About a week before “Notes on the Death of Culture” was published, Vargas Llosa left his wife of 50 years for Isabel Preysler, a Filipino-born Spanish socialite, model and former beauty queen known as the Pearl of Manila, and as the ex-wife of Julio Iglesias. Hola! magazine carried the “exclusive” story, rife with intimate photographs and quotations (the relationship “is going very well,” according to the novelist). My favorite headline read: “Enrique Iglesias’ Mom Just Broke Up the Marriage of Nobel Winner Mario Vargas Llosa, 79.” Since the scandal broke, his numbers have been up, in English and in Spanish, on the only Amazon that people seem to care about. Culture is how we pass the time between hypocrisies.
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