Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Francophilic anti-gentrification

I'm confused. I want to know what the man (an Aron who goes by A-Ron, unless this was a typo) profiled in the linked, endlessly fascinating T Magazine blog post means when he explains that he's called his show at Paris 'concept' store Colette "Off, Off Bowery" as a result of the following inspiration: "The way things happen in NYC, the Bowery is so gentrified. That’s living in the city, that’s reality. But me and my friends are more like, off-Bowery."

What am I missing? He and his friends find the Bowery gentrified. Agreed, it is. So this inspires him not to flee to the exurbs or to the developing world, but to open an exhibition in an upscale Parisian shop that offers the likes of Marc Jacobs, Puma, Swarovski, and other brands unknown to gentrified New York. I'm not understanding how he got from point A to point B, but again, I can't look away.

This much I understand: in the tradition of those too posh for gentrified (blandified?) New York, this gentleman is off to Europe, where, as we all know, there's nary a McDonalds. "Paris is an amusing city. I just came over from Milan. That’s cool, but it’s special here. The people here have a good bloodline. They’re very pretty. And I love the cafes. You sit and talk about love and life, and you take some time."

OK, my confusion has just grown beyond what I'd thought possible. Fleeing gentrification, this man has gone from Milan to Paris, and I'm assuming he does not mean the banlieues. As for the "good bloodline" that makes French people so lovely, maybe it's them, but maybe it's just some really great shampoo. As for Paris having nice cafés, I mean, again, agreed, but one would think this fact has already been remarked upon enough that the bar for further such comments would be rather high.

In seriousness: I can't tell in cases like this whether the 'ugh' an interview elicits in me should be directed towards the interviewee, or towards the interviewer. I don't want to be unfair to A-Ron, who may have been misrepresented, nor to his interviewer, who may have portrayed the man with utmost accuracy. At any rate, it's more of a bemused 'ugh' than the ones much of the real news produces, so no harm done.

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