Sunday, March 08, 2015

Obliviousness as content

It might seem that being an out-of-touch European aristocrat would be almost a prerequisite for a certain kind of job in fashion journalism. But there's out-of-touch and then there's out-of-touch, and it seems one such journalist has, reports Fashionista's Dhani Mau, "crossed the line". Had she done so? Yes, clearly - the post in question did, as Mau said, merit a "[w]e shouldn't have to explain why her decision to put this on Instagram, as wealthy princess, was of questionable taste." A photograph of a homeless person reading Vogue, with a silly caption, is going to be, at the very best, "questionable," for reasons that, indeed, do not require explanation. And yet explanations abound. CNN is on the case, as is Jezebel. A Google news search confirms that others are as well. It must be spelled out, it seems, that this princess is so rich, so clueless, that she can't even empathize with a homeless person. A Jezebel commenter helpfully points out the "privilege" of a woman born "at the family palace, Schloss Thurn und Taxis, 500-room 8th-century abbey [.]"

What I'm wondering, I suppose, is what's to be gained by pointing out that an out-of-touch socialite is out-of-touch. Why does this become a news story? (To those who'd argue that I'm making it one, agreed that this is the inherent problem with writing anything about this topic, but WWPD is a slightly smaller outlet than CNN or the Daily Mail.) We're talking about a sector of the economy where people are hired for being socialites, where clothing too expensive for just about anyone to afford is displayed on emaciated models so young they haven't even been born yet. Vogue sells out-of-touch-ness! Are the homeless helped by a pile-on in this socialite's direction? Put another way: is the point of joining in the self-righteous pile-on that doing so helps homeless people from the plight of insensitive Vogue editors, or is it that shaming people for obliviousness is - there's really no other word for it - good content?

What's different about this YPIS cycle than others, though, is that the person whose privilege is being called out is, like, really, really privileged. It's... too easy. It's not quite as much fun as pointing out the obliviousness of someone who thinks they're (she's - it's always a woman) kind of scrappy, when they're actually not quite as scrappy as all that.

No comments: