkins (where he is still included on the website, laudatory section intro, bio and all, in order to ennoble and promote the firm), is laughable and unfortunate. What a bunch of hypocrites. My own past experience with technology venture capitalists at an internet bubble company makes me completely unsympathetic to them as a group (as a lawyer friend of mine says, the parties swimming in the exact center of the powerful money river that drives start-up investment have a strong tendency for personal corruption), but as far as sincerity goes, I’m inclined to credit a politically conservative v.c. with more of it than supposedly more “progressive” ones like John Doerr and Al Gore. It’s unimportant, but according to Wikipedia, the Maltese Falcon was sold in 2009. It’s too bad the Independent didn’t pick up on this, but incomplete research often accompanies “piling on.” I think the picture of the school bus at the top of the post is well chosen and certainly states the contrast with “Sailing In Style” effectively. Curtis

TC said...

Once he'd had the Bridge raised so that he could sail under it, the Captain of Capitalism (as he was dubbed by 60 Minutes) lost interest in the Ugliest Sailboat Ever Bought, and "turned it around", as we inside traders say.

Off, then, on his submarine, to Tonga and Beyond.

But lest anyone worry, the counteroffensive against the Revolting Army of the Progressives has already been underway for some time now.

A few centuries ago, when the Occupy thing was unnecessarily scaring the britches off the Endangered Very Few, I happened to be loitering (with intent to catch the bus) in the vicinity of the "headquarters" of the downtown Occupy encampment, a pathetic little outpost squeezed into a postage stamp size bit of pavement in front of the Bank of America.

A few homeless people and lost wastrels of the night were the only audience on hand when a late model car roared past with a party of drunken college boys "having fun" at the expense of the impoverished and helpless.

"Fuck the Ninety Nine Percent!" they shouted into the unattending night... speaking of brass.

TC said...

Curtis, sorry, hadn't seen yours.

The picture of the school bus on the top as well as the other photos of contemporary modes of transportation in the city of Newark are the work of the great urban street photographer and speaker of truth to Power, Joshua Perez.

The fact that Perkins sold the obscene luxury tub to a Cypriot hedge fund trader in 2009 is another part of this story, but really the boat is not the point, it's the disgusting blind arrogance of the super-rich who have bought San Francisco.

The implication that the poor are a threat to anybody is laughable to anyone who has actually seen poverty in America of late.

"Progressives", as far as I know, are mostly paid by colleges and universities to be that.

There again, no threat, bought situation, talk is cheap.

How brave of him to say kind things about the "number one celebrity" even though, or would it be because, he was married to her for approximately one minute.

ACravan said...

Hi. I just read, as I should have done before, the WSJ piece that Perkins was commenting on and, obviously there are several issues at play here. I expect your description of Perkins' attitudes is exactly correct, but also that he shares these views with his v.c. cohorts of all political stripes. That being said, the original WSJ Censors On Campus piece briefly describes campus phenomena that I'm becoming acutely aware of since college is now exactly on Jane's horizon. It reminds me of fairly frightening things I see going on at Caroline's and my own alma mater just down the road and even at Jane's secondary school. I've even been wondering whether it would be either permissible or wise at this point to play Bob Dylan's If You Gotta Go in mixed company without risking a kangaroo court and summary expulsion. This might sound panicky or excessive, but I recently discussed this with a classmate and friend who's now a Poli Sci professor there (of distinctly "progressive" stripe) and he has assured me that the things the Journal is reporting are indeed occurring on campus. Fortunately, he also told me that he doesn't believe our college has a "rape culture," which has become part of the current campus vernacular that has lately been endorsed by the executive branch of our federal government. Curtis

vanderleun said...

There's a reason "envy" is listed among the seven deadly sins.

Hazen said...

The word for the day—oh hell, for centuries to come—is “disequilibrium.” When things are so egregiously out of balance everything eventually flies apart—(the mind is often the first to go) accompanied, increasingly, by gunfire and explosions. When eighty-five people (that's single individuals) control as much wealth as the bottom fifty percent of the world’s population we are dealing with a cataclysmic imbalance as global as the “political economy” that it feeds on.

TC said...

I suppose the vacancy that overcomes the desperate hunter after blog content every morning is a terrible thing, vanderleun. When I put up this post I may as well have been putting up flypaper; knew you'd be buzzing in promptly.

There must be an eighth sin, the folly that rushes to an inexplicable defense of the indefensible.

Anybody who thinks there is a deep innate selfishness and greed that is the controlling element in human nature may well proclaim the breathtaking elevation of personal comfort to the level of religious experience a perfectly natural if not indeed also patriotic act.

I have never entertained the slightest desire to own a luxury yacht.

TC said...

Catching up, here.

Hazen, I'd agree that the mind is the first to go.

Nothing else can explain that letter to the editor.

Mere hysterical paranoia is not enough.

Here the unavailability of health care and public transportation and food for those in need makes it impossible for a rational person to look at the fact of a single individual owning eight billion dollars as anything but an obscenity.

The dude's nutty roping of the Holocaust into the frame, well, that part of the "story" (what story? American rich guy who has everything now wants more??) is strictly from the twilight zone.

Mose23 said...

How insatiable is this old sod's appetite, that he has to have himself a taste of victimhood too.

As to taste, looking at the pictures of the yacht, it seems it's one thing money can't buy you.

The 99 percent: what chance have we got 'gainst a tie and a crest?

manik sharma said...


I'm not sure if Mr Perkin's ordered the right DVD to educate himself about the verticals and horizontals of then Nazi Germany. His take on the holocaust seems pretty close to what a Jew-hating- porn director would scribble his storyboard with..It would be interesting to know if Mr Perkins would have invited the number-one celebrity of the Nazi era aboard his yacht(considering how pleasant the one-percent are to be around).
Progressive thought should imply for them google techno geeks to have a wider perspective of life,so much so that if one of those buses skids off the bridge tomorrow,I should be able to give more than a fuck.
Not all things beautiful,are important(assuming beauty can also be coded,debugged and executed).
As for the million's spent by Danielle Steel on the 'mentally ill', I see where she missed a spot.

TC said...

The link is certainly apropos, Duncan. Paul Weller's class rage was misunderstood by fools as class envy. A projection.

A very intense early performance of the same tune, followed by a yet intenser out-of-body Ian Curtis rendition of "Transmission" (Trance-Mission), a song that blows to bits everything summoned by the words "venture capital":

Something Else (TV), Manchester 1979: The Jam: Eton Rifles / Joy Division: Transmission

Manik, spot on, every word, especially the reference to that "damned spot".

As the name of Ms. Steel the Number-One Celebrity Author and Philanthropist Who Made San Francisco Famous has now entered the colloquium, perhaps a bit of the romantic backdrop will help.

A New Chapter in Steel Romance: Author to Marry Financier Tom Perkins, by Trish Donnally, Fashion Editor, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 February 1998

The Steel/Perkins union lasted about as long as Mr Perkins' infatuation with the idea of having the biggest yacht in the universe. That is, four years.

Her sales figures are given in that sixteen-year-old piece as c. 380 million copies sold -- or I suppose we ought to say units moved -- worldwide.

But to her credit Ms. Steel hasn't just been sharpening pencils in the interim, thanks. More recent data puts her at 800 million copies sold, thus making her the fourth best-selling author of all time.

Mr Perkins has also tried his hand at romance-novel-writing:

"True Romance

"Danielle Steel talked Tom Perkins, her ex-husband and a multimillionaire Silicon Valley mogul, into writing a steamy novel."

By Pui-Wing Tam and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg Staff Reporters of The Wall Street Journal, 14 January 2006

"Silicon Valley financier Tom Perkins says a British television studio proposed in 2003 that he star in a reality TV show: he would date a string of young women, then marry one of them. He turned the offer down, but thought the idea might make a good novel. He jotted down a 12-page outline and gave it to his ex-wife -- Danielle Steel.

"Ms. Steel, a queen of romance writing, turned the tables. 'I said, '"You have to write this... '

But the sales figures... uh-oh.

A fanciful scenarist developing the story of this couple's several years of basking in the money together might be forgiven for coming up with a scene in which both authors coincidentally receive their royalty checks on the same day.

"Mine's Bigger!!"

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

From the looks of it, Perkins probably spent too much time--was that four years?--perusing Steel to fully appreciate Williams’ “The Yachts”, especially the last three stanzas.

TC said...

Arms with hands grasping seek to clutch at the prows.
Bodies thrown recklessly in the way are cut aside.
It is a sea of faces about them in agony, in despair

until the horror of the race dawns staggering the mind;
the whole sea become an entanglement of watery bodies
lost to the world bearing what they cannot hold. Broken,

beaten, desolate, reaching from the dead to be taken up
they cry out, failing, failing! their cries rising
in waves still as the skillful yachts pass over.

William Carlos Williams: The Yachts (final stanzas)

TC said...

Fred Neil: Dolphins

Tim Buckley covers Dolphins, Whistle Test, May 1974

TC said...

Williams: Let's go on a sea cruise (not)...