one thing that the khorasan group has allegedly been working on is exploding clothes. now, i feel that this is a marketable concept, a future fad. i love your outfit! i'm hoping to see a lot of exploding clothes on the red carpet at awards shows. at any rate, i just want to reach out to khorasan in case they need help with the ipo.
"I think human consciousness, is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody. Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight - brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal."--Rust Cohle, True Detective
I have no idea why True Detective didn't take every possible or conceivable award at the Emmys...except that the Emmys are pretty irrelevant to everything. But the persona of Rust Cohle will probably follow Matthew McConaghey to his grace and he'll be fine with that. Not unlike the Duke and the Ringo Kid; Eastwood and Dirty Harry. And, he can have some fun with it as well...possible he's the new Eastwood for our times, burned out on bad X and imitation Don Perrignon, trying to maintain a certain level of gravitas despite knowing it's all a stupid game. Or the post-modern John Wayne, doing the "man's gotta do what a man's gotta do" for the world to wonder at.
So, the guy has some standards. Lots of people in entertainment and sports don't. When A-Rod first was a seeming hero for the 21st Century, i.e., before Texas and the contract, the only ad he got in the Seattle market was a series of spots for Yammi Yougurt, which he jumped at. Sets the bar kind of low for class and establishing a brand. McConaghey has probably done others, but he just made a few for Lincoln SUVs and while I'm not sure they'd sell me a Lincoln if I was thinking about a SUV, I'd definitely pay to have him drive me around and talk about stuff...important stuff, like God and Sin and Beauty and smoked brisket and stuff.
Some of the dialogue in the top one ranks with the best cowboy poets and Shakespeare..."I speak bull...1800 pounds and can do whatever he wants...I can respect that...Take the long way...Thanks."On the other hand, it makes me realize something -- we're in a bold new world here that McLuhan saw coming. Soon, all meaning and art will be in the commercials, and the content will be static and Zipadeedodah. But, not just yet, at all times and in all places...but soon.
people like jill filipovic are spearheading a revival of classic second-wave feminism; she's amazingly appealing in a way just by being foursquare where ms. was in '72. but she definitely is writing in a different era; she has to deal now with her own love of fashion, which when you feed it through second-wave feminism just comes out as false consciousness. she takes a traditional line: women have to care about their appearance so much and engage in these consumption patterns and so on because the expectations on women's appearance by the patriarchy are so throrough and extreme; you can't survive an office job without carefully calibrating, etc.
this is a complete misunderstanding of where we are as a culture, i think. the fashion world is an aesthetic coalition of straight women and gay men that has developed autonomously for decades and which surely cannot, at this point, be plausibly regarded as sub-altern. (you have to think about these identities as combinations of privileged and deprivileged elements: gay, but male (and also, er, white); female, but straight (and white, etc.). they are not exactly only oppressed minorities.) we heterosexual guys for the most part have no idea what is happening or why and we don't care. perhaps straight women theorize that we have very fine-grained expectations about their appearance. not by their standards, we don't. so look, let's take the common obsession with shoes. if you think your 60-year-old het male boss at the real estate company is evaluating your shoes every day, or has any idea what the styles or brands or prices may be, or can distinguish a manohla or whatever it is from a target store brand, you're just wrong. 'aren't those boots from last year?' or 'i wonder whether those are knock-offs,' say, are sentences that simply cannot appear in the idiolect of people like me.
maybe straight women just stopped being subordinate to straight guys and started being subordinate to gay guys. if so, i think that was your call, not ours, though perhaps you were sheltering together against the storm of us. on antm or on the pages of vogue or seventeen: who is taking the pictures, designing the clothes, working the images over in photoshop, selecting the models, judging or training the contestants, doing the make-up? you might compare the images there to those in maxim, for example. the images that come from the het-wo/gay-man side are much more relentless, much more processed, and the models are skinnier. what the readers of maxim want is pretty straightforward: pretty girls in lingerie. on the other side is a gigantic fantasy world of images and identities that we just didn't build for you, that we could not possibly have imagined.
it would be worth exploring how far one could go with the speculation that the way the images look has less to do with what straight men want to do than with what gay men want to be. they are hard to explain on any other terms, i believe. that might be the overriding source of the repertoire. this could plausibly be extended way backwards to when fashion designers and people who were dressing movie stars were still at least nominally in the closet. people like camille paglia or david halperin have looked back for the slightly-concealed gay sources of all sorts of arts and culture; what they say is plausible. but, it has got to be plausible for better and worse. finding the impetus in gay men probably gives straight women too little agency in the whole thing (as little as second-wave feminism attributed to them with regard to the hetmale gaze), and whatever the source, the images obviously work very powerfully on many straight women. one thing to consider: gay men are men, and straight women are women. the exercise of patriarchal power is possible, or indeed structurally inevitable, between the two groups in patriarchy, even if the story gets complicated after that. the gaze of a gay man is the gaze of a man.
at any rate, i'll tell you this: straight guys could not possibly have invented this repertoire; it corresponds to nothing we ever knew or envisioned. maybe it wasn't straight men who conveyed the message that you should stop eating and disappear, after all. (really, we never did want you to disappear. we needed your bodies with us, even if we didn't always want to have every piece of the subjectivity.) then think about the inextricably intertwined fantasy and shame that a gay man might have experienced in 1970 or whenever, and think about how images of what gay men wanted to be might really have come out. that is a rather brutal diagnosis. but...is it clearly false? that would need showing in the details of the history.
so first of all, maybe you shouldn't feel bad or wrong or anti-feminist for literally buying into that world. one thing it actually is is a sphere in which oppressed minorities have found power and self-determination (others have found there only prejudice and exclusion, however). but if you do feel funky about it, for god's sake you can't blame us (though we have plenty of actual oppression to answer for); the whole thing is internal to a culture that is closed to folks like us or is explicitly designed to extrude us and that we basically find incomprehensible. the standards of beauty it enforces really have very little to do with anything we ever thought or wanted. take some responsibility.
more info on the prep threat: "he has also refused to be seen in anything other than a red Lacoste sweater since his arrest." only trust guys with black eye makeup and long coats..
potential killer, or just crying for help?
more galliano, for some reason:
The lead judge stressed that the court’s job was not to decide whether someone was racist or anti-Semitic deep down. But she invited the designer to elaborate, if he wished, on a comment he had made about having been discriminated against himself to explain he couldn’t be a bigot. “I was born Juan Carlos Galliano,” he began. His family moved from Gibraltar to south London when he was 6 years old, he said, when he already knew he was gay. He went to a typical English school for boys, he said. “And you can imagine that children can be very cruel.”
putting it mildly, the argument that you yourself have felt the sting of bigotry, and hence can't be a bigot, is obviously fallacious. it would follow from this that there aren't any racist women, or any homophobic or anti-semitic black people, etc. being the victim of discrimination or bullying ought to make you more sympathetic to others in similar straits, but it often does not have that effect.
you know, there's a difference between verbal abuse and assault. drunken yapyap, though no doubt stupid and annoying, ought not to be a crime. i'd arrest him for being done up like that, though. there have to be limits. if the french have banned headscarves, then a fortiori they have banned dior headscarves, as well they should.
now the idea that everything he said was arbitrarily caused by substance abuse and had nothing to do with his actual opinions or identity - repeated everywhere by his defenders - strikes me as unlikely to be true, exactly. there are a lot of things you might say when you're drunk, a profuse panoply of possible prepossessions and prejudices to parade. slurred nonsense is an infinite universe. why this instead of something else? prescription drugs and mojitos don't cause anti-semitism. or if they do, maybe that needs to be on the label.
the fashion world deploys a rhetoric of profound human liberation achieved through extremely expensive clothing and cake makeup: gaga ideology, we might say. (that's why this sort of thing is particularly difficult for the industry to face up to squarely.) there's no doubt whatever that galliano had the courage to be extremely gay (in, we might add, an atmosphere where i imagine it's difficult to be anything else, in which you might actually find closeted straight people); but that doesn't mean that fashion really does set you free or overcome various bigotries.
Her speech, when she was not talking about pouring baby powder over a Prada jacket, or sending an off-color text message to Ms. Wintour, was really quite touching. She spoke of her fans and the transformative power of fashion, saying: “They wake up in the morning, and it’s their leather jacket that makes them feel like they can be anyone. Or it’s that YSL blazer that they saw in the window that makes them feel like they could be president one day.”
slap me silly and call me het, but i find this disturbing. it's your leather jacket that makes you feel like you can be anyone? (a) you can't be anyone (remember last week when you born that way?). and if you could be, would that be good? like say you were a mass of unformed protoplasm, a can of human play-doh. i wonder whether, no matter what she's wearing or not etc, stephani germanotta also feels condemned to be herself. ain't no escape! then again, her two self-help rhetorics: have the courage to be yourself! and you can be anyone! actually are not compatible, even if they are both commencement-speaker cliches. (the third of her self-help strategies - drink heavily all the time - makes the transformative landscape even richer.) (2) a ysl blazer makes you feel like you can be president. but it had better not be a knock-off or a store brand, i guess. it's going to take cash money to feel as though you could be president. even if you still have a good credit card: how worthwhile, i wonder, is it to 'feel like you can be president''? obviously, it's not going to make you president: there's only one at a time, and a seething mass of persons in ysl blazers. and once your blazer takes you to the top, what's your policy going to be? ysl blazers for the poor? do you think if we gave every child a ysl blazer, that would obviate the need for, i don't know, work? how substantially, really, does a good jacket enhance your self-esteem deep inside? and if it actually did, how much would that really help? each excellent blazer is going to make you more insufferable and less capable of self-reflection, though the concept of self-reflection is anachronistic, i know. it only now means gazing at yourself approvingly in the mirror.
look i understand that the appearance/reality distinction is over, though you might want to ask yourself if you've ever looked good (well, for you) and felt bad, or ever successfully deceived anyone, like maybe yourself. no one ever looked more like a president, or had more self-esteem or a better haircut and blazer than john edwards, e.g.
i'm probably not going follow the parents television council's call to ban rihanna's latest video. but i am going to call for banning the make-up/hairstyling/fashion approach of taking a perfectly good-looking girl and turning her into ronald mcdonald (if ronald was a sex kitten). geez is there no place we can stop? obviously the reaction just has to kick in: lady gaga can't keep upping the ante forever. i'm thinking pretty soon we'll be back to michelle phillips and 'the natural look', as well as, like, guitars, drums played by an actual person with a stick, etc. there just has to be a reaction. i mean, glam gave way to punk the first time round etc. really: there's a lot to be said for messy hair, a scrubbed face, and blue jeans. who's cuter?:
i think if you ask yourself what could actually give other people the right to tell you what to wear, you'll see the problem with the state in a nutshell: it is entirely without moral justification. it has no defensible theoretical underpinnings. its overwhelming existence is perfectly proportioned to the lack of any actual reasons justifying that existence. is it because certain outfits violate a social contract? i'm not going to bother killing that again. is it because we are social creatures and the state embodies our collective, organic values? well then you'll be happy to dispense with the coercion, which is a lurid self-refutation of your theory. i'd urge all french men and women who own scarves or bandanas - even naked authoresses - to cover their faces today, to express their shame as well as their civil disobedience.
a few notes on the grammys:
obviously we are in a very gay, second-coming-of-glam era. feel liberated or irritated, as the case may be.
still i'd scrub off the women: miranda lambert's face was invisible behind a make-up mask, e.g. gwyneth paltrow used to be a really interesting looking woman; now she's indistinguishable from faith hill, a wasp kewpie doll.
and surely we've gone as far as we can in the direction of extreme eyelashes. cf aguilera and katy perry. people take drugs now to make their eyelashes grow.
speaking of gay, that 'bieber loves usher' man-boy interracial love thing was rather unedifying. usher supposedly told him, after meeting him in a parking lot, 'if it's meant to be, we will meet again.' and be subject to arrest.
i was tired of usher before he was born.
the initial tribute to aretha was very excellent. aguilera actually threw down something worthy of the queen, but they were all really good.
i actually was grooving on muse. at least it had a touch of rock and was political. sorry!
lady gaga is insufferable, and 'born this way" didn't slay me. but fame monster is a great pop album.
eminem is the best rapper that ever lived, even sober. i hope he stays alive.
at least that whole dylan and young alt.country thing didn't feature prosthetic horns or plexiglass bubble skirts. i didn't see any evidence that dylan is swallowing pills to extend his eyelashes. on the other hand, it didn't sound good either, and i kind of like that in music.
oh you ain't gonna do too much better than jagger doin solomon burke's "somebody to love" (covered first by the stones on one my fave albums ever), the rolling stones, now!
alright i guess that's it! i was too busy texting with my daughter to liveblog.
you know the black-eyed peas' halftime show was amazing, with all those people drenched in led lights and the swirling lasers, a cast of thousands of robo-people and stuff. but looking back on it i just have to say it was excruciatingly tasteless. the music, if any, couldn't have mattered at all no matter what it was, and if 'love' was the logo they etched onto the field in light, it sure looked a lot more like 'money.' will.i.am made some sort of half-assed appeal to obama or something, but it didn't mean anything; he'd have done better to say something about egypt. but tahrir square vs dallas stadium yesterday would have been an exquisite contrast between meaning and meaninglessnes. and it really was meaningless: aesthetically and in every other respect empty. and when you get down to it what the hell was will.i.am wearing? a chrome toupee? and what really is the point of that body-armor thing? it looked like a convention of pudgy armadillos. i actually kind of like the black-eyed peas, but maybe they have no confidence that their own musical or performing abilities can actually keep people watching.
the whole look and sound is very 'post-human': you know, robotic, technological &c. but the post-human is turning out to be all-too-human: at the center of the gargantuan prostheses there's just this flawed little human body furiously working itself like a puppet. all the same glitches are there even more obviously because blown up to giant size: the twinned egomania and self-loathing, the infinite aspirations and the little-bitty actual reality. you know, start with will's little vocoder thing: it's robotic! it's cutting edge! it was ubiquitous in...1975. what fergie has done to make herself sort of seem like a beauty - even vast glowing shoulder-pads - hasn't actually worked. i don't think we should push on to the post-human until we can muster a little more dignity or self-awareness as humans.
as i think about my prejudices and how to rank them, i ask myself: islamophobia or homophobia? it's a very hard choice. to which am i more opposed, the burqa or broadway show tunes? between total fabulousness and suicide vests there is little to choose, really: these are closely related fashion statements. indeed were i the handler of suicide bombers, i'd get isaac mizrahi designing the explosive garments. and of course even through this amazing era of toleration that we've been in, i've fought hard to maintain my misogyny. well really it's been kind of effortless; i actually do know some women, after all. i tolerate all persons of course, though just barely, and only because i have no choice.
if i were the french parliament, i'd take the obvious next step of requiring all women only to wear bikinis. honestly if you think you can get to a good argument that it is legitimate for the government to tell you how to dress, i'd like to hear you formulate it. one question: if that is within the purview of legitimate state power, what is not? go ahead and ban islam, or being of pashtun origin. go in and start redecorating people's houses. start requiring plastic surgery of various kinds; once we all look pretty much the same, integration will be far easier to achieve. obviously in a secular state, religion ought to be against the law. we might be able to reinforce this with compulsory psycho-surgery. obviously, we should ban texts of the sort that suggest that women ought to be veiled; or maybe we ought to ban text altogether.
at any rate, the fact is that this is some people telling other people what to wear: this government is not an abstract object. it's not a deity. and it is obviously not us imposing rules on ourselves, since if these women were imposing rules on themselves, this wouldn't be one of them. and in virtue of what does someone have the right to tell you what to wear (etc)? not only is this an exercise of arbitrary tyrannical power, it is obviously an exercise of arbitrary tyrannical power. the restriction may seem relatively trivial to people who are not affected by it, but any government that claims and exercises such power should be destroyed.
donno about you, but i just can't blog any more healthcare. but can someone explain to me why women like hillary clinton and nancy pelosi wear neon-red pantsuits? on television they literally glow, like they're burning a hole out of the image. but michelle's in howling pink.
i'd like briefly to take up the theme of self-esteem, still central to the popular understanding of psychological health and education, particularly for girls and women. now the notion is important in that self-loathing is a real possibility and is debilitating or literally destructive. but the form it takes in contemporary culture - which let's just say i may have encountered firsthand in let's say a marriage or something - is...impoverished. if self-esteem is conceived as a kind of distinct agency or quantity in your head, and of course a positive thing, then it is a moral catastrophe. or it could be. one might think to oneself that one should be the sort of person whom one can admire; then the need for self-esteem would make you better. however, of course one could be an admirable person and also have "low self-esteem," so people go to work directly on the quantity of self-esteem. then you get a situation like this. i am a good person. (i am!!) so whatever i want, it's what a good person would want, and whatever i do, it's what a good person would do. if i did it, it follows that it was right, because i am a good person. self-criticism is absolutely prohibited as being dangerous to self-esteem. any criticism by others is also false, and ought not to be heard at all, as it puts my self-esteem at risk. my self-esteem, in other words, is purely a priori, not an inference from but an inference to my actions and personality. then, let us say, absolutely anything can be justified on the basis of self-esteem; it becomes pathological.
what i'd say is: try to deserve esteem, whether of yourself or anyone else. then hope that this has the effect of making you feel ok about yourself. it might not. but if your basic commitment is to feeling ok about yourself come what may, you are a pretty disastrous and self-deluded person. but it really is a dilemma, because if you dislike yourself, you're not at least going to be very effective as a good person, and nobody is very good after their suicide. perhaps we should conceive of self-esteem - like perception, for example - as a dialogue with reality. as, for example, ernst gombrich argues in the classic art and illusion, perception of reality would be impossible if you didn't bring to it expectations and schemata. but perception would also be impossible if these expectations and schemata were not corrigible in the face of the world. you have to be permeable, or else you are insane.
self-esteem cannot be an intrinsic property of persons; it is dialogic if it is a decent thing. when you act badly, you have to let this compromise your self-esteem, or you're never going to be any better. this is difficult, to say the least, and one of the very most difficult things is to know, really, whether you are a good person, or how good a person you are. self-reflection is a process of inference from funhouse mirrors. still, the point is to assess yourself as honestly and accurately as possible, not simply to believe of yourself that you are good. the goal has got to be to believe yourself to be exactly as good as you actually are. i actually want to loathe myself, if i am loathsome, and i have my moments. that seems like the likeliest way to get better. even self-loathing, in other words, has a moral function.
maybe we are all blessed children of god. maybe god doesn't make junk, only diamonds. maybe we are all entirely admirable. but that doesn't seem to correspond to our actual experience of ourselves or other people, does it?
of course, the girls/women/self-esteem nexus revolves largely around issues of appearance and attractiveness. here there is a lot of leeway, because standards of attractiveness are notoriously malleable and local. but even here, there's no sense in pursuing the thing at all without some reference to external truth. you could think you're grotesquely fat when you you're skeletally thin. that is a big problem. on the other hand, you could think there's nothing wrong when you're grotesquely fat, on the grounds that that would mess with your self-esteem. that is also a problem, though perhaps less common.
this whole islamic outfit thing is pitiful to begin with and can be solved by the simple directive of letting people wear what they want and what they've got. however it strikes me that this
is actually a really cute getup. and were i a british schoolgirl (oh the dreams of middle aged assmonkeys), i'd buy one and wear it to school, not only as a gesture of solidarity, but as a killer fashion statement.