Truman Capote’s Swans Ranked by How Much I Want To Be Insulted by Them

I am very iffy about Ryan Murphy projects for a variety of reasons. But ever since I saw the trailer for Feud: Capote vs. The Swans, I knew I was going to love it. Every week, I have happily queued up Hulu on a Thursday evening after my son goes to bed. I curl up on my couch with my wife, the pets and a snack, and let the show take me back to my hometown in an era I have only read about. I have a fascination with society women and the rich and powerful during the 50s and 60s, mainly because they were the celebrities of their time, the ones who influenced pop culture. These women were the tastemakers; they had the power to make or break an artist.

That ability and power is what drives the action of the show. After Capote wrote his short story, “La Côte Basque 1965,” peeling back the thin veneer shielding his society friends, also lovingly called The Swans from the general public, they waste no time ostracizing him from the upper echelon of New York City’s high society. Capote’s words spoke truths, but these women were vipers. And that’s what I love the most about them. They would never directly insult you; they would simply make a cutting remark about your purse that would have you crying in a corner. Plus, the show casts amazing actresses over 50 in these roles, and that’s what makes each of the characters sexy as hell. I would love to be terrorized by each of them in this order.

Lee Radizwill, played by Calista Flockhart

Calista Flockhart as Lee Radziwill

I have never really been into Calista, but every time she comes on screen as Lee, my palms get sweaty. Mainly because she never has a nice thing to say about anyone. Lee, who is the sister of former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, is a fucking python. She will wrap her venom around you and squeeze and squeeze, and you will beg for more with your last breath.

Joanne Carson, played by Molly Ringwald

Joanne Carson, played by Molly Ringwald in SWANS

Carson, ex-wife of famed host of The Tonight Show Johnny Carson, is portrayed as Capote’s hippy dippy LA friend who introduces him to Mexican food on Thanksgiving. We don’t get as much of her as I’d hope, but there’s something about her that makes me think an insult would tumble out of her mouth dripping in utter pity, which is the exact opposite of Lee’s venom.

Ann Woodward, played by Demi Moore

Ann Woodward, played by Demi Moore

When the show starts, Ann is already being iced out of the circle by Capote, with him always insinuating that she murdered her husband (which she vehemently denies). The night of his grand Masquerade Ball, Woodward and her son attempt to crash the party, and she delivers a monologue so cutting, I wanted a shot of alcohol. I don’t necessarily want something that damaging, but if that was how I was going to die, I wouldn’t hate it.

Slim Keith, played by Diane Lane

Slim Keith, played by Diane Lane

Slim is pretty cutthroat, and not always in a sexy way like Lee. It’s on her command that the other Swans alienate Capote after “La Côte Basque 1965” publishes, and she is determined to punish him forever. She is so direct in her manner of speech that I would like to be her friend, but I don’t want her to cut me down to size. It might actually hurt.

Babe Paley, played by Naomi Watts

Babe Paley, played by Naomi Watts

Babe, the de facto leader of the Swans, and Capote’s very closest friend, is the exact kind of society woman you’d expect her to be. Ice water runs through her veins instead of blood. Her way of insulting you would be to just ignore you, and as an only child and an Aries, the idea of being ignored would make me want to light New York City on fire. No thanks.

C.Z. Guest, played by Chloë Sevigny

C.Z. Guest, played by Chloë Sevigny

C.Z. is just too damn nice to properly insult anyone. She’s the only one who continues to be friends with Capote, ignoring Slim’s instructions. C.Z. spends too much time outside to be mean, and I think an insult from her would feel sad. You would be able to see how much it hurt her to say it, and that isn’t fun for anyone.

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Sa'iyda Shabazz

Sa'iyda is a writer and mom who lives in LA with her partner, son and 3 adorable, albeit very extra animals. She has yet to meet a chocolate chip cookie she doesn't like, spends her free time (lol) reading as many queer romances as she can, and has spent the better part of her life obsessed with late 90s pop culture.

Sa'iyda has written 128 articles for us.

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