Posts tagged ‘politics’

November 1, 2009

The Women (1929/1939/2009)

tom_kolovos_wordpressnewEven if Jodi Kantor’s  essay “The First Marriage” in the New York Times Magazine  didn’t have the misfortune of appearing in the same Sunday edition as  the extraordinary continuing series “Women at Arms,” which today highlighted the  difficulties women veterans face when diagnosed with with post traumatic stress disorder from the Iraq/Afganistan wars, it would still come off as a thoughtless, tone deaf and premature hagiography of Michelle Obama. (Yes, the real subject here is not the marriage but Michelle. Surprise.)

You don’t have to be a raving fringe political lunatic (Liz Cheney comes to mind) to notice that even though Ms Kantor’s aim is to illuminate how the Obamas “mix politics and romance in a way that no first couple have before,” her tiresome analysis (and dubious premise) is short on history and long on the two-married-professionals-with-children cliches better suited to the ilk of celebrity rags and television chat shows.

And you don’t have to be Virginia Woolf to know that intelligent and ambitious  women have historically sacrificed so the men in their lives get ahead. (Wo)Man bites dog circa 1929.

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Compared with the two most obvious political high wire duo marriages of the last century,  The Kennedys and the Clintons, The Obama’s balancing act comes off as cotidian. (Perhaps that’s the way in which it it’s “modern,”  by which Ms Kantor surely means contemporary, but as I said history is not her forte.)

There’s nothing here  that any one of us out here in a long term relationship hasn’t experienced and nothing newsworthy about the balancing act all of us have to achieve in  life once we grow up and realize that balance and compromise (if we’re lucky) is all there is. The Obamas spent a lot of time apart when Barack ran for political office. They weren’t making a lot of money. They couldn’t all be there for the girls’ activities.  Barack thought he could go it alone. Michelle never signed up to be a political wife. Michelle’s character and support were invaluable to Barack’s success. Yada yada yada.

You mean to tell us, Ms Kantor, that Pat Nixon knowingly signed on for the disgrace of Watergate? Laura Bush for the the alcoholism and coke fueled benders? Hillary for the public infidelities? Nancy Reagan for the 10 years of home nursing? Jackie Kennedy for the blood splattered head of her husband in her lap?

It simply does not occur to Ms Kantor that,  given what could possibly go wrong in a  political marriage, the way she portrays the Obama’s marriage as a  shiny new model of “modernity” just a year into the job, she’s completely overreaching.

Her obtuseness reaches its nadir when she walks “into the Hyde Park apartment the Obama’s bought when they married, hoping to find clues to their old lives. The cramped master bedroom,” she proudly observes, “had a closet barely big enough for one wardrobe. Where did Michelle keep her clothes?” Excuse  me?

The marriage of Jacqueline Bouvier into the crass Kennedy clan was seminal to the political career of JFK. So even if we start there, the very notion that Mrs Obama was intent on upscaling her husband’s office space, his venues for public appearances  and ultimately humanizing him by appearing in public and speaking on his behalf speaks both to the naivete of Ms Kantor and to the valuable image savvy of Mrs Obama.

The wide latitude that Mrs Obama can enjoy in her role  as First Lady, is in no small part due to the trailblazing legacy of Hillary Clinton, so it’s snarky on the part of Ms Kantor to  both oversimplify the comparisons between the Clintons and the Obamas and then to take cheap shots at Mrs Clinton’s expense. “While the Clinton marriage seems forged in shared beliefs about the promise of politics, the Obama union has been a decades-long debate about whether politics could be an effective avenue for social change.” Clinton bad. Obama good. Got it. Thanks.

She continues: Michelle “also played a vital role in heading off the most promising female candidate in United States history. It was essential for the Obama campaign to present some sort of accomplished female counterweight to Hillary Clinton, to convince Democratic women that they could vote for Barack Obama and a powerful female figure besides. Consciously or not, Michelle made herself into an appealing contrast to the front-runner. She was candid; Hillary was often guarded. Michelle represented the idea that a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago could grow up to be first lady of the United States; Hillary stood for the hold of the already-powerful on the political system. And Michelle seemed to have the kind of marriage many people might aspire to; Hillary did not.”

And then there’s this. Kantor reports that “as a first-time candidate, Barack could be stiff; friends remember him talking to voters with his arms folded, looking defensive. Michelle warmed everyone up, including her husband. “She is really Bill, and he is really Hillary,” one friend recently put it.” We get it. She’s not Hillary.

As I was reading the essay I was reminded how much of the seriously misguided effort by Ms Kantor could easily be remade as  a screwball comedy, let’s just say the George Cukor classic 1939 film of Clare Boothe Luce’s play The Women. It would take  some time to figure out which First Lady and in which way Ms Kantor has maligned whom so I could align them with the the cast of the film, but I think it could be done.

Jungle red mother.

TheBestDressedList.com

TomKolovos.com

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October 18, 2009

Every picture tells a story, don’t it?

tom_kolovos_wordpressnew

All dressed up and nowhere to go? You’re not alone.

You’ve got the 4 models in the Victor Skrebneski produced fashion feature in the 27th anniversary issue of Today’s Chicago Woman to keep you company.  Spread on the floor, each in a 2 page spread,  in various stages of orgasmic exhibitionism which every couture clad professional gal surely finds herself now and again and again, the first model appears to be using her bejeweled bangled hand to pocket pool herself and, when she reappears at the end, she’s using her entire forearm to anally….WTF?

“Success stories don’t get much better than this” proclaims the cover. Really? Yes, the caption does, in all fairness, refer to the real estate agent on the cover but who cares about her and her success when Skrebneski locates the multiple listing service in your G spot?

In stark contrast, and  as conceived by Maurizio Cattelan and  photographed by Pierpaolo Ferrari, the cover of the November issue of W magazine is  part of what the editors describe as a “politically and religiously charged portfolio” starring Linda Evangelista.

I can’t guarantee that what you’ll find inside the pages of the 4th annual “art issue” has any more or less artistic merit than what you find inside Today’s Chicago Woman, but  I am sure that the cover photo has a  politically charged urgency that taps into the global zeitgeist and that stops you dead in your tracks as it sets your mind racing.

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Here’s the surreal juxtaposition of Linda”I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day” Evangelista, the most cinematic of the 80’s “greed is good” supermodels, a good deal more rotund  than current standards allow but no less the superb “still actress” she always was, holding a cardboard sign that declares “IT MUST BE SOMEBODY’S FAULT.”

As obvious as the cardboard sign is to read (and agree with if it refers to the global economic meltdown), what it means depends on how you read it. For starters, where in that sentence is the correct inflection? (Fans of the masterful film writer and director John Sayles will recall the “I didn’t ask for the anal probe” scene from Passion Fish.)

And how does one read that sign given the rest of the images in the photo?

She’s is, after all, wearing an Oscar de la Renta dress and $1,699,000.00 in De Beer’s diamond jewelry including a double cross. She’s perfectly manicured, coiffed and made up but the expression on her face is alarmingly vacant.  What, if anything, is really bothering, bewildering and bewitching her? An American flag can be seen  clearly affixed to a building behind her. The gaze of the suited black male is ambiguously affixed to her? To us? To the studly white uniformed male intruding in the right foreground?

Who is she? Victim? Perpetrator? Prophet? Judge? Jury? Grand Inquisitor?  Who are the men and who are they to her?

And what is IT? The spectacular fall of the supermodel? The divulsion of the unregulated derivative/Bernie Madoff ponzi economy?  The inability of Miley Cyrus to, like,  construct a proper sentence in, like, English ? The collapse of the luxury goods market? Is she sympathetic or pathetic?

Life imitated art Thursday night, making the timing of the politically and religiously charged portfolio even more prescient, at a town hall meeting in New Orleans where President Obama was asked by Tyren Scott, a  4th-grader, “Why do people hate you? And why, aren’t they supposed to love you, if God is love?”

The President came up with an unfortunately  simplistic and patronizing answer, as if to prove that you can graduate from Harvard and teach at the University of Chicago, but you’re still not smarter than a 4th grader. When Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd have lost any semblance of faith in your competence, you’re just stroking your own oversize ego when you declare:

“First of all, I did get elected president, so not everybody hates me; I got a whole lot of votes. A lot of it is what’s called politics, where once one party wins, the other party feels like they’ve got to poke you a little bit to keep you on your toes. So you shouldn’t take it too seriously.”

Seriously, Tyren, IT MUST BE SOMEBODY’S FAULT. And after 9 months of on the job ineptitude on foreclosure reform, health care reform, banking reform, immigration reform. ‘don’t ask don’t tell” reform and evisceration of every campaign promise by special interest politics, the fault lies squarely with Barck Obama. Location, location, location.

Good art sometimes thrives on ambiguity and even derives its meaning from it. Political leadership does not.

TheBestDressedList.com

tomkolovos.com


October 8, 2009

Penis and Serena

It’s a new game and we’re playing with new balls people.

After a year of poking around the the personal lives of  John Ensign, John Edwards, Jon “plus eight” Gosselin and the other johns, Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer and David Letterman, it’s almost impossible to believe that straight married guys have any willpower to keep it in their pants.

Levi Johnson, Sarah Palin’s once potential future ex son in law, is refreshingly making no bones about it and, with  a “you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig” humility, he officially announced today what was long rumored: he will pose naked for Playgirl.

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The announcement comes just as Serena Williams, the woman who declared at the 2009 US Open “there’s no dynasty without nasty,” is to appear nude on the cover of the “body issue” of  ESPN magazine.

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The aptly named Mr Johnson, you’ll remember, rose to prominence as the lesson-learned-the-hard- way  comeuppence to  hockey moms who simultaneously believe in immaculate conception and teaching your children that abstinence is a foolproof method of birth control.

He’s already posed shirtless whilst diapering his baby for GQmagazine. He’s escorted Kathy Griffin to an awards show, thus positioning himself, so to speak, to the gay marketplace.  So what’s  the big deal about extending his 15 minutes of fame and palling around with his “nothing comes between us and our Levi” fanbase, especially when the cold hard truth is he was “going rogue” way before all those posers hit the scene?

At least he’s got enough of a good head on his shoulders to acknowledge that, in his own still evolving first act of Going Rogue, no one will be reading the articles.

Sure, he’s hired a trainer and is spending 3 hours a day in the gym to prepare his body for public scrutiny, but that pales in comparison to Sarah Palin’s tough call to hire the co-author of a white supremacist’s book to ghostwrite her own book. What’s more salacious, posing nude or naked ambition?

Advantage Mr Johnson.

TheBestDressedList.com

August 25, 2009

Why Michelle Obama descended Air Force One in shorts, white sneakers and hair undone

tom_kolovos_wordpressnewIt wasn’t Michelle Obama at all.

It was actually Meryl Streep playing Michelle Obama in the new movie “Michel and Michelle.”

It’s a breezy yet moody  psychological thriller about how the ghost of Michel Foucaultreads aloud, and in French, to Mrs. Obama from “The Birth of the Clinic,” his 1963 tract on the history of the medical profession, hoping to inform health care reform in 21st century America.

Reports have circulated that the filmakers, who also borrowed liberally from Foucault’s “Civilization and Madness”  and “The History of Sexuality,”  were forced by studio executives to compromise their artistic vision in order to make it accessible to a multiplex audience.

The footage  of Ms Streep descending Air Force One was actually part of the movie’s penultimate scene, which was leaked on YouTube, according to sources who refused to  be identified because they were not authorized to speak  by Lynn Cheney, whose daughter was “not a lesbian” before the 2000 election but was having sex with women during that time.

Sources  close to the production have disclosed that the film  begins where “The Crying Game” left off.  Ms Streep’s character discovers that her husband really doesn’t have the balls to take on the banking industry and  that as a consequence the White House is facing foreclosure. The ghost, to which her husband is oblivious, persuasively makes the case that the health care reform he seeks is unpopular  not because people are losing their minds but because people who have insurance are losing (or feel like they yet may lose) their homes.

In order to escape the French ghost which haunts her and  to protect her family from the deadly apathy of her husband’s economic team (which she finds in bed with the banking industry) she takes refuge in  the only other home a First Lady knows: Air Force One.

Thinking she is safe up at 30,000 feet after Harrison Ford kills the French philosopher’s ghost  with venomous snakes he and Samuel  Jackson find on board, she must still enlist the help of Jodie Foster and  wisecracking flight attendant/TSB agent Mo’Nique to hermetically seal Sasha and Malia (both of whom are played by Dakota Fanning) in one of the aircraft’s lavatories, away from an  overbearing Ikram Goldberg who is fiendishly spoiling the girls with boxes upon boxes of delicious candy colored  Crewcuts outfits.

After Ms Fanning drives Ikram mad by revealing that she is  both Mile High Cyrus and her alter ego Hanna Colorado, she retaliates against her mother and forces her to dress like Ms Foster’s  travel “companion.”   Eventually she takes pity on her mother and allows her to remove the Mellisa Etheridge concert baseball cap, which has now irrevocably messed up Ms Streep’s heretofore impeccably yet incomprehensibly appointed big hair.

The film reaches its climactic moment as Ms Streep forgives the girls and just as Air Force One lands at the Grand Canyon, where they all happily descend the aircraft, blithely unaware that the dreaded  Ikram has not been vanquished!

In an astonishing denouement–or more likely  a crass marketing setup for the sequel–the woman Sasha and Malia really drove mad was Sarah Jessica Parker, who had assembled an Ikram Goldberg disguise made out of the factory overruns from her “Bitten” collection (for the now defunct  Steve and Barry’s discount chain) and  about which she is still telling anyone who will listen that they were categorically not made in sweatshops.

Mrs Cheney did authorize sources to reveal that Ms Parker will be played in the film by Sally Field, circa 1979.

TheBestDressedList.com

January 22, 2009

Inaugural Fashion: Beyond the Clothes

tom_kolovos_wordpressnew

The real news about Michelle Obama’s fashion choices for the Inauguration is not, ironically,  in the details you will surely not be able to avoid today but in the larger picture you might have already missed.

As of yesterday, there is a very good case to be made that, amid the rumors about whether Anna Wintour, the uber poweful editrix of Vogue magazine is about to be replaced,  America’s new First Lady is now the de facto most important and powerful  champion of American fashion.

Only fashion insiders keep score of Ms. Wintour’s  conspicuously short list of designers for whom she serves as cheerleader in chief. (Well, okay, those on the longer list for whom she does not cheerlead keep  even closer score.) The average American consumer, and dare I say even but the most attentive of Vogue readers, can’t tell you who curries her favor and who doesn’t. Read Cathy Horyn‘s excellent New York Times piece  “Citizen Anna” if you need to catch up.

By contrast, women all over the country and the world, can tell you not only which designers and brands  Mrs. Obama favors (J CrewWhite House Black Market, Maria Pinto, Narciso RodriguezMaria Cornejo),  but wait with baited breath for whom she will add to her expanding list of favorites. Anna Winour may be an  elite kingmaker behind the scenes, but Michelle Obama is a populist kingmaker who can  make household names out of relatively obscure designers like Maria Pinto and, as she surely did yesterday, with Jason Wu and Isabel Toledo.[picapp src=”c/7/f/0/8c.JPG?adImageId=4876749&imageId=3817303″ width=”500″ height=”612″ /]

But she can also make merchandise  fly out of showrooms and store shelves, in large part because like people of real  contemporary style she is adept at navigating  and mixing high and low pricepoints  with  enviable ease. In the current dismal retail environment, Mrs. Obama’s power is, as Guy Trebay reports, remarkably important, whether you’re courting favor by impressing her with your merchandise at the mall or by knowing Ikram Goldberg, the influential Chicago retailer who  (unofficially but  with glaring  business savvy –and Isabel Toledo and Jason Wu inventory!) has the First Lady’s ear.

This is not to say that all of her  fashion choices are always right. She has made plenty of mistakes but that is to be expected of anyone who goes out of their way to think (or in this case, dress) out of the box. When you take risks, as long as more of your risks pay off big, the risks which dont are easily overshadowed.

As for the clothes she wore yesterday, here’s my take: the  color of the Isabel Toledo ensemble was beautiful and extremely flattering (which is what I think people are responding to when they rave about how good she looked) but apart from that, if you added a handbag and goofy hat, it was essentially a Princess Margaret outfit or a mother of the bride outfit.

The Narciso Rodriguez designed  camel skirt, black silk blouse and black silk lined camel coat she wore to the concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday was the real show stopper of the Inaugural events.

Right down to the belt, earings hair and makeup , I don’t think I have ever  seen her look more chic and sophisticated. (Both designer and client needed to right the wrong of the election night dress in Grant Park and what a more fitting place to do it than in front of Lincoln.  Irony noted. Apology accepted.)

The Jason Wu gown was a clearly a labor of love and craftmanship as it was in naivite. Its color choice certainly brought to mind the inaugural choices of the two chicest First Lady’s of the 2oth century, Jackie Kennedy and Nancy Reagan.[picapp src=”4/5/f/8/7b.JPG?adImageId=4876756&imageId=3666832″ width=”380″ height=”268″ /]

As far as Inaugural ballgowns go, it was one of the best ever, if that can be considered a compliment.  But it  also came dangerously close to looking like a wedding dress. The train made it visibly awkward to dance in, and even a casual viewer of Project Runway would easily and gleefully point out that is not a minor flaw in a ball gown.  Finally, I’m not convinced that a column dress of such volume  was the most flattering choice for her figure.

That said, the good news is really that this is only the beginning of her look for formal events on the international stage and it was impressive enough. She’s  already proven that she can engage both the public and the design world with her choices. I hear they both send  their best wishes for a picture perfect marriage of style and politics.

TheBestDressedLIst.com

November 15, 2008

2008 IN REVIEW: The Year in Color

IN FASHION :
Grey is the new black.
IN RETAIL:
Everyone’s got the blues.
IN POLITICS:
Black is the new white. Red states are now the new blue states.
IN CALIFORNIA:
Gays got played by the Mormon Church and by the black vote and are now singing the blues.
IN CELEBRITY ADOPTIONS:
African orphans are the new ralphlaurenpaint.com
IN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION:
Two white women nearly made history running for the White House. One of them was actually qualified.
IN SUBLIMATION:
Elitist is now the correct term for uppity negro.
IN THE LYNN CHENEY “MY DAUGHTER IS NOT A LESBIAN” TRADITION:
White political candidates who believe in Virgin Birth still believe in teaching their children–and yours– that abstinence is an effective form of contraception till they’re blue in the face.
IN ROMANCE:
Among those folks for whom shotgun weddings for expectant white teens are all the rage, gay weddings between consenting adults still make them see red.
IN FINANCE:
“In the red” is the new “in the black.”
IN MUSIC:
Pink is red hot.
IN PHARMACEUTICALS:
Pfizer turns blue to green with sustainable wood. VIVA VIAGRA!
October 8, 2008

What you see is what you get (Nixon/Kennedy redux)

So, it was my good fortune to  be the first person to point out more than a 13 months ago that in this  political year image would be as crucial a factor in determining the  presidential election as it was in 1960.

Since then, requests for interviews invariably, and very quickly I might add, boiled down to “what do the candidates wardrobes say about them.”  Shortly after I was quoted in USA Today, a producer for WGN pre-interviewed me for a segment.  I tried to explain to her that it was much  more complicated than that. Could I go on air and briefly discuss the complexities? (Sure, that sounds funny now but at the time I was serious.)

She never called back and I learned my lesson. Give NBC, FOX, and CBS what they want.

Of course, though I was certain of the statement I made, I certainly didn’t know exactly how it would play out.   As the nominees of each party emerged, lots of people  jumped on the Nixon/Kennedy paradigm and they’ve pointed out the obvious similarities. One candidate is young, attractive and magnetic but lacks experience.  The other candidate is old, not so telegenic, prone to soporific public appearances but chock full of experience.

(The role race has played in the campaign is beyond the pervue this blog entry, although you can bet the farm I have a lot to say  about how it has been sublimated. Perhaps reading my blog “Sarah, Plain and Tall(tale)” might give you some idea….)

The Nixon-Kennedy debates were  historically significant because they were the first to be televised and that very fact  made it possible, if one were inclined to do so, infer something not only from the answers the candidates gave but how they looked while they were giving them. We all remember form high school history class that people who listened to the debate on radio thought Nixon had won, but those who listened and watched on television thought Kennedy won.

I’ve been waiting for 13 months for the moment in this campaign that would make the issue of image as compelling– and decisive– as it was in 1960.

I think that finally happened in last night’s televised debate.

I think we saw last night, for the first time in this election, how filtering a town hall meeting through television affected the candidates’ message and chances for victory.

The conventional wisdom  had it that  McCain was supposed to have the home court advantage in the debate because he had built his campaign on town hall style meetings.

Obama on the other hand was supposed to be at a disadvantage because he excelled as the rock star/politician in front of tens of thousands.

The conventional wisdom (an oxymoron, if there ever was one) got it all wrong.

Last night Senator Obama looked  calm, cool and collected, in control and in command. . His youthful energy was contained but obvious in his statesmanlike posture. . John McCain on the other hand looked, anxious, jittery, scattered–aimless even– and inescapably old from what appeared  to be a dowager’s hump as the cameras gave us panoramic views of him roaming the stage.

So what leads me to this conclusion? Watch the debate again and you will notice, if you didn’t already get the vague feeling when you watched last night, that Senator Obama’s choices in presenting himself to the studio audience and to the home audience contrasted sharply with Senator McCain’s.

Obama’s choices underscored his claim that in these turbulent times he is the leader whose judgement is superior to McCain’s while McCain’s  choices undercut his claim that he is the safer, more experienced steady hand to lead us through this crisis.

Why do I say this? What specifically did each candidate do that we could see on television that could possibly affect how we perceived their message?

Senator Obama consistently focussed on fewer that three studio audience members while he was answering questions in a soothing voice and he minimally moved his entire body in order to do this. He usually pivoted slightly or he simply turned his head in another direction. This meant that not only was he connecting with the studio audience but he looked as if he were speaking directly into the camera, and therefore to us at home. The cumulative effect of this over 90 minutes  allowed us to see Mr Obama as  a calm, thoughtful, caring and decisive candidate.

In stark contrast, Senator McCain, roamed the stage, addressing multiple audience members and sections of the stage, haphazardly changing his tone and demeanor and repeatedly (and inexplicably) twirling in place, even walking backwards for no apparent reason other than to be closer to ( but not at) his podium.

If you were watching the debate on television, you saw that Senator Obama was always within the frame of the screen and the cameraman did not have to chase him around  as he did with Senator McCain. At one point, out of what must have been sheer frustration on the part of the director, you saw both candidates on a split screen, and even then McCain couldn’t be contained in the frame.

The fact that the camera had to make such an effort to follow Senator McCain, he came off as erratic, uncertain and unfocussed. It didn’t help matters any that, unlike Obama, he never moved the microphone from his right hand, which meant that he was always forced to move his left arm only in order to make a point. This meant that his gestures were at once more highly exaggerated and repetitive.  He could clearly be seen gripping the microphone tightly which made him look stiff and unnatural, as if he had suffered some sort of stroke which only affected the right side of his upper body.

On television, he came across as one of those grandpas who spend their spare time trying to keep someone (perhaps,”that guy”) off his lawn. This is hardly the image one wants to portray to an electorate looking for leadership in a crisis.

If it’s the case that Mr. Obama won the debate last night, as is the consensus, it is important to understand that it was in good measure because he was able to make us see him connecting to regular people and the television audience, undercutting any of the doubts that he is elitist, unprepared, and of unfit judgement to be Commander in Chief. He was able to accomplish this because of what he said, yes. But the image he projected on television underscored his message. The same cannot be said for Senator McCain.

TheBestDressedList.com

TomKolovos.com


September 30, 2008

Sarah, Plain and Tall(tale)

With my apologies to Patricia MacLachlan, let me tell you a tale about loneliness and abandonment.

John, a “maverick” who, in 8 years of political marriage to his party’s president voted for 90% of the president’s legislative agenda, finds himself saddened by his chances to successfully distance himself from the selfsame disasterous economic and military agenda he voted for so he can now become President himself.

Somewhere in one of his eight homes, he is also saddened that his opponent, an elitist African American upstart half his age and who was raised by a single mother on food stamps, picked a champion of the working class and expert on foreign affairs as his vice presidential candidate.

Even his couture clad, brewing-fortune heiress wife is unable to console him from his public admission that he knows very little about economic matters, which suddenly matter very much to the voters.

Clearly unable to to handle the the burden himself, he decides to put out feelers for an upstart half his age of his very own to put on the presidential ticket.

He asks a few buddies, perhaps some randy buddies, and they tell him that putting a woman on the ticket would show the other side that he meant fundamentally sound business.

So they look around for a political bride.

They find a really good one in Maine, but decide that she isn’t young enough or much of an upstart, so they send her packing.

Suddenly, as if she were a credit card sent through the mail without a FICO credit check, someone pops up on their radar. Her name is Sarah.

She is from Alaska and she is eager, really eager and more than willing to travel down to the lower 48 to take the job immediately. The randy friends like that she was a former beauty pageant contestant and although she is married with children and a potential future ex son in law, it means that she has plenty of practice in the interview portion of her pageants to give confusing, nonsensical answers to difficult questions, and such as.

She seems like the kind of gal that can really read the heck out of an electrifying speech, which some friend of John’s could write and pepper with truthiness. No need to bother the FBI to do a background check.

Just as John had hoped, his plan succeeds beautifully. Within hours of the political marriage, they manage to steal the political thunder from their elitist community organizing upstart opponent. Everyone is talking about Sarah!

Oh, and how much does Sarah like talking about her Alaska homeland which she misses very much. To relieve her homesickness, she paints beautiful, fanciful pictures with words about her life there and the shores of Alaska and their proximity to a far away land called Russia. She even talks about the strategic proximity of her homeland to the exotic land of Canada.

But after a severe economic crisis threatens to force the entire world to party like it’s 1929, John is afraid they may lose the election and he may be forced to sell the entire country to China.

When Sarah leaves to go to the United Nations and on national television with Katie Couric to talk more about Alaska, John panics. Fearing Sarah may not survive the return trip, he declares that he will suspend his campaign and cancel the scheduled debate with his upstart opponent to go to Wahington to help fix the economic meltdown that a week earlier he had declared didn’t exist.

In his haste to get to Washington, he forgets to close down any of his campaign offices or stop running any of his campaign ads on television. He also forgets his haste, since, having cancelled an interview with David Letterman because he has suspended his campaign, he goes to Katie Couric’s CBS office instead, where it turns out he decides to be interviewed. David Letterman feels lonely and abandoned..

In the end, John’s fears are well founded. Sarah does not survive the return trip. Actually, she is politely asked not to return, abandoned really, by one of her most influential admirers at the National Review. She’s had enough of Sarah’s tall tales. She admonishes that “if BS were currency, Sarah… could bail out Wall Street herself.”

Sarah is now working on learning to print currency, and in her spare time, cold fusion. (It’s cold in Alaska and her parents say there’s nothing that their daughter can’t do.) She plans to report on her results this Thursday nite.


TomKolovos.com

September 28, 2008

The Sarah Palin School of Resume Building

During the past few days I’ve been trying to put the finishing touches on the redesign of my website. A Higher power willing, the new home page will be up today with the rest of the pages gradually coming along in two weeks.

One of the pages I still have to redo is the “about tom” page, which essentially serves as my virtual/online resume.

Watching Sarah Palin speed date her way to foreign policy cred at the United Nations yesterday made me think how much more impressive my fashion credentials would be if I followed her example:

met Calvin Klein once in Chicago and saw him once walking the boardwalk on Fire Island with David Geffen.  I’ve stood in line with Christy Turlington at O’Hare waiting for a limo. I’ve met Todd Oldham and Zac Pozen. I’ve had dinner with Rubin Singer and his staff. Rubin worked for both Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass.

I’ve dished about Condoleza Rice’s wardrobe with Albert Kreimler of Akris.

I’ve  rescued away Thierry Mugler from hangers on by asking him to tell me how his then recent interview in Time magazine with the art critic Linda Nochlin (whose essays I used to teach, not ban) came about. I was wearing a Dolce and Gabbana vest. This happened on Mykonos, no less.

You can, if you wish really hard, see parts of Turkey, our strategic NATO ally in The War Against Terror, from Mykonos.

I’ve slept with someone who’s slept with Marc Jacobs (and who hasn’t, you say) and no one got anyone pregnant.

Probably because none of our mothers were hockey moms.

introduced Narciso Rodriguez to Michelle Obama. I styled the first magazine cover with Michelle who favors Maria Pinto’s clothes. Maria Pinto used to be an assistant to Geoffrey Beene. Geoffrey Beene reprimanded Narciso for copying his clothes. So, by Palin logic, I’ve also met Mr. Beene, twice(!)–although he’s dead.

Geoffrey Beene’s signature fragrance was called Grey Flannel, and tonite I will be wearing a grey Band of Outsiders three piece suit to the Giorgio Armani party sponsored by W magazine, which this month has Anne Hathaway on its cover. She was one of the stars of The Devil Wears Prada. Prada used to own Helmut Lang which is now designed by Nicole and Michael Colovos.

As Bette Midler (who I have seen in concert) would say: “Shall I go on?”

see KATIE COURIC’S INTERVIEW  part 1

part 2

TheBestDressedList.com

September 21, 2008

Back in Black (from the bridge to nowhere)

I’m back!

I have not blogged for almost 3 months and over the next few moths maybe I can find the time to tell you why.

Let’s start with why I’m back to begin with. Since I started blogging for nbc5.com, I’ve been posting my picks for the best and worst dressed celebs at the major awards shows. Hey, it’s frivolous fun and at the end of the day not a dumb thing to do when your website is called TheBestDressedList.com.

Since the Emmy Awards will be handed out tonite, I will post the obligatory list tomorrow.

But in a week in which the headlines have been about the  surprise(?) enormous mismanagement of the U.S. economy and the reality that we face an international global economic collapse that would make the Great Depression look like a trip to Disneyland, I’ll be honest with you, the list of who is wearing what will be frivolous.

As an image consultant, I’m sometimes asked a really important question: “Can a client who has very little substance, make up for it by finessing great style?” Quite frankly  I’m surprised I’m not asked this question more often. My answer is always: “No. Not in the long run.”

The reason I believe this to be true is because if great style, or any style at all, could be a substitute for substance, it would have to be based on smoke and mirrors, misrepresentations and, a word we are uncomfortable using publicly, lies. Eventually, the truth will come out and the charade is over.

Or maybe not. Maybe not if we all really want to collectively continue to believe the charade because it’s more comforting than the truth.

As I write this, I defy anyone to suggest to me that ordinary Americans have the slightest clue about the global economic implications of the last week. While I’m at it, I defy anyone in the Bush administration to have explained it to me sometimebefore this week.

It’s going to take a long time and, OMFG, a lot of my money and yours before the charade is exposed and we can go back to hitting our collective “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” snooze button.

Funny enough–well, funny only in a black comedy ( and I don’t mean TheJeffersons)– the political landscape in the country is facing an equally crucial wake up call. I had no idea how utterly naive it would seem in 2008, when it seemed perfectly logical in 2007, for me to tell USA Today that:

“This is an election, maybe the first one since Kennedy-Nixon, where appearance really does matter, because we have credible female, black, Hispanic candidates, style and substance may actually be competitive, or even equally important to the public.”

Suddenly, it doesn’t really matter how many sources have picked up that quote or in how many foreign languages. As of the day Sarah Palin joined the the Republican presidential ticket, substance has taken a seat at the very back of the political tour bus. How Ms. Palin, and therefore John McCain,  has been packaged to the public in this election will make it possible for those of us who grapple with image, either for a living or academically, to think, rethink, publish, blog and (maybe even blush) for years to come.

After a lot of thought and head scratching, I have lots to say on the subject ofimage and politics in this election. I will share them with you in blog size bites in the next few week/months. (Yes, Marcus, I know this blog is too long….)

Enjoy the Emmys tonite.