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Be Mine ♥

valentine

I came across an advert for bespoke classroom Valentine’s Day cards. Remember those lovely flimsy boxes of 35-40 (yes, classes were that large once) cartoon festooned cards? The envelopes were whisper thin and there were always a couple of extra tossed into the cellophane wrapped box for the inevitable grade school penmanship mishaps. A grade school consumer could choose from a collection of cherubic animals holding hearts and coyly asking the recipient to “Be Mine” or from themed collections (e.g., Winnie The Pooh, Charlie Brown, Strawberry Shortcake, etc.) The themed collections always posed a minor quandary as to the intent of the card exchange. Should a card reflect solely the interests of the giver (and thereby be best supported by the sender’s favorite characters?) Or should a card be chosen to please the recipient (no matter how little is known about the recipient?)

When giving a gift (and what else is a greeting card but a written gift) it’s best to think of the recipient. You might feel most comfortable/joyful in a novelty shop, but a whoopee cushion for your humorless uncle is going to fall flat. The point of giving something to someone else is to think of what pleases him or her and act on that thought. (This is why re-gifting is merely passive-aggression in a pretty package.) No one wants to receive something (card, gift, etc.) that merely communications; “Phew, checked You off the list!” Ouch.

So what to make of the advert mentioned above. This offer, from a photo-processing company, was to convert a head shot of one’s tyke into fetching classroom Valentine’s Day cards. Now unless my child is Elizabeth Taylor (and her signed photo is serious money in the bank for a second-grader) or (G-d Forbid!) missing; why would I want her/his photo plastered on distributed flyers cards? Does the parent (who would have to do this kind of high level card selection) honestly think’ “You know what would make my kid’s classmates really feel special?…” as they crop and save? Doubtful. My guess is that unlike the small child (with his/her developing sense of empathy and otherness) the parent thinks; “OMG how cute!” It’s not a crime to think one’s child is just precious, in fact the human race is dependent upon it. It’s just that it misses the point. We do things for other people to make other people feel good. That’s it. It really is that simple. Don’t believe me? Ask a child.

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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Holiday

 

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What Is Our Blue Eyeshadow?

When watching an old movie, how long does it take you to pinpoint the decade?  How long before you can identify the year?  Maybe I possess a (previously unidentified) talent, but I can guess the time period in about 2-3 minutes.  The women are the very first barometer.  Even in a women’s prison film, the style of dress, eyebrow and shoe should speak volumes.  If there are no women handy, men will do.  Hair, hats, cut of the pants, will all point to a decade if not a year.  For the more advanced player, do try a period film.  Cleopatra is a good example of such an exercise.  I’m no anthropologist, but I’m going to venture that there was no blue eyeshadow before the common era.

Parlor games aside, I am struck by the notion that I can not identify any style of dress or hair after the 1980s.  Of course I can still pinpoint a film’s time period.  Sort of.  By the cars and size of the mobile phones.  But the fashion and style?  Not really.  I would be willing to concede that one never notices what will eventually become iconic, while actually living in the period.  But, and this is a big but; I am referencing over 20 years of indistinguishable style and fashion!  If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.  Your assignment is to describe to me a working woman in 1998.  What is she wearing?

Now, I don’t necessarily think a loss of iconic time specific style will be the death of our society.  I just wonder how it happened.  Is it the result of cheaper mass marketed clothing?  Perhaps this is what comes from sanitizing the design process for competitive cable television?  Is it the result of brand worship?  Did America even know which shoes to fetishisize before the 1990s? Perhaps it is more positive: could it be that the fashion playing field has become so democratic that there is not one style we can pinpoint as that of a recent decade.  Or, is fashion now like public behavior; anything goes?  Does a generation of women who think nothing of styling their hair in public (often in the vicinity of my dinner) feel a specific style would stifle her spontaneous, chip clip creativity?  Is style just too committal?

Life will go on, no doubt.  But it makes me a little sad, that in my doterage, when I turn on my subcutaneous video imagery receptor and watch a film from my “youth” I won’t be able to imagine myself in the time period.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Style

 

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