characters of Valley of the Dolls are nonabusers.nVreeland, the woman who setsnthe tone for one of the leading fashionnmagazines, “a friend of the family,” sawn”springtime and freshness” in Edie andndismissed narcotics use as being on parnwith the use of cold cream. It smacks of,nif not criminal, then moral negligence.nEdie was presented not merely as anfashion model in the pages of Vogue,nbut as a role model: dress like Edie; benlike Edie. Edie died from an overdose ofnbarbiturates; Vreeland supped at thenWhite House.nThen there’s Jean Stein, buddy ofnHenry, who is the pal of Andy, whosenfavorite date is Diana. Quite a cabal. Thenbiography Stein has created is dishonest,nfrom the dust jacket to the final page.nStein selected quotes and massagednthem into the shape required for hernceremony. The dust jacket, in tastefulnpastels, shows a drawing of a handsomenpin-up girl with stylishly coiffed blondenhair, smooth skin, jewelry, a white shift,nand black pointed pumps who is recliningnas if to get a suntan. She is presumablynEdie. There is another picture in thenbook of Edie which shows a bedraggled,ngreasy-haired wench who is bare to thenmidriff, with silicone-injected breasts.nThis is Edie the star of Ciaol Manhattan,na film that was re-released thanks to thensuccess of Stein’s book. The idealizednportrait is the one that comes throughnthe pages of the book.nBut no matter which of the twonemerges, there is an image that loomsnimmanent in the text, one that indicatesnthe large scheme in which Warhol,nStein, and the rest play key roles. Edie isnenshrined as a madoima of sorts, an offwhite,ntranscendent being that acts as annunachievable paradigm for certainnothers. Such elevation of a well-bred urchinnto a position of exaltation is, ofncourse, an act that has significant parallelsnwith the pufl5ng-up of a moderatelynadept young man with a crayon. Thenquestion that remains, one that is nevernanswered in Edie because those whonshould answer it don’t acknowledge thenexistence of such a question, is: Why?n121nChronicles of CulturenAs indicated, Edie was a vehicle fornWarhol; as such, she became the objectnof attention of others, like Geldzahler,nVreeland, and Stein. Fashion models arenknown in the trade as “mannequins,”nostensibly because they are manipulatednwith the same disregard as their plasterncounterparts are. They, too, are vehicles.nEdie was a fashion model, but in that rolenshe wasn’t as successful as the beforementionednLauren Hutton or BrookenShields, two females who have beennknown to be controversial beyond thenfashion photographer’s focal range, particularlynShields. Neither, I think, willnever achieve the status of Edie amongstnthe unholy congregation. Should eithernHutton or Shields die of a drug overdose,nthe reaction, inasmuch as there would benone, wouldn’t stretch beyond a touch ofnkindness. But there is no pity for Edie,nnor can there be. By dying she fulfillednher role as demigoddess. A demigoddess,nof course, is one part human, onenpart inferior god. Mythology is full ofntales of gods wishing to be, in onenrespect, like humans, since the lowerncreatures could sate their appetites innways that the gods couldn’t. Edie couldnhave it both ways: she could wallow innthe New York scene with Warhol and thenother gods and goddesses; she couldnwallow in the mud with equal dexterity.nWhen seen from a lofiy mountain top bynthose frustrated by the inhibitions imposednby their tradition, the grimy actsnappear awfully inviting because thosenobservers can’t see the pain and are farnremoved from feeling it.nBut the tme excitement those beingsnfeel about Edie isn’t a vicarious one,nfor—like their Olympian counterparts—nthey had a decisive role in manipulatingnthe actions of their object. They have anstake in Edie. As their art, their photography,ntheir clothing, their writings,nand their lifestyle are good by fiat, so toonis Edie. She, like the rest, is a product ofnthe pantheon. As a demigoddess she wasnnot quite a participant, but she was farnfrom an accessory. That she was a flawedncreation few people can deny. Warhol,nStein, Vreeland, and Geldzahler un­nnndoubtedly know it. But rather thannhiding the flaw or decrying its existence,nthey enshrine it, make it a model. Theynpervert meaning, but as they are the selfappointednones who provide definitions,nas culture is something for which theynprovide the parameters, horror becomesnpleasure. Edie becomes an exemplar.nAnd they need not feel any shame—nwhat they made, they say, is good.nA he entire biography (with the exceptionnof some press clippings, such asnthose described above) consists of quotesnsolicited by Stein from people who knewnEdie, including several family members,nor who knew her associates. Stein andnPlimpton are among the quoted. Itnwould seem that this approach wouldnresult in a most veracious biography:nafter all, the author plays a minor role—nor so it seems. Stein picked the interviewees.nShe selected which she wouldnuse, what form they would take, andnagainst which they would be juxtaposed.nShe notes—in very small type—in thenAfterword:nEvery effort has been made to retainneach individual’s unique conversationalnstyle, excerpting entirenpassages verbatim from the interviewsnwhenever possible. … In somencases, names and places have beennchanged to preserve the anonymitynof certain individuals.nIn other words, Edie is as close to accuracynas a script for the television shownDragnet. No one says “uh,” as theynwould io a verbatim transcript, and thengrammar of even the leading drug-usersnis nothing short of extraordinary. Thenwords attributed to the various peoplenbring to mind “photographs by AndynWarhol.” Stein’s biography is as biasednas one written to order for a politburo,nwhich, in asensc, it is. £fl4’e is the celebrationnof participants in a morallynbankrupt lifestyle who party on the edgenof a precipice. Should a young girl fall offnthe edge to her death, then all the better:ncall her a sacrifice to the Goddess ofnFashion and frolic all the harder. Dn