Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Heart of Darkness

Does Vanity Fair want to make me angry? It's like they're legitimately trying to upset me. They must gather at their monthly editorial meetings and say, "Okay, guys, new issue's coming out, but there's nothing in here that will make Annie tear her hair out. What can we do to change that?"

I want to like Vanity Fair. It's a nice compilation of articles about books, film, politics, culture, fashion, etc. Most magazines push one topic--say, fashion--and have little tidbits about the rest. And I do enjoy a lot of their photography spreads. But come on, Vanity Fair. Stop sucking already!

First it was the fact that you can't feature a young actress without getting her naked. Forget Miley Cyrus's age. Just put some damn clothes on girls already. What are you, Rolling Stone?

And now their underage staff writer Kate Ahlborn writes the most pretentious, snobbish, immature article about Brooklyn and the NYC art scene ever to hit paper. How did anyone think this was good enough to publish?

She opens with this charmer:

"Somehow it happened that in all the years I’ve lived in New York City, I’d never been to Brooklyn. But when I heard that choreographer Noémie Lafrance had a new show opening in Williamsburg, I decided it was as good an occasion as any to venture beyond Manhattan for the first time...I’d heard from my more global friends that Brooklyn is a charming borough inhabited by cool young families, gourmet cheese shops, and creative intellectuals...But I’m what you might call a bona fide Manhattanite. Or, to be more precise, a bona fide Upper East Sider. I’ve traveled the world, I said to myself—how exotic could Brooklyn really be? "

By 'traveled the world' does she mean 'did study abroad in Paris?' Plus, she graduated from college in '07. How worldly can she be? Does she like to fancy herself as a Carrie Bradshaw? Did anyone else just vomit a little?

Moving on, she makes it to Brooklyn:

"Perhaps my tweed J. Crew jacket and Tory Burch ballet flats weren’t the best wardrobe choice for that day, but I overcame the fact that I was a total Williamsburg misfit and hoped my foreigner status wouldn’t be glaringly obvious to the natives. (It was.) After narrowly escaping death by skateboard on the Bedford subway platform, I made my way to a rickety building in what felt to me like Brooklyn’s outer banks."

Oh my God! J. Crew! Eep! How will Brooklynites stand you? Watch out, Kate--the hipsters are onto you!

For real? You're not headed into Compton, child. Also, have you never seen a skateboard before in Manhattan? Do you just take taxis places?

The performance piece Kate is going to see is all naked and uncomfortable for her. Okay, I get that. I probably would have felt weird, too, if someone told me “Draw on my naked body with wet crayons!” But didn't she do her research about the artist, Noémie Lafrance, beforehand? I can't imagine she did pretty pony pictures and suddenly broke out the erotic art. At least Kate gets to talk to Lafrance, who explains her piece. But Kate still isn't buying it:

"I have no doubt that Home will appeal to a certain subset of performance-goers, many of whom will find it illuminating and inspiring. But for the more mainstream audience member like me: don’t be fooled by her carefree Feist video or her incredible stairwell dance ('Descent,' choreographed in 2003). This is a much more intimate, much more erotic, and much more intense experience. (Did I mention that she touched my face?)"

Again, performance art like this is not for everyone. But can she stop reviewing it like a grossed out teenybopper? Sometimes art makes you uncomfortable, but you can talk about it like an adult. Save the squeamish references for cocktails with the girls.

I would say it's supposed to be funny or sarcastic, but I honestly don't think so. She's genuinely disturbed by her time in Brooklyn. So that just leaves us with an incredibly immature, snobbish article. I am so appalled by this review. Honestly, how did this kid get on staff, especially when mature writers are being fired left and right? If you look at the comments, apparently everyone feels the same. I'm not sure what Vanity Fair will do about this, but I hope they do something. But they'll probably just put more naked actresses on their covers and hope everyone will be too distracted t care.