Friday, December 18, 2009

Shameless Post About Models! Part One

First of all, poor Brittany Murphy! There was a time when I just resented the blondification of Hollywood starlets and Britney Spears and all that, but now I can't help but think how all these young women and more are just routinely victimized by the Hollywood system- especially those who were child stars who must feel that they have to adapt or die. Anyway, I always liked the first version of Brittany Murphy, and the whole thing makes me depressed, particularly when thought about on a large scope....

But anyway, here's part one of a post about models I'm too lazy to finish!

If you read my blog, you know that I don't really post photos of models or fashion editorials and the like, because I think we get enough of these images and they rarely inspire me/are ultimately meant to make you feel bad about yourself and distance you from the high falutin- world of fashion. However, I have been reading/looking at Vogue since I was in like fourth grade, and, as a result, I have always been pretty well-versed in the Vogue version of the high fashion world. And, over the years, I have come to appreciate certain models.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the kind of model I hate the most is the type who is just an inoffensively pretty, tall and skinny blonde, because models should at the least be an opportunity to celebrate unique, strange, and commanding beauty. Obviously fashion models conform to sexist standards set by the fashion industry, but sometimes they simultaneously do make you question what is "pretty." So obviously models are bad and are supposed to make you feel bad about yourself and blah blah, but it doesn't mean model trends and which model is a babe isn't worth examining, right?

When I was a fourth grader studying Vogue, the reign of the sort of curvaceous and stompy early 90's supermodel (Cindy, Naomi, Christy, blahblahblah) was giving way to women who were less typically pretty type.

As the photo below illustrates, late 80's/early 90's models were of the mega-babe variety, not as much the pubescent waif. Look at Cindy Crawford (second from right)! She wouldn't be able to model today for sure, but she was definitely a hottie. Same goes for Stephanie Seymour (far right) and the always outrageous Naomi Campbell, pictured further below. Also, check out the Clueless style outfits!

They all look like Gina Gershon in Showgirls! Such great bitchface!

These models are the kind that a drag queen might emulate, as opposed to the models of today, who are usually younger and look it.

Perhaps I rate whether a drag queen would like something a little too much, but come on! Look at Naomi Campbell here! These ladies were women, not girls.

Anyway, onto some more models... in another post because this one is already pretty long...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mary's Musings: I Liked It, I Am Sick of Looking at this Bitch, and More!

Issue One: Here is a dress Jezebel hated on as "one of the worst of the year." Whatever! I think this dress is cool. It looks kind of like your everyday cocktail dress crossed with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. It's special and weird!

This, on the other hand, they loooved. It was one of the "best of the year." This is like the kind of dress you might look cool in when you are seventy years old and you're a grand dame type with an elegant and stately style, but if you're 23 or what this Olsen is (God, remember the Olsens??? Everyone was so obsessed with them!) you are just boring and safe as hell. Much like Anne Hathaway in this dress:
What a bunch of boring crap! I'm so sick of rewarding celebrities for wearing a $12,000 gown their stylist picked out for them. Except for the Rhianna dress in there, nothing considered "great" is risky, inventive, unique, or strays from the typical model. I love how celebrities won't even wear necklaces or jewelery half the time because they are so intent on looking classy.

Issue Two:
What the fuck is up with these new cell phone commercials starring an unforgivably bloated Luke Wilson? Who's like, "Well, if fat 'n frumpy Luke Wilson wants me to change my coverage, I will!" I remember when I was a child, and I saw stuff on TV and craved it intensely (once I made my mom buy me this red sugar goo that you were supposed to squeeze onto your oatmeal to make fun shapes- needless to say the goo just kind of smeared and melted everywhere, and I think I learned a valuable lesson.) Anyway, I would love to visit an alternate reality when female stars show up looking fat and disheveled and shilling something on a TV commercials and no one bats an eye.

Issue Three:
Hey, guess what? You suck, Tim Burton. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sucked, Sweeney Todd sucked, Big Fish sucked (I watched this in college with my new-at-the-time roommates and they all cried at the end and I was like "WTF?") , Corpse Bride looked like it sucked, and your new obsession with CGI really sucks, because at least you used to be all about this unique, hand crafted, stylized aesthetic and this preview looks like a video game. Also, much of this aesthetic has become totally cliche- ie, of all the stupid Nightmare Before Christmas plastic crap made for pez Hot Topic teens. Also, Alice is a little girl, not sexy babe with her dress half torn off. I do like Beatlejuice, but that was a long time ago!

Issue Four:
Also, you suck, Michael Jackson. I am so sick of hearing Michael Jackson songs in every place and context. It was bad enough when it was just a hipster party staple, but now you can't escape it anywhere. Of course, there are only like five songs anybody will even play, and no one ever even plays, like, Man in the Mirror. Michael Jackson obviously had a huge cultural impact and is an icon and blah blah blah, but musically those songs aren't anything special. And everyone is so intent on claiming Michael Jackson as their own, like playing Billie Jean at a bar for the five hundredth time is really going to blow everyone away.

Issue Five:
You know what else sucks? "Remixed" old Christmas songs that are like Bing Crosby's voice going "Chestnuts roasting- roasting- roasting- beep bloop boop oonz oonz oonz." It's such a travesty! I hate the modern assumption that no one has enough of an attention span to listen to something slow and complete that doesn't jump or cut into something after five seconds.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Joan Jett Appreciation Post

Friends, even after all these years, whenever I see a magazine subtitle that says "Ashlee Simpson-Wentz reveals how she stays lean after Baby #2!!!" I still cringe a little bit. Simone, Gaby- imagine if, when watching The Ashlee Show in 2004, that could have flashed before us as a vision of the future? So dystopian!!!

Also, not to blame the world's problems on Sarah McLaughlin, but don't you think if the majority of female musicians in history had been Joan Jett, many of our problems would have been solved by now?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Famous Artists Who SUCK: the RiTS Manifesto*

"We know that 'Great Art' is so great because male authorities have told us so, and we can't claim otherwise, and only those with exquisite sensitivities far superior to ours can perceive and appreciate the greatness, the proof of their superior sensitivity being that they appreciate the slop that they appreciate."

"The veneration of 'Art' and 'Culture'-- besides leading many women into boring, passive activity that distracts from more important and rewarding activities, and cultivating active abilities, leads to the constant intrusion on our sensibilities of pompous dissertations on the deep beauty of this and that turd." -Valerie Solanis, The S.C.U.M Manifesto (particular quotes courtesy of Bitch magazine.)

When it comes to anything "established"-- be it art, music, fashion, literature, politics, history, movies, TV, or whatever-- there is also an established notion that there are certain works or people or components that are Important and Great; the greatness of which, we, the populace, are not to question.

One of the greatest, most freeing realizations I've had on my life (and a big part of why I consider myself a feminist- well, one of the big parts) is that much of what we are taught is important is STUPID--STUPID, and OVERRATED. In history class, we are made to memorize facts about wars and kings we forget immediately, at the complete expense of ever learning anything about real people and how they lived, in English we are made to find the great meaning behind "great works" at the expense of any critique or creative output of our own, in everyday life we are not to impugn upon the greatness of Led Zeppelin or the genius of Roman Polanski or the "classiness" of Audrey Hepburn/Natalie Portman at the Oscars. (Not that fashion would ever be elevated to the heights of, say, Ernest Hemingway, but certainly fashion has its own hierarchies and canons.)

What's crazy is that, even in our reality TV-addled times, saying these things aloud still blows people's minds. Throughout my high school years, I had a sneaking suspicion that a good many of the Great things we were taught really weren't so great, but actually articulating these ideas was difficult, not only because I didn't quite know what I meant, but because saying stuff like "Picasso was a hack," or "Kirkegaard is boring the shit out of me," or "Judy Blume is as important as Tolstoy," or "Aristotle is 99% irrelevant," gets people really mad. I think music was kind of the beginning for me, because I realized early on that I hated Simon and Garfunkel, the Doors, and numerous other bands that are, for some reason, considered inarguably Great.

This is obviously not to say everything Bad is Good, or that anything done by a marginalized/overlooked person is therefore Good- this train of thought can make you fall into the same trap of accepting things for other reasons besides the things themselves. But I do believe everyone should be allowed- encouraged, even- to examine whether we think things are great because of the what they are or because of what people have told us about them. And also that what we have chosen to represent us and our history as a culture is nothing if not exclusionary, written by the victors themselves, self-serving, and full of glaring omissions.

What is the point of all this??? Famous artists who SUCK! A new feature, even though I am always introducing "features" to this blog that I never continue. But this is basically what this blog is about anyway!

I have a book called "Great Prints and Printmakers" that has some amazing, trippy, highly detailed medieval prints, which I love. I'm surprised certain Renaissance and medieval artwork is not more popular- because it is weird, intense, psychedelic, and full of archaic symbolism, giving a window into the culture at the time. And monsters! It's full of monsters! Here are some Albrecht Durer engravings, but he is just the tip of the iceberg. Sorry the quality is so bad- they are worth enlarging!

See? That shit is so metal. And when you think about the detail and labor that went into work like this, it is mindblowing.

Anyway, the book moves on in time, to the other "masters", all those guys who were French and drew sloppy pictures of buxom naked ladies.

We have Gauguin's colonialist depictions of "native" ladies.

Matisse also just loved the boobs of exotic ladies (exotic ladies, of course, have always been a little easier to depict naked because it is their natural, lesser, uncivilized state. See: entire Western history of anthropology)

Seriously! Are we going to pretend this artwork "holds up?" If a guy was selling this on the street alongside charcoal portraits of Will Smith, would you look twice???

Alright, what about THIS boob-focused picture, by Chagall:
Look me in the eye and tell me this does not look like total, utter crap! It is hideous!

Here's a Renoir and a Degas:

While slightly more aesthetically pleasing, I think it's obvious these have not aged well either. They look like cheesy softcore. Supposedly Degas hated women (well, they all probably did) and I really hate the fact that his ballerinas are so revered as depictions of women and placed in the rooms of countless little girls. I guess they are revolutionary because they depict women doing something besides drying off their boobs, stretching, or dooming the world's perfection with their slutty, temptress ways.

Then there's Picasso, The Beatles of the art world- he was always right on time with the hot new trend so that it wasn't controversial by the time he got his ulta-famous hands on it. It's not like there weren't people doing a lot crazy cubist/surreal stuff before him, just like there were lots of people playing psychedelic music before George discovered Shankar or whatever happened. I think the most overlooked fact in Picasso's artwork is that, like the Chagall above, it is really, really ugly. It's dreary without commenting on it's own dreariness, and the focus, as with most of these people, is not the art and what it depicts (cause it's probably naked ladies or fruit) but the groundbreaking "technique"-very essentially "masculine", man.

To be fair, I guess he did pioneer the important "sad clown" genre.

*Alternate Title: The Great Master(bator)s

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Face Hunter Really is Increasingly Boring

We all had a good laugh over Nu Rave, and, sure, it was awful, but now that it has been like a year and a half and apparently in this modern world, that is now an eternity, and I'm ready for some Nu Rave nostalgia. For the new look of Face Hunter and whatnot is SO, SO BORING!!!! What the hell is up with this outfit? Nice quilted denim jacket and black pants!!! Hot off the heels of that Mad About You post, we have even more horrible, boring, dull, ugly 90's fashion! And as usual, that person who stepped off the city bus in this exact outfit two minutes ago is not worthy of having their photo taken, but the model wearing it totally is!

Way to ruin that slutty top that doesn't even fit you right anyway! Why wear something so skanky to only add computer programmer pants to the mix?

This shirt is so International Male 1992. International Male, in case you're wondering, was this amazingly tacky catalog for men with a leaning towards a look we might call "Jazzy Fabio," as in, jazzier than how Fabio dressed. I once found a copy on the plane in like, the year 2000, when I was too young to actually process the camp value but knew there was something pretty funny about outfits like this ten years after the 80's had passed. Like, there is no way this shirt doesn't smell like cheap cologne and wasn't worn by someone with a Jheri curl. Also, nice chain necklace, dude. Doesn't he realize you should be dressed like a little fey pixie if you look like this?

This girl is going for the elusive "sloppy European hippie girl who tries to buy ecstasy from you at a youth hostel so she can do it at the Dead concert in 1993 + boater hat" look. Pure magic!

This is her friend. She's like, "Hey, we're going to drum on mountaintop, yes? You want to go?"

What about this guy? Sort of charming, isn't it? Sort of a fresh take on that tired Oliver Twist look everyone is so tired of. Loving the shorts over kneesocks with clunky pigeon-toes. How exactly does the Face Hunter know this guy isn't a hipster but actually a glue-sniffing runaway, which is what he looks like? And isn't the fact that you can't really tell kind of disturbing to anyone?

Did I say boring? What am I talking about? Take a look at this guy! Are those jamz??? Hiking boots without laces? How do those stay on his feet? This outfit has everything!

There are like seven pictures of this lady on the Face Hunter's website. I have to say, I could not find this image any less inspiring.

This look is soooo dorky. I feel like this guy is really into the films of Guy Richie, DJing trip-hop and pretending like he is in The Matrix.
She looks pretty cool, though! I've said it before and i'll say it again: If you wanna dress slutty, go for it, but go all the way!