If I needed any further proof that I am an absolute idiot when it comes to popular culture, I’ve got it now.
For some inexplicable reason, we are suddenly getting monthly copies of the magazine “Vanity Fair”. (H’m. I guess I think you guys are sort of cultural idiots, too, because I put the word “magazine” before “Vanity Fair”. Assuming that you wouldn’t know what Vanity Fair was. Assuming that, like me, you’d think it was a Flea Market where they sell bathroom fixtures.)
Anyway, we don’t know why its coming here. I sure as heck didn’t order it, and Paul just looked at me and frowned when I asked if it was his. Anyway, somehow the people at the magazine got ahold of our address and started sending us this glossy, slick package of prettiness. Maybe they thought they should throw us a life-line, given our complete lack of hipness.
So I put the pretty shiny magazine where all the “read you later” things go. In the basket next to the toilet in my bathroom. And I started to leaf through it a little bit when I, you know, had a few minutes.
And I am completely baffled.
Aren’t ads supposed to be selling us things? Aren’t they supposed to appeal to our desire to be desirous and healthy and young and hip and au courant? And shouldn’t they show us what it is that they want us to buy?
Apparently, the uber hip people who read this magazine are so completely trendy and fashionable that they merely have to glance at the page, see the picture of the skinny, unhappy, frowning people and they immediately know what it is that they need to rush out and buy. Or order on-line. Whatever.
As for me?
I am having a hell of a time trying to make guesses about what is being advertised on these pages. And wondering who thought it was a good idea to make the models look like they’re dying. Or standing in a ghetto in a war zone in the middle of an epidemic while a monsoon hits. I mean, what the hell? Is the idea to make us feel so incredibly grateful that we are NOT those people that we’ll immediately shell out $500 for a purse or some sneakers or whatever the hell it is that they’re selling us?
These aren’t ads; They’re threats!
There is one ad in this month’s Vanity Fair showing Madonna wrapped up in what looks like shiny ribbons. Her hair is all tousled, and her eyes are closed. She’s skinny and her lips are black (its a black and white photo). The only words on the page are “Madonna for Versace”. Um. OK. What am I supposed to buy? The ribbons? The lipstick? The chance to be airbrushed? I don’t know!
Then there is this ad.
Huh? Am I supposed to be yearning for the jacket? The fringy thingy? The greasy hair? What? The only thing the page says is “Giorgio Armani”. Does that mean clothes? Or would she smell good if I got real close? I don’t know about you, but I think she’d smell a lot like Brylcreem. Ew.
This woman is on a page that says “St. Laurent. Paris”Exactly what part of this image is supposed to lure me into handing over the cash? The horrible dress that can only be worn by a completely breast-free woman? The “I cut my sister’s hair with my scissors” coiffure? Or the heroin-tastic look of the model? I had exactly one reaction to this photo: “Eeeeeeeew.”
Makes me glad I’m not a young man in New York.
Or a young woman.
And finally, as I perused the glossy pages, I came upon this image, in a full page ad that probably cost more than my kids’ educations combined.
Dear Celine, whoever you are: you are the stuff of my nightmares. I am not inclined to buy anything, anywhere, anytime that is going to get me any closer to looking like you.
So I have come to a decision.
I’m going to keep spending my money on good books and nice warm socks. And Vanity Fair is going to stay exactly where I put it.
Just in case we ever run out of paper.