After witnessing too many Muffys and Duffys exiting beat-up Volvos, wearing Lacoste, and reeking of old money and afternoon G&Ts, Lisa Birnbach wrote The Official Preppy Handbook, a satire on a particular WASP subculture. The problem is that this book-long dig was also a handy field guide for those aspiring to such social stations. Straddling the humor/how-to divide, it spent 38 weeks on the New York Timesbest-seller list in 1980. The pink and green look never went away, although it was marginalized in the days of grunge and hipsterdom. Its again gaining traction behold the headbands in Gossip Girland the sweaters over the shoulders of Vampire Weekend bandmates. But the new wave of prepsters is a different breed entirely, so Birnbach wrote a sequel, True Prep: The New Old World, with graphic designer Chip Kidd. Robert Lanham, author of The Hipster Handbook, quipped, We need a sequel to The Official Preppy Handbook about as much as we need a sequel to Real Men Dont Eat Quiche. But if you thought poking fun at the upper class during a good economy was fun, think of the joy in ribbing its Top-Siders and seersucker while Rome burns. After all, preppyis short for preposterous. Hear from Birnbach when she reads at Books & Books.
Mon., Nov. 29, 8 p.m., 2010