Project Rundown?
October 23, 2009

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There’s been a lot of smack-talking all over the internets about the dismal turn taken by this season’s Project Runway, its first at a new home over at Lifetime. Every week, on blog show wrap-ups and countless comments in response (my current fave – a wry poster who called the show “deeply adequate”), folks say the contestants aren’t as talented as past seasons, that Nina and Michael have been absent way too much and they blame it on changing the locale to LA, the move to Lifetime, the weather, the phases of the moon . . .who knows?

It’s not rocket science, people. The show is tired. T-I-R-E-D. The challenges are tired. The monotony is tired. Tim’s tired. Heidi’s tired. And a bit grouchy. The contestants are always tired. And a lot whiney. And guest judge Milla Jovovich hit the bull’s-eye last night, saying the runway results looked like they were from, “Project I-don’t-mind-it.” Zing!

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You look at the designers and think, “Is this the best they could do?” The drama, or lack of it, seems right out of high school (and not in a good Glee way), revolving around two cliched tropes of adolescence, mean girls and a dreamy guy. They’ve tried to make Irina (center, above) wear the bitch crown because she has frequently expressed a dim view of her rivals while single-mindedly racking up three wins so far. But last night when the group was all sitting around the “dorm” having drinks, she seemed to fit right in and nobody had their claws out

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Then there’s Logan, the hipster Seattle stud, who except for the impermeable Irina seems to have everybody crushin’ on him – on both sides of the camera. Lifetime’s producers dutifully indulge their Television for Women imperative by showing him shirtless or in a tank top at least once an episode. And of course he’s straight, to boot, making him a fantasy object for lots of the women viewers (and many of the men). But the dirty little secret is he’s not a very good designer and you can’t be blamed for perversely anticipating if this is the week he’ll be auf-ed.

As for the rest, the ladies were so alike that the only reason they are starting to register is because there are so few of them left. Except for Gordana, a generation older, who trembles, dithers, apologizes and complains, always weary. Even Heidi’s fed up, because she gives her a little scolding every week.  The two other men, as of last night, were tied in a race for the bottom  – weepy Christopher and creepy Nicolas. Both way missed the mark. Nicolas lost. Did anyone notice?

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Paging Dr. Kildare
September 10, 2009

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OK, in my world, here’s the ideal face of health care – universally attractive, heart-stoppingly compassionate and handsomely delivered. I was thinking about this after President Obama’s speech last night and about now you are probably scratching your head and wondering what’s up with a style blog dipping its pedicured toe into these raging waters.

Just this: your stylist-blogger here has been basically at the mercy of insurance companies for the last 20 years of his career as a free-lancer and, really, things have never been worse.  I don’t wanna bore you with details, but here in “Californ-ey” (as the Governator likes to say) I pay about $5,000 a year for my own health insurance. And that’s with a $5,000 deductible! But, hey, I’m a responsible person – I’ve always had health insurance ever since the first day I set up business on my own.

Not too get too personal but recently I engaged in some preventative care – had a top-to-bottom physical for the first time in years, with some attendant specialist referrals to rule out various age-appropriate bugaboos.  The good news is that I’m blazingly healthy but the bad news is that between my insurance premiums and the examinations and tests not covered by my plan, I am paying close to $10,000 this year to find this out.

So here’s my point – I am but one example of good-ole-American entrepreneurship and our health system is gumming up the works.  Every job expert says the future will be all about shorter-term careers, frequent job changing and more independent employment, not less. So unless something is done, many more of us are going to be in my boat or cast adrift in a sea of no insurance coverage (see, I got back to the raging waters). And to all those who say guaranteed health care is somehow un-American, I don’t get it.

Why should my can-do, make-your-own-way, U.S. of A. instincts be threatened by what is the most wastefully expensive-per-person health care system in the civilized world? Get me a public option, an exchange or a coop if it will really work – and let’s get these costs in hand, people. I know it’s not as simple as in Dr. Kildare’s day, but I can dream, can’t I?

Jezzie-nation
September 8, 2009

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Are you a Jezzie?  For the uninitiated, that would be a reader of Jezebel, part of the Gawker family of fine blogging products. “Celebrity, sex, fashion for women” it promises, and all without any kind of supposed airbrushing – visual or mental.  Jezebel wants to keep it real, you see, so no rosy idealized vision here.  Skinny size-zero models, unyielding bad-mommy Anna Wintour and dictatorial (male) designers top its fashion enemies list,  and a casual reader might be forgiven for thinking, “Who are these crazies who think fashion is just a grand conspiracy to keep women down?”

Any post that touches on body image automatically sets off at least 100 comments and this weekend’s “Do Women Want To See Themselves In Fashion Magazines” opened another floodgate. If you’ve been living in a media-deprived cave you may not have heard, but recently model Lizzie Miller was photographed in Glamour and became a “we-need-to-see-more-of-this!!!” rallying cry all out of proportion to her slight tummy roll. One dissent came in a Times of London article in which author India Knight suggested that putting “real” size 12 models in magazines might make women actually feel worse about themselves because they would be comparing themselves with all-too-real women of their own stature rather than an obviously fantasy “stick-figure” model.

Jezebel’s Hortense (love her moniker!) counters with, “perhaps women wouldn’t find fashion to be as difficult or overwhelming or, as in Knight’s case, joyless…if we could actually see ourselves in the pictures, as well.”

But then the comments roll in, and eventually we hear from a Ms. hippichx sez PEACE:

“if for no other freaking reason, i think women of all sizes should be portrayed so we can see how clothing hangs on different types of women. i may be skinny, but i have an hourglass shape. i’ve always wanted to wear those drop waist dresses, but they look ridiculous on me…. something i was unaware of until i tried one on. while the body of the woman may not be attainable (no matter what the size) they are modeling a product, and that product should be. why the hell would a size sixteen woman want to purchase something they have never seen on somebody with a similar body? and even then, there are all different kinds of size sixteen bodies….it took me decades to get used to the fact that i am, in fact, curvy. that this is something i should embrace and emphasize with my clothing, rather than hopping on the latest bandwagon and looking ridiculous in whatever is in style. stick thin curveless robots are clothes hangers. if i wanted to see how something looked on a hanger, i would go to the mall.”

Sing it sister!!!  Still, it’s almost too easy to take potshots at overwrought tirades like this – I’d bet money she’s in her ’20s, so I doubt it took her “decades” to realize she was curvy; she wants to see everything modeled by every size in magazines yet can barely be bothered to try anything on herself; and most importantly “if for no other freaking reason” – she thinks it’s her unarguable right. And maybe it is.

That’s what fascinates me most about Jezebel and its devoted sisterhood of the traveling rants. Like it or not, hippichx sez PEACE is the future of fashion. Wrong, actually. For her generation, she is the now.