André Leon Talley Really, Really Dislikes Rick SantorumS

"I am really upset," said André Leon Talley. The most recent Republican presidential debate had aired the night before, and the spectacle of moderator Juan Williams being booed did not sit well with the Vogue editor. (Williams proved unpopular with the crowd for challenging, among other things, Newt Gingrich's assertion that poor black children should be put to work as school janitors.) "It was horrible. It's a circus now. They'll say anything," continued Talley. "It's scary that that kind of dialogue can go on in the world...I only wish that the South Carolina primary would hurry up and be over. Even at the worst moment of the Democratic primaries, between President Obama and Mrs. Clinton, there were serious discussions about issues. This is not that."

I had the opportunity to interview Talley at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute reception for "Joaquín Sorolla and the Glory of Spanish Dress," the wonderful show he curated alongside Oscar de la Renta. But Talley, a prolific Tweeter of the news and at the media, was happy to talk politics, too. "I know that the outcome will be positive in November, that the right man will win — and that will be President Obama, again — but I think, just what kind of world do we live in, where civility has gone out the window? What rules is incivility. What they do on the debate stage — I mean, Rick Perry said it was 'over the top' to say it's criminal to urinate on dead corpses. But it is a crime. It's a war crime." You can look it up; it's in Geneva Convention IV.

André Leon Talley Really, Really Dislikes Rick SantorumS

I asked which Republican candidate he liked the least. Talley answered without hesitation. "Rick Santorum. I don't have words for a person like that, who can say the things he says...And I did say this morning that if all the white men in the world were like the white men on this [debate] stage, you wouldn't want to talk to a white man in the U.S.A! But I know that not all white people are like that. Because I have friends who are white, and I've traveled the world. The man who scares me the most is that Rick Santorum. What kind of ego do you have to have to think you can become president of the United States with the kind of extreme right-wing values he has? Like banning contraceptives." Let alone his statements about homosexuality. "'Man on dog,'" quoted Talley, practically spitting the words. "It's all very, very frightening. And offensive. You know what, these men are all such pols. P-O-L-S. And they are ap-pall-ing."

André Leon Talley Really, Really Dislikes Rick SantorumS

Talley said he gets most of his news from the Daily Beast, the New York Times, and MSNBC. "Isn't Rachel Maddow wonderful? She's the smartest thing on T.V. Have you been watching Keith on Current? He's on Current TV now. Oh, and I think Reverend Al Sharpton is very smart, on 'PoliticsNation,' too." But he does not like "Morning Joe" with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Talley sometimes Tweets outraged responses to Scarborough's various calculated offenses towards his co-host, like incessantly talking over her and under-cutting her.

André Leon Talley Really, Really Dislikes Rick SantorumS

"Isn't he awful?" crowed the North Carolina native. "He's annoying. He is such a misogynist. He's such a patronizing, condescending bully." Talley, dressed in a black, floor-length fur cape by Karl Lagerfeld, sounded exasperated by this latest example of incivility. "But she now knows how to keep her cool. She's learned how to take it like ice water and throw it back in his face. Oh, and he's so full of himself. 'And when I was a congressman...' 'Well, I've written books...' And 'I've thought this all along...' You don't want to know someone like that. It's a very depressing dynamic. The New Yorker called it 'appallingly entertaining.'" Talley thought for a moment. "I wonder if they're set up? But I don't think so."

André Leon Talley Really, Really Dislikes Rick SantorumS

"It's difficult to — it's just very difficult now," Talley went on, sounding every bit the anxious political-news junkie. "I know we'll get through this primary season, but I look at T.V. all the time. I'll go home, and I've TiVo'ed Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, so 12 o'clock I'll be up looking at this stuff. I basically live on MSNBC and TCM."

I asked if Talley might suggest a good classic film to take anyone's mind off the political season (because sometimes Xanax gets a little same-ish). His expression softened.

"There's so many. Good Lord, there's so many," he replied. "It should be any film done before 1950, in black and white. Any film with Marlene Dietrich is fantastic. Any film with Mae West is fantastic. Any film with Katharine Hepburn is fantastic. Any film that was done back in the day when Hollywood meant something is fantastic."

I asked what he meant by that. "They had standards. And the quality of the films is extraordinary. The stories are extraordinary. I think today — The Artist I haven't seen, so I'm looking forward to that. But I love things like Marie Antoinette with Norma Shearer. There's a film that I love that I look at constantly: Kind Lady with Ethel Barrymore. It's about a woman who's been set up and imprisoned in her town house, and is being robbed by these awful bandits. But she gets everything O.K. And I love film noir. Film noir is fabulous. Robert Mitchum is fabulous."

Certainly, more fabulous than any Santorum or Gingrich.