Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





Join Zipcar and get $25 in free driving!

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
Create Your Badge





www.flickr.com





Instagram






Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Contact The Media
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State





Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







Archives
<< current
ARCHIVES
4/27/03 - 5/4/03 5/4/03 - 5/11/03 8/3/03 - 8/10/03 8/10/03 - 8/17/03 8/17/03 - 8/24/03 8/24/03 - 8/31/03 8/31/03 - 9/7/03 9/7/03 - 9/14/03 9/14/03 - 9/21/03 9/21/03 - 9/28/03 9/28/03 - 10/5/03 10/5/03 - 10/12/03 10/12/03 - 10/19/03 10/19/03 - 10/26/03 10/26/03 - 11/2/03 11/2/03 - 11/9/03 11/9/03 - 11/16/03 11/16/03 - 11/23/03 11/23/03 - 11/30/03 11/30/03 - 12/7/03 12/7/03 - 12/14/03 12/14/03 - 12/21/03 12/21/03 - 12/28/03 12/28/03 - 1/4/04 1/4/04 - 1/11/04 1/11/04 - 1/18/04 1/18/04 - 1/25/04 1/25/04 - 2/1/04 2/1/04 - 2/8/04 2/8/04 - 2/15/04 2/15/04 - 2/22/04 2/22/04 - 2/29/04 2/29/04 - 3/7/04 3/7/04 - 3/14/04 3/14/04 - 3/21/04 3/21/04 - 3/28/04 3/28/04 - 4/4/04 4/4/04 - 4/11/04 4/11/04 - 4/18/04 4/18/04 - 4/25/04 4/25/04 - 5/2/04 5/2/04 - 5/9/04 5/9/04 - 5/16/04 5/16/04 - 5/23/04 5/23/04 - 5/30/04 6/6/04 - 6/13/04 6/13/04 - 6/20/04 6/20/04 - 6/27/04 6/27/04 - 7/4/04 7/4/04 - 7/11/04 7/11/04 - 7/18/04 7/18/04 - 7/25/04 7/25/04 - 8/1/04 8/1/04 - 8/8/04 8/8/04 - 8/15/04 8/15/04 - 8/22/04 8/22/04 - 8/29/04 8/29/04 - 9/5/04 9/5/04 - 9/12/04 9/12/04 - 9/19/04 9/19/04 - 9/26/04 9/26/04 - 10/3/04 10/3/04 - 10/10/04 10/10/04 - 10/17/04 10/17/04 - 10/24/04 10/24/04 - 10/31/04 10/31/04 - 11/7/04 11/14/04 - 11/21/04 11/21/04 - 11/28/04 11/28/04 - 12/5/04 12/5/04 - 12/12/04 12/12/04 - 12/19/04 12/19/04 - 12/26/04 12/26/04 - 1/2/05 1/2/05 - 1/9/05 1/9/05 - 1/16/05 1/16/05 - 1/23/05 1/23/05 - 1/30/05 1/30/05 - 2/6/05 2/6/05 - 2/13/05 2/13/05 - 2/20/05 2/20/05 - 2/27/05 2/27/05 - 3/6/05 3/6/05 - 3/13/05 3/13/05 - 3/20/05 3/20/05 - 3/27/05 3/27/05 - 4/3/05 4/3/05 - 4/10/05 4/10/05 - 4/17/05 4/17/05 - 4/24/05 4/24/05 - 5/1/05 5/1/05 - 5/8/05 5/15/05 - 5/22/05 6/5/05 - 6/12/05 7/24/05 - 7/31/05 7/31/05 - 8/7/05 8/7/05 - 8/14/05 8/14/05 - 8/21/05 8/21/05 - 8/28/05 9/4/05 - 9/11/05 9/11/05 - 9/18/05 9/18/05 - 9/25/05 9/25/05 - 10/2/05 10/2/05 - 10/9/05 10/9/05 - 10/16/05 10/16/05 - 10/23/05 10/23/05 - 10/30/05 10/30/05 - 11/6/05 11/6/05 - 11/13/05 11/13/05 - 11/20/05 11/20/05 - 11/27/05 12/4/05 - 12/11/05 12/11/05 - 12/18/05 1/1/06 - 1/8/06 1/8/06 - 1/15/06 1/15/06 - 1/22/06 1/22/06 - 1/29/06 1/29/06 - 2/5/06 2/5/06 - 2/12/06 2/12/06 - 2/19/06 2/19/06 - 2/26/06 2/26/06 - 3/5/06 3/5/06 - 3/12/06 3/12/06 - 3/19/06 3/19/06 - 3/26/06 3/26/06 - 4/2/06 4/2/06 - 4/9/06 4/9/06 - 4/16/06 4/23/06 - 4/30/06 4/30/06 - 5/7/06 5/7/06 - 5/14/06 5/14/06 - 5/21/06 5/21/06 - 5/28/06 6/11/06 - 6/18/06 6/18/06 - 6/25/06 6/25/06 - 7/2/06 7/2/06 - 7/9/06 7/30/06 - 8/6/06 9/10/06 - 9/17/06 9/17/06 - 9/24/06 10/8/06 - 10/15/06 10/29/06 - 11/5/06 11/5/06 - 11/12/06 11/12/06 - 11/19/06 11/26/06 - 12/3/06 12/3/06 - 12/10/06 12/17/06 - 12/24/06 12/24/06 - 12/31/06 12/31/06 - 1/7/07 1/21/07 - 1/28/07 1/28/07 - 2/4/07 2/4/07 - 2/11/07 2/11/07 - 2/18/07 2/18/07 - 2/25/07 2/25/07 - 3/4/07 3/4/07 - 3/11/07 3/11/07 - 3/18/07 3/18/07 - 3/25/07 3/25/07 - 4/1/07 6/24/07 - 7/1/07 7/1/07 - 7/8/07 7/8/07 - 7/15/07 7/15/07 - 7/22/07 7/22/07 - 7/29/07 7/29/07 - 8/5/07 8/5/07 - 8/12/07 8/12/07 - 8/19/07 8/19/07 - 8/26/07 8/26/07 - 9/2/07 9/9/07 - 9/16/07 9/16/07 - 9/23/07 9/23/07 - 9/30/07 9/30/07 - 10/7/07 10/7/07 - 10/14/07 10/14/07 - 10/21/07 11/4/07 - 11/11/07 11/11/07 - 11/18/07 12/9/07 - 12/16/07 1/6/08 - 1/13/08 1/13/08 - 1/20/08 1/27/08 - 2/3/08 2/3/08 - 2/10/08 2/10/08 - 2/17/08 2/24/08 - 3/2/08 3/2/08 - 3/9/08 3/9/08 - 3/16/08 3/16/08 - 3/23/08 3/23/08 - 3/30/08 3/30/08 - 4/6/08 4/6/08 - 4/13/08 4/13/08 - 4/20/08 4/20/08 - 4/27/08 4/27/08 - 5/4/08 5/4/08 - 5/11/08 5/11/08 - 5/18/08 5/18/08 - 5/25/08 5/25/08 - 6/1/08 6/1/08 - 6/8/08 6/15/08 - 6/22/08 6/22/08 - 6/29/08 6/29/08 - 7/6/08 7/13/08 - 7/20/08 7/20/08 - 7/27/08 8/3/08 - 8/10/08 8/10/08 - 8/17/08 8/17/08 - 8/24/08 8/24/08 - 8/31/08 8/31/08 - 9/7/08 9/7/08 - 9/14/08 9/21/08 - 9/28/08 9/28/08 - 10/5/08 10/5/08 - 10/12/08 10/12/08 - 10/19/08 10/19/08 - 10/26/08 10/26/08 - 11/2/08 11/2/08 - 11/9/08 11/9/08 - 11/16/08 11/16/08 - 11/23/08 11/30/08 - 12/7/08 12/7/08 - 12/14/08 12/14/08 - 12/21/08 12/28/08 - 1/4/09 1/4/09 - 1/11/09 1/11/09 - 1/18/09 1/18/09 - 1/25/09 2/1/09 - 2/8/09 2/8/09 - 2/15/09 2/15/09 - 2/22/09 3/29/09 - 4/5/09 5/3/09 - 5/10/09 5/10/09 - 5/17/09 5/17/09 - 5/24/09 5/24/09 - 5/31/09 5/31/09 - 6/7/09 6/7/09 - 6/14/09 6/14/09 - 6/21/09 7/12/09 - 7/19/09 7/19/09 - 7/26/09 7/26/09 - 8/2/09 8/2/09 - 8/9/09 8/9/09 - 8/16/09 8/16/09 - 8/23/09 8/23/09 - 8/30/09 8/30/09 - 9/6/09 9/20/09 - 9/27/09 9/27/09 - 10/4/09 10/4/09 - 10/11/09 10/11/09 - 10/18/09 10/18/09 - 10/25/09 10/25/09 - 11/1/09 11/1/09 - 11/8/09 11/8/09 - 11/15/09 11/15/09 - 11/22/09 11/22/09 - 11/29/09 11/29/09 - 12/6/09 12/6/09 - 12/13/09 12/13/09 - 12/20/09 12/20/09 - 12/27/09 12/27/09 - 1/3/10 1/3/10 - 1/10/10 1/10/10 - 1/17/10 1/17/10 - 1/24/10 1/24/10 - 1/31/10 1/31/10 - 2/7/10 2/7/10 - 2/14/10 2/14/10 - 2/21/10 2/21/10 - 2/28/10 3/14/10 - 3/21/10 3/21/10 - 3/28/10 3/28/10 - 4/4/10 4/4/10 - 4/11/10 4/11/10 - 4/18/10 4/18/10 - 4/25/10 4/25/10 - 5/2/10 5/2/10 - 5/9/10 5/9/10 - 5/16/10 5/16/10 - 5/23/10 5/23/10 - 5/30/10 5/30/10 - 6/6/10 6/6/10 - 6/13/10 6/13/10 - 6/20/10 6/20/10 - 6/27/10 6/27/10 - 7/4/10 7/4/10 - 7/11/10 7/11/10 - 7/18/10 7/18/10 - 7/25/10 7/25/10 - 8/1/10 9/19/10 - 9/26/10 10/3/10 - 10/10/10 10/10/10 - 10/17/10 10/17/10 - 10/24/10 10/24/10 - 10/31/10 10/31/10 - 11/7/10 11/14/10 - 11/21/10 11/28/10 - 12/5/10 12/5/10 - 12/12/10 12/12/10 - 12/19/10 12/19/10 - 12/26/10 12/26/10 - 1/2/11 1/2/11 - 1/9/11 1/9/11 - 1/16/11 1/16/11 - 1/23/11 1/23/11 - 1/30/11 1/30/11 - 2/6/11 2/6/11 - 2/13/11 2/13/11 - 2/20/11 2/20/11 - 2/27/11 2/27/11 - 3/6/11 3/6/11 - 3/13/11 3/13/11 - 3/20/11 3/20/11 - 3/27/11 3/27/11 - 4/3/11 4/3/11 - 4/10/11 4/10/11 - 4/17/11 4/17/11 - 4/24/11 4/24/11 - 5/1/11 5/1/11 - 5/8/11 5/15/11 - 5/22/11 5/22/11 - 5/29/11 5/29/11 - 6/5/11 6/12/11 - 6/19/11 6/19/11 - 6/26/11 6/26/11 - 7/3/11 7/10/11 - 7/17/11 7/31/11 - 8/7/11 8/21/11 - 8/28/11 8/28/11 - 9/4/11 9/18/11 - 9/25/11 9/25/11 - 10/2/11 10/2/11 - 10/9/11 10/9/11 - 10/16/11 10/16/11 - 10/23/11 10/23/11 - 10/30/11 11/6/11 - 11/13/11 11/13/11 - 11/20/11 11/20/11 - 11/27/11 11/27/11 - 12/4/11 12/4/11 - 12/11/11 12/11/11 - 12/18/11 12/25/11 - 1/1/12 1/1/12 - 1/8/12 2/5/12 - 2/12/12 2/19/12 - 2/26/12 3/4/12 - 3/11/12 4/1/12 - 4/8/12 4/15/12 - 4/22/12 4/29/12 - 5/6/12 5/13/12 - 5/20/12 5/20/12 - 5/27/12 6/24/12 - 7/1/12 7/1/12 - 7/8/12 7/8/12 - 7/15/12 7/15/12 - 7/22/12 7/22/12 - 7/29/12 7/29/12 - 8/5/12 8/5/12 - 8/12/12 8/12/12 - 8/19/12 8/19/12 - 8/26/12 8/26/12 - 9/2/12 9/2/12 - 9/9/12 9/9/12 - 9/16/12 9/16/12 - 9/23/12 9/23/12 - 9/30/12 10/7/12 - 10/14/12 10/21/12 - 10/28/12 11/4/12 - 11/11/12 12/9/12 - 12/16/12 12/23/12 - 12/30/12 1/6/13 - 1/13/13 1/13/13 - 1/20/13 1/20/13 - 1/27/13 1/27/13 - 2/3/13 2/3/13 - 2/10/13 2/10/13 - 2/17/13 2/17/13 - 2/24/13 3/3/13 - 3/10/13 3/17/13 - 3/24/13 3/31/13 - 4/7/13 4/7/13 - 4/14/13 4/21/13 - 4/28/13 4/28/13 - 5/5/13 5/5/13 - 5/12/13 5/12/13 - 5/19/13 5/19/13 - 5/26/13 6/16/13 - 6/23/13 6/23/13 - 6/30/13 7/14/13 - 7/21/13 8/11/13 - 8/18/13 8/25/13 - 9/1/13 9/8/13 - 9/15/13 9/22/13 - 9/29/13 10/13/13 - 10/20/13 10/20/13 - 10/27/13 11/10/13 - 11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16



Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


< chicago blogs >





Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Monday, January 21, 2013  
I haven't spouted off about a pop cultural topic in a while. Indulge me as I indulge my opinions. Or not. It's my blog and I'll opine if I want, knowing full well my opinion is of no significance to anyone, really, and especially not to the parties involved.

The topic is: Disappointment.

The catalyst is: The Annie Leibovitz post-Sandy fashion photographs.

When my brother went to college he left behind a crate of old Rolling Stone magazines he collected. I devoured them, trying to learn everything I could about rock and roll. In the process I learned a lot about photography, too.  So I grew up with Annie Leibovitz as a role model. She was a serious photographer, a visionary artist, and she was breaking the gender barrier in what was then a male dominated industry. In my teenaged estimation, she was breaking barriers and opening doors for women, and was a creative visionary to boot. The only thing cooler than being a rock and roll photographer was being a rock and roll guitarist, and I debated that being a photographer could be even cooler than playing in a band because as a photographer you got to see all kinds of bands. As a musician, you're touring and rehearsing and probably not seeing a lot of other bands live.

I even wrote a term paper about women in professionally creative industries and used Annie as a case study. In that term paper I wrote something like, "Annie didn't just work at Rolling Stone, she wasn't just a photo editor back in the office or a studio photographer working under the safety of a controlled environment, she was a concert photographer. She was out there in the rock and roll trenches photographing all of it, and a lot of it's not pretty or glamorous. The recording industry is dominated by males. It's difficult for even the most talented women to be taken seriously as anything other than a backstage groupie, but Annie broke that barrier and got the well-deserved artistic respect she deserved."

Yes. I was an impressionable teenager and yes I had a girl crush on her.  But what I wrote still holds true.

I grew up and grew more aware. I discovered many other photographers, old and new. And still, always, Annie's work impressed me. I don't always care for the subject matter, especially because it's so celebrity and fashion oriented, but when I take a step back and think, "Hmmmm, let's pretend I was tasked with shooting a photo of _________. How would I do it? What would I try to bring out of the subject and how would I light them? How would I convey what I see and what I feel about their work?" And often my response is, "She nailed it. She chose the best options and did what she had to do because it's her job." Perhaps photographing Miley Cyrus is the dumbest job on the planet, ever, but who among us has never had to do something really stupid, meaningless and demeaning for work?

I even found solace in some of Annie's more vacuous subject matter. I used to keep a stash of what I called "motivational resources" in my desk at work. Mainly magazines, clipped articles, books, or music to either inspire me, enlighten me or, most frequently, console me. When I had an especially rough day at work I took a 15 minute mental health break, a sort of psyche cleanse. The rule was that I couldn't just look at Vanity Fair or Vogue or read a favorite passage of Hitchhiker's Guide or listen to Doolittle. Part of the process, a rule I made for myself, is that I had to dig deeper, go through all the steps that had to happen for that magazine or book or song to end up in my desk drawer.

"I bought the magazine at the drug store where someone's job is to fill the magazine rack. They get paid to place magazines on racks. Someone's job is to drive the truck that delivers the magazines to the drugstores. There are people at distribution centers who keep track of sales figures for those drug stores. They get paid to compute the number of magazines sold at that drug store and project future sales figures based on sales history and demographic data and advertising rates. There people at a printing press who get paid to load stacks of magazines into trucks heading to distribution centers. There are people who run bindery equipment that cuts and glues the printed pages together, sometimes they have to poly-bag the magazine bundled with another magazine or insert. Sometimes that's based on zip code. The bindery people don't know how it's concluded that people in 60XXX zip codes should get an insert for Mag Mile Shopping, they just know it has to get done. There are people who operate the presses that print the pages. It's digital, now, but there's still an art to color correcting inks and making sure it looks "right." They know it looks right because there's a press check where an art director and maybe the photographer stands over the press operator and their boss, the production manager, and painstakingly look at several press proofs and choose which ones they like. A lot of people have a lot of jobs that delivered this magazine that contains this photograph of this stupid celebrity. The celebrity doesn't matter, the photograph doesn't even really matter, but without both, there would be no magazine and a lot of people wouldn't have jobs. Does the photographer ever think about the guy on the truck delivering the magazines? When the photographer is setting up the lighting and composing the shot, are they thinking about the woman whose job is to put magazines (that will feature those photographs) on a rack in a drug store?"

I used to find going through that chain of events strangely motivating and inspiring. I used to think that certain photographers and writers did think about all those people when they were photographing or writing, and on the days when they were tasked with a stupid assignment and wanted to refuse, they stopped and thought, "Wait a second. I'm part of a process, if the woman in the bindery department can work third shift while raising three children, I can photograph the celebrity of the month or write the story on the pros and cons of soy milk in coffee." I wanted to believe that motivated them not just to keep going, but to find a different angle or lighting, find something innovative or artistic or inspiring or, especially, revealing in even the most trivial subject matter. Annie always comes through artistically and professionally.

So yes, I carry some serious history and bias about Annie Leibovitz.

Consequently what I am about to say might surprise you.

I don't like Annie Leibovitz's post-Sandy photos in the upcoming issue of Vogue

Are they distasteful? If you look to Vogue for news, then yes, they're in very poor taste. But I'll volley back with, "Looking to Vogue for news is not in the best taste, either, so, touché." 

Are they demeaning, degrading and disrespectful to the people affected by Sandy? I'm not one of the people affected by Sandy so I can't answer that. Ditto the professions featured -  firefighters, National Guardsmen, power company workers, etc.

Are they silly? Yes.

Putting Sandy aside for a minute, are they good photographs? Not really. At least not when you take Annie's body of work into consideration.

Annie has a way of capturing something more from her subjects. Even the dumbest fashion spread can take on a sense of irony or bemusement or contempt when shot by Annie. She rarely gives us mediocrity. And sadly, to my eye, artistically, that's what these shots are: Mediocre.

They could have been so much more. 

I want to believe there's an editor or photo editor who directed the shoots and chose those shots, shushing or talking over Annie's vision, and that there are some poignant, quality photographs of the actual workers taking the main light that didn't get published.

But that doesn't excuse Annie, Ms. Leibovitz. She agreed to take the photos. Maybe it was under duress, but I kinda doubt it because it's now, 2013 (2012 when they were shot) and she's Annie Leibovitz, and I'm guessing she doesn't have to take every assignment presented to her.

Sometimes Vogue tries to be intelligent, tries to pretend that it has an editorially significant point of view on something other than Fashion Week. I find this laughable and misguided. Know thyself. Then write about what you know. I have no doubt there are people out there relying on Vogue for their news on current events, and maybe some of those people didn't hear about Sandy and the subsequent devastation, so maybe featuring a fashion shoot amidst the recovery process is the only way to reach those people.

But. Wouldn't the bigger favor to those people be to feature a well-written (but easy to read, no big words) article about the continuing tragedy, and feature poignant photos of people affected by Sandy and the brave people who worked through the storm trying to save lives and offer assistance? Photos sans designer clothes and fashion models, that is.

That's not really Vogue's thing, of course, and it sounds silly to feature that sort of reporting in a fashion magazine.

And therein lies my point. Don't try to be something you're not. Stay true to yourself.

Vogue is Vogue, and their purpose, their reason for being, is to feature expensive fashions hung on vapid, vacuous models who made career choices to wear clothes and get their hair and makeup done for a living. And in that respect those models may very well represent their segment of society's feelings about Sandy: Apart from it, not affected by it, concerned with other things, prettier things, more expensive things that can be purchased. The models in the photographs don't look part of the scenes in which they're posing, and not just because they're wearing clothes that cost more than the annual salaries of many of the workers posing with them. They look like the stoned bimbos badly air guitaring in Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love video. The lights are on, but they're not home. I'm willing to bet one of my college diplomas that the models in the photographs care more, and know more, about the clothes they're wearing than what the workers they're posing with actually do for a living.

And maybe that's the riddle within the riddle, maybe the joke's on Vogue, maybe Annie was showing how meaningless and stupid fashion is. Maybe her point is that Vogue would go to the extreme of placing fashion models in expensive clothes next to firemen and power company workers just to appear relevant, and wow, aren't they stupid? "Look how stupid Vogue is, everyone, here's the photographic proof."

But it's still a missed opportunity. For Vogue and for Annie. If Vogue felt utterly compelled to do "something" on Sandy, why not feature women whose jobs require them to wear Dickie's brand work clothes in the pages of Vogue for a feature on Sandy and the people who are rebuilding Long Island? It doesn't get more industrial chic than that. Why not show the beauty of people who live and work there?

Or. Why not just leave the real reporting to real publications?

It's not that Annie doesn't have what it takes to shoot poignant photographs and portraits of the Sandy aftermath. She does have the stuff, the vision, and the sensitivity. And yet, the photos are as dull and empty as the models' vacant gazes, and as flat as their chests. The clothes stand out above all else, and naturally that's the point of the photos. But there is nothing that indicates those are Annie Leibovitz's photos - they could have been shot by anyone with the right camera equipment.  

Anyone can hold a camera, point it at something and snap the shutter. Even blind people do it (with poignant results). Given proper equipment and lighting, anyone can shoot a serviceable photograph of just about any subject. But. Where fundamental technique ends, artistry and vision begin, and those are difficult, and often impossible to define aspects of photography.

Photographers often respond to queries about their process with a simple shrug and, "It's just what/how I see." And that's the beauty and fascination of photography. Photography gives us the opportunity to view the world the way other people see it.

And I (desperately) want to believe that Annie Leibovitz doesn't see the aftermath of Sandy the way it's portrayed in her Vogue photographs.

Idolizing people is a dangerous game. Holding anyone up as a legend or hero is fraught with emotional complications. Holding them in high regard or esteem because of something they worked hard to accomplish? Yes, of course, credibility equals respect. And we can all use inspiration in the form of a "someone who did it and succeeded" story. But you must also always remember they're human, so they're fallible. If you don't keep that in mind, you're in for disappointment. (Anyone want to hazard a guess at how many signed copies of Not Without My Bike and yellow rubber wristbands are up for bid on eBay or in the donation bins at Goodwill this week?)

It has "bothered" me that Annie chooses the high fashion and celebrity worlds as her subject matter because I fear it can trivialize her and her talent. But I've made a lot of compromises in my own career, so who am I to judge?

And then along came Sandy. 

And those photographs.

Who's being trivialized? The firemen, power company workers, Coast Guard, National Guardsmen of Long Island.

The Coast Guard and National Guard shots provoke me the most. The story of the shots is people hard at work, responding to an emergency. And there, in the way, are perfectly coiffed girls in strappy 5" heels and flowing evening gowns and miniskirts. The Cost Guard shot features women who look like they're at a party on Sean Combes yacht in St. Tropez, not rushing to a water emergency on a Coast Guard boat off Long Island. Good thing the Coast Guard was there, because the models in the photograph might get hypothermia what with all the cold spray from the water and wearing those flimsy, filmy backless gowns and 5" strappy heels. There are three models in that photo, in diaphanous white gowns, perhaps alluding to sirens Pisinoe, Aglaope and Thelxiepi. But if that's the case, is the Coast Guard escorting them away, ridding the area of their danger, or is the Coast Guard under their influence and rendered incapable of assisting in emergencies?  Perhaps it's just a more simplistic play on the word siren? Whatever the intended artistic vision or story, the reality is that they're not wearing life jackets and they're wearing unsafe footwear for that area of a boat. (I know this because I was a Sea Explorer and took numerous Red Cross Water and Boating Safety classes. Plus it's just common sense.) Perhaps the message is that fashion gets in the way of real work. If so, I can applaud that, job well done, Annie, because in that case the joke is on Vogue. But I fear that's not the case. I would love to choose to believe that, but, I don't like to delude myself.

Even the choice of models could have turned this debacle around, or at least offered an element of awareness. If the real women of the utility companies and Coast Guard are too real for the pages of Vogue, (I don't think that, but because they didn't go that route with these photos, I presume Vogue's editorial staff does) at the very least, instead of the usual stick thin, fragile, anemic looking waifs with size 00 clothes draped over them, why not use more fit, muscular models who could actually lift a case of soup to load onto a truck or throw a life ring far enough to reach someone stranded in the water? Those women could be made up and put in expensive clothing, but at least remove the element of "they're just in the way."

Years ago I attended a swanky do with my then boyfriend. It was a black tie event at a chic gallery of a museum so we were dressed to the nines (or at least to the sevens), and I even got my hair done and had a professional manicure. After the event we couldn't get a cab, so we walked a couple blocks hoping to find a cab further away from the throng of people leaving the event. We cut through a side street and chanced upon a dog who was bleeding and listless. I sacrificed the shawly cape thing I was wearing and we wrapped up the dog, found a cab and went to an emergency vet clinic. When we arrived, they took the dog to an exam room and instructed us to wait in the waiting room. It was 1 AM and the people in the waiting room looked like the people you'd expect to see in the waiting room of an emergency vet clinic at 1 AM. Most were in some sort of pajama-ish attire or sweats, tussled hair, the women either had no makeup or tear-smudged makeup, and they all looked tense, tired and worried. If a photo were snapped at that moment my boyfriend and I would have looked like we had too much to drink at a fancy party and stumbled into the wrong place - like Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan at a soup kitchen, self-unaware and our mere presence achingly snobbish. Even though our intentions were good, our reason for being there was sincere  - we were in the throes of an animal emergency, too - the photo would not tell that story. (The dog's story ended well - he was lost during a move and his humans had given flyers to all the animal clinics, yadda yadda yadda, happy ending for everyone.)

So I know, firsthand, these moments can happen. Emergencies happen without notice and we can end up looking disturbingly out of place just because of the clothing we happened to be wearing when the emergency hit. There are some infamous photos of people at the scene of disasters looking very normal or well-dressed, overdressed, wrongly dressed when juxtaposed against the backdrop of the aftermath of a recent crisis. That juxtaposition of normal life contrasted against life turned upside down tells a griping story: It can happen to anyone, at any time.

Maybe that's the story Annie was going for with these photos. But because the models lack the pained, shocked and worried expressions of people in the throes of a catastrophe, we can probably dismiss that hopeful theory.

Ultimately they're just silly fashion photos for a silly fashion magazine. It's silly to even devote any gray matter to the topic.

And the controversy is brewing up a lot of publicity for Vogue, a magazine that, like every other printed publication, is struggling to maintain relevance and ad revenue. And that is probably the real purpose behind the photos. Annie may have been a pawn in the game or an aware strategist in the game, either way there are still several huge missed opportunities for everyone involved with the photos, and especially for the Sandy victims.

Labels: , ,


12:11 AM

 
This page is powered by Blogger.