Below is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared in RS 400/401 from July 21, 1983. This issue and the rest of the Rolling Stone archives are available via Rolling Stone Plus, Rolling Stone’s premium subscription plan. If you are already a subscriber, you can click here to see the full story. Not a member? Click here to learn more about Rolling Stone Plus.
Judge Carl Harper, citing ”flagrant acts of adultery and other gross marital misconduct,” ordered the thirty-one-year-old Mrs. Pulitzer to move out of the couple’s lakefront home in Palm Beach, where she had maintained custody of the children since the separation.
Judge Harper’s ruling came after an eighteen-day trial in which there had been testimony about cocaine abuse, extramarital affairs, incest, lesbianism and late-night séances. The trial ended in November.
The Decision was so Aggres-sively harsh that even veteran courthouse reporters were shocked. ”I couldn’t believe it,” one said after ward. ”He whipped her like a dog.”
There is a lot of Wreckage in the fast lane these days. Not even the rich feel safe from it, and people are looking for reasons. The smart say they can’t understand it, and the dumb snort cocaine in rich discos and stomp to a feverish beat. Which is heard all over the country, or at least felt. The stomping of the rich is not a noise to be ignored in troubled times. It usually means they are feeling anxious or confused about something, and when the rich feel anxious and confused, they act like wild animals.
That is the situation in Palm Beach these days, and the natives are not happy with it. There is trouble on all fronts. Profits are down, the whole concept of personal privacy has gone up for grabs, and the president might be a fool. That is not the kind of news these people want to hear, or even think about. Municipal bonds and dividend checks are the life blood of this town, and the flow shall not be interrupted for any reason.
Nor shall privacy be breached. The rich have certain rules, and these are two of the big ones: maintain the privacy and the pipeline at all costs — although not necessarily in that order — it depends on the situation, they say; and everything has its price, even women.
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