BREAKING: Times are hard in the upper-end press!

THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2020

Our series resumes tomorrow:
We'll be finishing this week's series tomorrow. This is the first of many weeks in which we plan to conduct a meta-discussion about how our failing society ever got in the mess it's now in.

We're hoping that some kid who's 9 years old today will read these reports at some point in time. We're hoping that he or she will be able to apply this work in a way which will rescue future generations from the spectacular dumbness which, in the fullness of time, has finally given us our Trump and our spreading plague.

For today, we'll only note that times are hard around the world of the upper-end press. In this morning's Washington Post, Robin Givhan helps us ponder what we've suddenly lost:
GIVHAN (3/19/20): Hanging up our clothes and our public personas

In offices, they call it power dressing and business casual and dressing for success. The invitations tell us to gussy up in cocktail party finery or unleash our imagination with creative black tie.
We buy something new because we have tickets to the theater or a concert. We hunker down in front of a television with a bowl of popcorn and become armchair critics as we watch a parade of fashionable — or not — celebrities on an awards show red carpet.

These are our personal fashion moments, both real and vicarious. For the time being, they no longer exist. They have evaporated in the midst of mandates to work from home, bans on large gatherings and other precautions against the unknowns of the coronavirus.

The public square has shut down. Employees are banned from their workplaces. Schools are closed. The Smithsonian Museums are shuttered. Broadway is dark. Disneyland is locked. And we’ve lost a little bit of ourselves. An essential part of our identity is rooted in how we relate to the people around us, how we situate ourselves within the social hierarchy. We are defined, in part, by our tribe. We dress to tell a story about ourselves and if there is no one there to hear our narrative, we’ve been put on mute—turned into mere ectoplasm in pajamas.
We're sure that Givhan's a very nice person. But is anyone actually reading this guff? Were we the people actually reading this guff down through all those many long years?

These journalists today! Their immediate predecessors spent months on Candidate Gore's disturbing earth tones and on his three-button suits. In the end, decades of this simpering lunacy finally gave us our Trump.

Tomorrow, we'll finish our first week's uber-report. This simpering lunacy has all been enabled from the top.

Ridiculous foolishness trickles down! In the weeks ahead, we'll be taking you all the way back to "the set of all sets not members of themselves" and thus to Lord Russell's Paradox!

If you have a 9-year-old, might your home-schooling start here?

25 comments:

  1. This is the part Somerby should have highlighted:

    "An essential part of our identity is rooted in how we relate to the people around us, how we situate ourselves within the social hierarchy. We are defined, in part, by our tribe."

    Clothes are only one way of doing that.

    ReplyDelete
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  2. "In the end, decades of this simpering lunacy finally gave us our Trump."

    Fashion writers gave us Trump? Because someone said something mean about Gore's suits?

    Either clothing is trivial or it is not. If it IS trivial, then nothing said about Gore's suits made any difference to his election. If it IS NOT trivial, then Somerby is wrong to disparage fashion columns like this one.

    KPBS is running educational videos for kids being kept home.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Robin Givhan discusses clothing. So did some of the media people who mocked Gore’s clothing.

    Just because the word “clothing” appears in both sentences doesn’t show that the two things are connected, or that “clothing” is automatically a ridiculous subject.

    For one thing, Givhan isn’t mocking anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bob,
    You've lost the plot.
    With serious shit going on you are enamored by Washington's thighs.

    ReplyDelete
  5. “Times are hard in the upper-end press!”

    Apparently, Somerby equates Givhan’s discussion of clothing as a purely “upper-end” press concern.

    (Of course, Somerby only highlights her mentions of clothing, and not her discussion of “public personas.”)

    But in what world is clothing not a concern for many people, rich, middle class, poor, whether it is a uniform, a tuxedo, a party dress, work clothing, motorcycle gang jackets, choir robes, etc? These are signs of belonging to something, of interacting with others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Generally, people find getting dressed up and being seen less of a concern during times when lives so imminently hang in the balance.

      Frankly, in this context, I don't think bringing up the media treatment of Gore and his suits is a lot different than what Givhan said, simply because Somerby could argue that an election has world-wide repercussions.

      Not even when it's being used an example of how useless-to-the-point-of-being-destructive our chattering class culture has become.

      Delete
  6. Too funny that Bob is critiquing articles clearly labeled in the "Lifestyle" section as atrocities in journalism or whatever the fuck. Entertainingly batty how he's slamming a fashion article while he gives Fox News a free ride as they spread harmful disinformation every hour of every day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You know, I would have no problem with writers like Givhan if their fashion musings STAYED in the style or fashion section. But the obsession with style over substance has permeated everything.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is an interesting project, this meta discussion concerning how and why our political culture has gotten so dumb. To appreciate the critique, you have to accept the premise as genuine and accurate: our elites including our pundits are idiots and shameless bullshitters and fops who do not think anything really matters.

    The premise of idiotocracy seems well-attested to me.

    The critique itself could take many paths. Wittgenstein as a standard of reference seems a bit whimsical, but okay, let's see how it goes.

    ReplyDelete
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