Week In Review
The Week In Review is a roundup of interesting, inspiring or thought-provoking things I've read this week. "How are you to imagine anything if the images are always provided for you? To defend ourselves...we must learn to read. To stimulate our own imagination, to cultivate our own consciousness, our own belief system. We all need these skills to defend, to preserve, our own minds." -- Adrien Brody
What is the role of fashion in our society? This week, a couple of articles raised the question, albeit from different angles. Covering fashion's relationship with age, activism, social justice, and politics, these articles made me grateful that voices in the media are working to challenge our assumptions about what fashion should do for us.
The Pirelli Calendar Shows Fashion Trying to Catch Up by Sophie Gilbert in The Atlantic
"This year’s calendar, shot by Peter Lindbergh, presents itself as a similarly aspirational and inspirational work. Lindbergh photographed 14 Hollywood actresses...most of whom are over 40. He captured them wearing minimal hair and makeup, in an artistic decision he described as 'a cry against the terror of perfection and youth.'...But the muted fanfare they’ve received mostly signals how much fashion as an industry—from the Pirelli Calendar to Vogue—has fallen behind when it comes to breaking new ground for women. Rather than trailblazing new standards for beauty, the 2017 calendar is a sign that institutions that were once at the forefront of new trends and movements are now struggling to catch up."
Fashion designers weigh in on dressing Melania Trump | Bridget Foley, Women's Wear Daily
"In the midst of this heated debate, the question actually seems somewhat irrelevant. She can simply purchase whatever she wants, so how can we control it? Just because she’s shown wearing a designer does not mean that designer is endorsing her, her husband or any of their beliefs. Checking someone’s ethical beliefs before they’re allowed to purchase, sets up an exclusionary dynamic that feeds into the exact mentality that is preventing us from moving forward in a positive direction. Some people say fashion and politics should never mix, but when given the choice, I think you should address and dress your conscience."
-- Cynthia Rowley
Why This Fashion Designer Is Skipping Art Basel for Standing Rock | Nikki Ogunnaike, Elle
"This is completely not political. This is not a political thing at all, this is a human thing. This is not me—I'm not even discussing whether or not I would dress Melania Trump because I think she's a human; if she was in trouble, I'd help her, you know? If she was in the street and somebody was attacking her I would jump in and help her because that's on a human level.
I think that's the way we should think about it. When you have people getting hit in the face with rubber bullets and having tear gas thrown at them because they want to reserve their right to clean drinking water, it's not a matter of politics at all. It's just a decent, human thing to do. Even if I saw Donald Trump in trouble and he was getting attacked or mugged or whatever, or getting his wig pulled off his head, I would jump in and help him because that's what decent people do. I never really care about dressing celebrities anyway, so it doesn't even bother me."
-- Kerby Jean-Raymond
Politics, Environment & Humanity
Would Politics Be Better Off Without Anger? | Amia Srinivasan, The Nation
I'll be re-reading this entire piece a lot in the time ahead.
"Many have been calling for a return to a more civil and reasonable form of political discourse. But some go even further: Perhaps what we need is the total eradication of anger from our politics. If so, then those of us on the left should respond to Trump’s election not with our own anger but with something altogether cooler and calmer.
...It’s a nice thought, at least for those of us who might end up against the wall in a revolutionary moment. But one cannot help suspecting that a more complete and careful rendering of the historical record would yield a different verdict. Is it not somewhat historically naive to think that President Johnson’s embrace of King’s program of racial harmony had nothing to do with the angry politics of Malcolm X? Or that Mandela and Gandhi would have been successful without the anger of their followers? Would there have been the anticolonial struggles in North Africa or the Arab Spring without anger? And where would the labor, feminist, LGBTQ, and disability-rights movements be—would they even be at all?
Politics, after all, is about conflict as much as consensus. Anger can be a motivating force for organization and resistance; the fear of collective wrath, in both democratic and authoritarian societies, can also motivate those in power to change their ways."
How Climate Change Makes Bioconservatism the Most Relevant Ideology | Chet Bowers, Truthout
"The most important question today is: What do we need to conserve as we enter the ecological and digital tipping point where scarcity in food, work, security and other necessities becomes the new normal -- including the loss of wisdom traditions that are being replaced by data? The ideological framework best suited to guiding the cultural transformations in everyday lifestyle and belief systems is cultural/bio-conservatism, which has guided most Indigenous cultures throughout history and continues to characterize many contemporary forms of analysis and practice in Indigenous communities today.
Bioconservatism is the easiest to understand as it refers to conserving species and habitats, which challenges both the idea that this is a human-centered world and the right of the individual to exploit the environment."
"Like so much of the rest of the country, Rutland is struggling to figure out who it is and just how welcoming it wants to be....This little Vermont city turns out to be a microcosm of today’s fractured America. How Rutland sees its present depends on how it sees its past, and in January, Rutland will face its future... It’s here, listening to Mayor Louras, that I realize Rutland First and Rutland Welcomes want the same thing. Both crave a way out of Rutland’s post-industrial malaise. For Rutland First, that means a return to a single, perfect, and perhaps imaginary moment: before industry left, but after immigrants turned American. A tiny fragment of Rutland’s past when, as one resident so wistfully put it, 'it felt as though everything were complete.' And for Rutland Welcomes, revitalizing their city means starting over from scratch: a new dose of hard-working foreigners, an injection of youth and culture into a community that lacks both."
What did you read this week?