can anything be beautiful? part 3

for my final trick i’m going to unleash the hounds and have a good ol’ rant.. and try not to rack up a defamation case in the process.

when beautiful things are complete shit.
sorry artswipe, it’s not nearly as faececious as you’d like, i’m sure.

i like beautiful things, as you may know. right across the board too – i’m not too elitist about my beauty – beautiful houses, beautiful objects, beautiful artworks, beautiful landscapes, beautiful people, beautiful clothes (although you may not know it from my rockin’ wardrobe of Got Any Blacker?), beautiful shoes, beautiful food, beautiful books/magazines. but one of the things that i really see red about is when some of those beautiful things are actually full of shit.

my victim today is actually a ‘beautiful’ magazine. it purports to contain beautiful people, good design, interesting articles about interesting things, a possibly inspiring and worthwhile read. but when i picked a back-issue, the communications issue no less, of cream magazine, i almost vomited with frustration at the utter stupidity and ridiculousness of what lay beneath the ‘gorgeous’ exterior. my suggestion is that they actually save on printing and become a rag mag like ralph or FHM, ‘cos they’re not that far off being that kind of mag.

i should have realised with the lame cover. the two boys (almost famous NRL players) are wearing ridiculous fucking t-shirts that say ‘don’t believe the bull’ (oh the irony!!) and ‘text me i’m famous’ (which they are, but it still makes them a couple of jerks) and the girl posing all over them is wearing big colourful moon boots that only Rainbow Brite can get away with – and she’s a fucking cartoon character!!

but i kept an open mind, interested in what may be discussed about communication in this issue: ‘real’ fashion statements, Clever Body Language, The Telco Backlash, Smart Identity Cards and Transglobal Music. i figured that there would be at least some indepth discussion on a few of those topics.

you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake!

Alas. It was all lost on some really bad articles and tied together with some facile fashion shoots: the discussion about communication through fashion bitched about t-shirt splashed with “obscure words and numbers” (which i can understand), to be replaced by “clearer messages” like “My Girlfriend’s Out of Town” which, and i quote “after a little social lubrication they really do say something”….

…are you fucking kidding me? what do they really say?

the people wearing those shirts have no interest in communicating anything but “i’m a jerk off tart” or “actually, i don’t have a girlfriend, but i’m hoping that this shirt will help me look like some promiscous rebel instead of the complete tosser that i really am”.

the writers could have discussed the use of fashion in communicating ideas of identity, or the messages in social co-ordination, but no, they went for catchphrases and illogical references to Zoolander.

i’m a fair person and try to give things a second, or in this case, third chance. and seeing as it was the communications feature, there seemed a good opportunity to discuss telecommunications. maybe the increase in new technologies, the effects of them on modern interaction, all kinds of juicy, interesting stuff that their intelligent, stylish readers could engage with. instead, we get a bitch about Telstra. a lot like my bitch about Vodafone, but a lot less oomf (a bit like the service it was bitching about perhaps?). the difference is that my whinge was on a free blog about my random ramblings, but even then delved into ideas of modern brand communication and customer service. this article was actually just really embarassing.

those are just 2 examples, and i could go on about the design being quite empty and the choice of advertisers not reflecting the kind of magazine you would expect, etc, etc, etc.

the thing is, this is just one illustration of when beautiful things completely undermine their external glamour, freshness, excitement, style.. beauty, by being completely devoid of substance. just like bad sponge cake… or paris hilton.

as strong and inspiring as beauty is, it can be a tenuous connection to something that will always, always be overidden by something as simple as disappointment. and my disappointment was not necessarily that the articles aren’t great, or that the fashion shoots are bloody ridiculous (with text bubbles from beautifully lit models). that’s fine if it’s vice mag. i know what to expect from that kind of mag and they don’t sell themselves as anything more than that. but cream, and others like it, put themselves out there, dress themselves in haute couture and pitch themselves as a fine ‘lifestlye’ magazine, but treat me like an idiot who doesn’t know the difference. it’s insulting.

if, in a weeks’ time, i have posted a retraction, it’s only for legal reasons. but seriously, i really hope that if someone from cream does read this, that they may think about what i’ve said. in the whole scheme of things, i’m a nobody – hell, i didn’t even pay for the privilege of my rant, but i do know about presenting honest beauty to an audience (whatever form that may take) and i do have some understanding of communicating with people. and you are doing both of those things badly. really badly.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx