Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crystal Bridges vs. Louis Vuitton

Now Dear Readers you know I love a luxury good like nobody's business. If my diamonds aren't Cartier my panties are! *hint hint. But I'm afraid that the new M. Louis Vuitton ad with M. Muhammad Ali has my panties in a bunch.

I have few associations the M. Ali but one of those is from Ted Koppel's wonderful 2001 memoir 'Off Camera: Private Thoughts Made Public' in which he details seeing M. Ali at a sporting event and approaching him to ask him how it feels to be the Greatest Athlete Who Ever Lived to which M. Ali responds "I'm still just a nigger." 

This was written sometime before 2001 when M. Koppel reports that his wife is "frequently his 'voice' these days" so 12 or more years later it makes me wonder who was his voice in deciding to lend his image to the M. Louis Vuitton ad?
Now if I may deconstruct the above image for a bit. M. Ali's grandson is in the foreground and the caption for the ad is "Some stars show you the way. Muhammad Ali and a rising star. Phoenix, Arizona"
The text implies that M. Ali is able to teach his grandson how to fight. Anyone who knows anything knows that M. Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1984 and has probably suffered from it earlier than that. It's unfair and cruel and makes M. Ali's struggles with the disease less relevant. He can't teach anyone anything. And that's okay. He has a disease. Quick American Super Hero Syndrome! He's Infallible! He's Immortal!

Time Magazine, on the occasion of M. Ali's 70th birthday in February of this year, published 
 A Champion in Purgatory, in which they reported "Muhammad Ali is at a point in his life where he doesn't really do very  much", "Sometimes his face freezes and he looks frightened, like he is in the midst of a nightmare", "A frozen stare creased his fase as the night wore on", and "Time has not been kind to Ali's health". My objection - in part - to the advertisement is the man who refused the Vietnam War by famously saying "I ain't go no quarrel with them Viet Cong... they never called me nigger" will be remembered as a pitch man for a mutli-thousand dollar bag. 

The campaign, which in the past has featured Angelina Jolie, Bono, Francis Ford Coppola and Sophia Coppola among others is part of the Louis Vuitton Core Values campaign. On their website two things appear when a search for "Core Values" is made. Annie Liebovitz and Angelina Jolie. I watched a video of the latter and apparently "Core Values" means white privileged people being amazed that in a war-torn country - in this case Cambodia - there would be landmines left over from said war! And then a graphic pops up that says with help from the "international community" landmines have decreased since 2000. Whoa. I refused to watch Annie talk about her townhouse troubles and how she had to sell her collection of LV luggage to pay last month's mortgage. 

And listen, I don't really care what a company does with their money. But calling something "Core Values" makes me at least think they're doing something with their money.

But my beef is not with their philanthropic nature (or lack thereof), it is with taking an icon who was so clear on his place in this world and putting him somewhere he has no idea. 

His image is dead already and in the advertisement he appears post-mortem, photoshopped from his wheelchair to back patio. How long did Annie have to have her assistants stand there to get him to smile? How much steadying did they have to do to M. Ali? Did he enjoy it? By all reports he's barely audible and incoherent when he is. He appears frozen on the page. This is not Ali from the ring, instead it's Rocky Part 16: Human Growth Hormone Gone Terribly Wrong.

I don't pretend to be naive about the nastiness of advertising. I was once a teenage model and feel a strong affinity for Peggy on 'Mad Men' but sweet Jesus are there not enough "legends" alive and well that you can rape? Shirley Maclaine must be finished filming Season 3 of 'Downton Abbey' by now and I would love to see her rat-a-tatting it up for M. Louis Vuitton. Right? 

When he told M. Koppel, already in the throes of Parkinson's that he was still "just a nigger" he sadly got it right once again.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Interlopere - Special Father's Day Edition

I thought he was a man but he was just a little boy.
Fiona Apple

Dear Readers -

Congratulations! You have just been given the honor and pleasure of another The Interlopere post by Crystal Bridges. And she's in a snit!

I saw Dear Ol' Dad recently and was not shocked by him. After years of reparative therapy, electric shock treatments and buckets of anti-psychotics Crystal Bridges was able to sit in the room with Dad (for full disclosure we are not sure that he is the dad of Crystal Bridges but this is what we've been told our entire 25 years of existence).

I woke up angry this morning and couldn't figure out why. And being the great patient that I am I thought a little harder about it and remembered today is Father's Day. The day when we celebrate the emotionally retarded with gifts like alcohol, IPads, golf accessories and the like.

Now of course not all fathers are dead inside but then this isn't for you. So the rest of this post will be sweeping generalizations, stereotypes, innuendo and bitchiness. But here's my thesis: Even if your dad is nice I would argue still incapable of real emotion. And why is this?

Well, first of all, I'd like to blame the Boomers. I'd like to blame anything post WWII: plastic, Levittown, TV, etc.

And now I'd like to turn my attention to the mothers of said Boomers: enablers. Growing up mom always told me that Grandma Louise - Lou - would wipe my father's ass for him as an adult. I always thought this to be conjecture but I'm no longer so sure. I watched her clip my adult uncle's toenails and just recently watched a sparring match between my father and his mother - still going strong at 92! - that elicited empathy on my father's behalf. She must have been a bear. OverBEARing. This of course - along with an alcoholic grandfather - spawned the joy that is (allegedly) my father: abusive, corrosive, alcoholic, animalistic and pathetic. He's always been all of these things. And he's always been disinterested in changing any of them. And he always blames anyone and everyone else. Usually women, starting with his mother on down. Women are bad because his mother was probably a terror. And now he terrorizes women - me included! - because he can. Or he used to be able to. Now, he's more of an bull that's been put out to pasture, waiting to die or be killed.

And I don't want to wax pathetic just about my dad or dads in general because really Dear Readers this post should be called Special Mens Edition. Because most of them are all Baby Retards, filled with miles and miles of cowardice which oftentimes takes the form of bravado. Bitch please.

Over the past week I've spent a lot of time with two of my best girlfriends. Let's call them Laverne and ... Shirley. Laverne has been kind of dating this guy who has a girlfriend where's he's from. Let's say Peoria. Laverne knew about it. This guy, let's call him Batman, was open about it. They had a whirlwind romance, sex, fun, he met her friends, he went out with her, he became - very quickly - integrated into Laverne's life. And then 10 days later he just wants to be "friends".

Now, Crystal Bridges, being the ace reporter that she is - Gorgeous is on vacation, FYI - went out to Peoria to get the scoop. Batman told me he was "emotionally empty" & "retarded". Crystal Bridges could not argue. I believed him when he told me his intention was never to hurt Laverne. But the fact remained that she was hurt. That after he came on her feet, she was dumped like the rag he used to clean it up. And this is what really burns my bridges. Maybe your intention was not malicious but the effects of your actions are real and harmful and things don't go away because you say so and just want to be "friends". Why are men all little boys? And when I told him this - or rather asked him - or told him - who knows? I was already three Remy Martins in - he just sat there and shrugged like a 5 year old who had just peed in his pants and told everyone it was chocolate milk (true story).

Now Shirley was involved - up until very recently with Robin - a man ten years her senior with a recent  ex. Shirley was promised diamonds and pearls. And what she got was a series of dismissive, pathetic texts apologizing profusely and ultimately asking not to be contacted again. He realized that he was still in love with his ex after 4 months of coital bliss with Shirley. And just like that it's over. Because he said so. Now I read these texts and he apologized over and over and over again (see peed pants, 5 year old) but it just wasn't enough. Even for Crystal Bridges who has never even met Robin. I felt scorned!

And why do women settle for these tools? Why did my mother? Why are women constant mothers who have to change the proverbial shit-filled diaper for their men? Is feminism alive and well anywhere outside of my lesbian brothers and sisters?!

And don't even get me started on gays. They're just as bad - maybe even worse. I just watched Oprah interview Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka - don't judge, it's slow at the 5 & Ten on a Sunday! - and she asked them which was the maternal one. Now if that's not offensive enough they fucking answered it. Of course it's David because NPH - while out and about all over God's green Earth - cannot appear too gay because he's the bigger star. So while the twins are sucking at the teet of Burtka NPH is off "building things" or some other shit. But he'll be there when the kids want to build a play house because "I love to build playhouses". Quick: Heteronormativity! Let's all get married! What the interview failed to mention is that when the nanny puts the kids to bed NPH and David are inviting a trick from Grindr over to suck the jizz out of each others' assholes.

There are so many other examples I could list here to prove my point about the lack of emotional availability of those with a wee wee between their legs, but why bother because you all know it's true. Mandatory therapy for all men! Quit being dicks. Maybe I've just been watching too many Fiona Apple  videos.

So Happy Father's Day! Don't fucking expect a card from me this year or any.