Palm Beach has always had a thing for Africa. In the several seasons that I temporarily trespassed in the hallways of the Dodges and Phippses and Pulitzers on my way into or out of some party, I often spied with my own little eye the smart set´s embrace of what even then were decidedly un-P.C. decorative touches: umbrella stands fashioned from real elephants´ feet, display cases of ivory, gigantic crossed tusks surmounting a doorway, tiger-skin carpets, the glassy-eyed, taxidermied heads of oryxes and hartebeests. There was a lightless, smelly little Palm Beach bar back then too, the Kenya Club, always full of late-afternoon lushes, across from the fire station on Australian Avenue, with the requisite campy veldt décor. We don´t have the space here to fully decode the ultrarich´s obsession with a continent that has yielded the world´s greatest cache of precious gems and communicable diseases some fantasy of European mastery mingled with horror of a creeping Other that, given half a chance, would turn your internal organs to mush or impale your head on a spike. But in their yen for boa-skin prints, crocodile handbags, and safari helmets, the upper crust is a lot more transparent than... More >>>