Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tweety Birds

In the new edition of Vanity Fair, some ladies of the web are photographed wearing trench coats and posing just slightly provocatively. The article has the breezy tone of snark VF is famous for and in the text follows the tone of the photo. It isn't a serious portrait or all that demeaning but the subjects have taken upon themselves to become outraged, pissed, ready to 'thump skulls' and their fans are following suit. It is the usual herd response from a generation that seeks opportunities and creates technology to increase their herdiness through their nerdiness. The article is poking fun at that and I don't think too many geeks were harmed in the production of the article.


1. They signed up for the photo. If the trenchcoat poses didn't clue them in as to what was coming, these ladies aren't quite as media savvy as claimed.

2. They need the photos. The cult of celebrity requires a persistent thumping on the skulls of the public to keep them front and center. Celebrity is a brief fling with a bull-riding machine anyway. Day, for example, is someone who rather desperately wants to be a Hollywood insider despite her reputation for being a successful outsider. That is where the career and the money are and she is not a silly woman from the cheap seats.

3. Every ten years or so, the last media darling generation gets tossed on the fire of satire and ridicule to make room for a new generation. Thus has it ever been and the geeks don't seem to be prepared for the inevitable.

So ladies and irate fans, putting up blogs about how unfair VF is, how they are ignoring your serious accomplishments (lifecaster? really?), or how the old media is just jealous of the new media (we be fast; you be slow), is what is expected of you and it will fuel the flames of support, and it will drive up the sales of that issue. Mission accomplished. It will also make put you on the path to the C-list and start the crack down the middle of the ice that holds your feeds above the waters of oblivion because the more you emphasize your serious accomplishments, the more boring you will become.

Vanity Fair and articles to follow elsewhere aren't doing this for jealousy, spite or lack of 'getting it'. They are doing it because it's time. If "what the web thinks you are, you are, deal with it" as Tim Bray wrote is the meme du jour, you have just been bathed in how that comes about and how very little control you have over it except possibly in watching your warddrobe.

Deal with that.


John Cowan said...

I am no expert at this, but I expect the picture is seriously photoshopped, at least to the extent of putting the five women in the same frame without having to get them in the same physical place -- note the absence of anything resembling a floor. And once you're doing that, why not add some convenient bodies to the readily available headshots?

Not that I give a red rubber rat's ass about the whole thing. To avoid publicity, live a quiet life.

Amber said...

Wild thing...I think I love you!

Len Bullard said...

Going by the blogs, they are there together for that shot and those definitely are Felicia Day's legs.

But yeah, as the sign says in Wentzels, if you want a place in the sun, expect occasional blisters.

@amber: the mutuality is mutual.

Amber said...

About the photoshopping and the larger issues, I must continue to beat the dead horse: Please consider reading "The Lolita Effect" by M. Gigi Durham...lots of insight there (reviewed on my blog)...wish the tweeties had read it before they talked to VF.

Len Bullard said...

It's a good point, Amber.

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