I spent all day on this.


My TOMS are Vogue-approved (see page 853).

Since it’s the last day of September and I brought this behemoth all the way from the States and haven’t read it yet, this lazy Sunday is the day I sit down with Vogue’s September issue. I would like to a do a live blogging bit like she does on Glossed Over, but I still don’t have internet in my apartment. So I’ll just type up a text document.

Something that’s been coming up a lot lately, in my courses and the talks and just from living in the centre of a very arty little city is the concept of zeitgeist. I think I stopped believing in the Spirit of Time for a while, but it’s coming back strong in my life and I want to pay attention.

It’s 9 am. I’ve got half a cup of tea and three-and-a-half hours of laptop battery. Let’s go.

Gaga on the cover: her weight is an issue in the news right now. I think this cover would have been shot months ago, because I don’t see what everyone is talking about.

The number 916 is the biggest text on the cover. One of our professors said a magazine editor told a previous year’s class that numbers are the biggest draw for women’s magazines. That makes absolutely no sense to me.

Chelsea Clinton. Well, if they couldn’t get Hillary during the campaign, I guess her daughter, four years later, will do.

Oh, vintage covers on the fold-out. Might hang the 1892 version in my bathroom.

Mila Kunis for Dior? Cool.

Love all the colors on the Estee Lauder model’s face. Looks like a child got into mommy’s make-up, but had help from a professional and very precise make-up artist.

Louis Vuitton ad on a train! Very logical for luggage, and a little Anna Karenina.

Two black models in a row! Very nice to see.

Burberry – apparently the best brand for social media. Their Instagram feed is inspired.

Love the faces on the two Italian aunts in the Dolce & Gabbana ad.

No eyebrows on the Bottega Veneta model.

Ah, Chloe (Sevigny).

The textures in the Michael Kors ad – but they look scratchy and sweaty in the sunshine.

Oscar de la Renta – lovely, almost like teenage “we’re going to prom!” photos.

There’s a Diane von Furstenberg movie out now that I need to track down.

Lots of products for undereye circles and puffiness.

Alice Cullen (Ashley Greene) for DKNY.

Isabella Rossellini bag for Bulgari – okay, I was too young to remember her as a model, but I recently saw her in The Price of Beauty, and it finally clicked: she was in Death Becomes Her. That movie takes on a new dimension now.

Sorry Belstaff, not interested in seeing you film… oh, wait, that’s Ewan McGregor.

Oh Gap, are we still doing this?

The clashing shades of green in the Piperlime ad are stressing me out.

Another film, this one directed by James Franco. Did Ewan McGregor direct or act in his? Is the fashion equivalent of book trailers? We’re doing this now?

Ack, Laugh-In inspired ad by Furla is optically confusing.

I do like the way Nordstrom handles their ads. Matte finish – aha! That’s a 16-page signature standing alone. Production values. I get it.

Oh my God, are those little handprints on the Lanvin dress? Squee! Emphasized by the stars (by) her eyes?

Hugo Boss ad says Ferris Bueller to me. I forget the model’s name, but I do like her. She’s a contemporary of Raquel Zimmerman; I think they were in a round-up together a few years back.

Another movie: Oh! my bike. Set in Paris, which is where they filmed Before Sunset, which starred Ethan Hawke, whose character in Reality Bites was in a band called Hey That’s My Bike! and now you know how my brain works. (And yes, I noticed it was Coco Rocha, but I don’t know the other girl and who is Blanca Li?)

It’s just silhouettes, but the Brahmin ad has a very Eastern feel to it.

These black nails in the Vince Camuto / Dillard’s ad: a scene that sticks out to me from Looper is the starting close-up on Piper Perabo’s nails, painted black, cut short, and (I believe) smoking a cigarette. It’s the length that sticks out to – almost too short.

Ooh, an OPI ad! Have they done these before? Love the look, the hair, the jacket. Can get over the polish color on the model, but boy do I love the poetry in nail polish names. I wonder how one gets that career??? I think I most like Berlin There Done That best as a color, and Every Month is Oktoberfest as a name.

***Potty Break, 9:37am – 9:39am***

Oh, just in time for the Table of Contents, I see. I wonder if they purposely don’t give us page numbers when we’re buried in the ads. Karlie Kloss has the hair I want. I wonder why Vogue is so invested in her career?

On that note, I really wish they wouldn’t try to hop on the Taylor Swift bandwagon.

Oh, wow! Van Cleef & Arpels: I love the use of blackberries in ads. The Jo Malone display at Brown Thomas (and probably elsewhere) has a bottle of Blackberry and Bay with some blackberry branches tucked in to a Wellie boot. It’s gorgeous.

I really feel bad about my skin not being perfect, but there are so many ads for products promising a flawless complexion that I really think I’m not alone in that insecurity.

Okay, a page number: 178. We’re at the second installment of the table of contents, perhaps 15% into the magazine?

Where was this Valentino ad shot? Someplace historical, or did they just have a good set designer?

Ugh, Beiber too? Who do they think reads this magazine?

Ha! Natalia Vlodianova’s tiny little ass has literally disappeared into the crack of the magazine. Ha!

Oh, feck. Chelsea, you’re not wearing Burberry, are you? You are. Damn. Um, is it because you went to Oxford? Honestly, when I was 17 and looked to you as a role model (and was obsessed with Burberry), I would have loved this. Now, it just feels too obvious and slightly forced. l guess Vogue is more geared toward teenagers than I thought.

***Interesting tangential sidenote: The Irish Independent Weekend Review quotes Bill Clinton (in an interview with CNN): “If I move to Ireland and buy a house, I can run for President of Ireland because of my Irish heritage.” I know!!! Isn’t that awesome and hilarious? Although I am a little curious about how that works, because I saw him in George Mitchell’s documentary the other day, and he mentioned that his mother’s people were from Northern Ireland (which I never knew) and that’s why he was so devoted to the peace process there. So I’m wondering if the Irish diaspora / buy property / run for president loophole is an All-Ireland affair?

***Okay, it’s three til 10am and my tea’s long gone cold, so I’m going to take a little break (and probably tweet that Bill Clinton quote.) Okay, back at 10:05.***

Sorry, still on Chelsea Clinton in the Table of Contents: “With her father’s magnetism and her mother’s discipline…” Ugh. Alright Vogue, that’s two strikes. This interview better not suck.

Ah, a headline “Pin It On.” I really thought they were going to tackle Pinterest, but no, it’s something on brooches (I swear they already did brooches a few months ago…). I really think Vogue is just pretending social media doesn’t exist (or worse, it’s a trend for the masses – but hell, they’ve got the Beeb in their pages; clearly they’re not above catering to the masses).

Oh, a Breakfast at Tiffany’s homage done by Tiffany & Co. I wonder how close their relationship to that movie can be? It sort of looks like a one-way street in this ad, ie: the movie can use their name and their store as a location, but they can’t use stills from the movie?

I find that I just skip over coverage of Vogue.com in Vogue that magazine. Furthermore, I never visit Vogue.com. But I do stand corrected on the social media snobbery: there’s a banner up top asking us to like them on Facebook, and a note mentioning both Facebook and Twitter at the bottom.

I don’t want to like Tommy Hilfiger I don’t want to like Tommy Hilfiger I don’t want to like Tommy Hilfiger… but I can’t help being drawn to this weird green huntsman vest looking thing on the far left-hand side of the spread (or verso), and there’s also a dorky brown wrap sweater in the window on Shop Street that I find myself wanting (it evokes the one worn by Collette in Shadow Dancer when the peelers come to pick her up and she has to walk home in the rain.)

***Break to kill a silverfish. This is the second one I’ve seen since I moved it; I think they might be eating the glue in the wooden floor. But they also eat books, so they must die. I’ve been known to be squeamish about killing bugs, even dangerous ones like scorpions, but working at Half Price Books taught me to have no mercy for bugs that eat books. It’s now 10:20am.***

Kristen Wiig! That’s better. Everybody loves her. I wonder how many more Fashion’s Night Out ads we have to look at. I hate these ads and the coverage Vogue gives the event because I DON’T LIVE IN NEW YORK (and blatant appeals to consumerism really don’t sit well with me). I’ll betcha a tenner that Anna Wintour’s Editor’s Note is all about Fashion’s Night Out, which, by the way, was three weeks ago on September 6.

Oh, God. I really did want to move on with my life, but there’s a damn Sephora ad on the next page. I HATE SEPHORA. I’m going to stop myself now, because I could go on for days. But I really, really, really hate Sephora.

More Vogue.com coverage. I swear, I may not make it to the actual content pages. There’s mention of the Gaga cover referencing the very first Vogue cover (the one I wanted to hang on my wall) and I’m honestly not seeing the connection. Maybe I should go to Vogue.com and have them spell it out for me! Or not. I prefer not. (Yes, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie reference). Honestly, there’s all this talk about the historical significance of the cover and 1) 120 is not that significant of an anniversary and 2) the self-referential marketing has eaten it’s own tail and I have no freaking clue what they are even referencing anymore. But look! More social media acknowledgment: “On Vogue’s newly launched Pinterest account, follow Anna Wintour’s board to see her favorite archival photographs from the magazine.” Oh, the copyright implications are just fascinating…

The Vogue “List.” Ho hum.

this Saks Fifth Avenue spread is 24 pages. Something to do with the original size of the paper, I guess?

I love this Andrew Marc ad. She’s just like “I’m going to a party where I don’t know anyone” and I want her hair and arm party. Faux fur or real? Oh, I like the following pages a lot less.

Little special section with flaps. I usually skip over these – not worth the production cost, if you ask me.

Okay, Express has as models what looks like one two three four five actors involved in some sort of Vampire-related project, plus the guy that looks like Robbie Williams from Glee. The only one who appeals to the over-30 set is Cerie from 30 Rock. Oh, it’s only four vamps or fangbangers. The fifth is a model who I thought was Ashley Greene, then Taylor Swift, and now I think she’s just a model.

Coated jeans, huh? As an alternative to leather pants? Okay. If you must.

Leon Max ad is female competition at it’s finest (not like the Ashley Greene model a few pages earlier using her counterpart’s head as an elbow rest).

Julia Roberts…Katie Holmes…ah, yes! Kate Moss for Ferragamo! Delightful. Who does she look like on that chaise lounge? Oh, wonderful… and Rag & Bone.

This is spliced with the letter from the editor, which DOES NOT MENTION FASHION’S NIGHT OUT. I was wrong there. In fact, it’s a very interesting letter. If I can just mention the shorty fringe on the J. Mendel model and take a short break, I want to delve into the letter.

***10:53 – 11:05. Sorry, I had to have a little nosh for elevenses, and I didn’t want to the Vogue to see me eating. Also, charged up my laptop ever so slightly, because this is going to take all damn day.***

Anna Wintour on the zeitgeist: “its a quicksilver understanding of whereever fashion is a that particular moment, and presenting a sampling of life and culture as we are experiencing it at that time.”

I would agree. I think my problem with the fashion industry, however, is that those on the top grant themselves this all-seeing power and NEVER ADMIT WHEN THEY ARE WRONG. The anorexia, the child porn, the whitewashing (in this letter alone, Natalia Vodianova has “patrician grace,” while Chinese model Xiao Wen Ju is merely “adorable.”) To try and make people believe that you are equipped with this supernatural ability to understand everything that is going on in the world at once is ridiculous. You are one person who happens to have photographers and designers and money to back up your “vision,” that is all. Still, there is something here, that zeitgeist I’ve been wondering about… I’m just trying to separate it from the marketing for the Vogue tie-in book that she’s shilling in the next paragraph.

Yay! Long, messy braids in the Vera Wang Bridal ad sandwiched between regular Vera Wang and SimplyVera for Kohl’s. And are those… wait… are those adorable models of Chinese descent??

I saw a girl yesterday wearing the Zero F*cks Given hairstyle from this Balmain ad, and with a bright lip color, it actually looked very good.

The next couple of ads make zero sense to me. I think they’re relying on brand name recognition, but I have no idea what they’re selling.

Who is Camila Alves? She’s lovely, but doesn’t look happy to be in this International Concepts ad.

I’m also over this high fashion for Target schtick.

Ooh, does that green Laura Mercier lipstick actually exist??? I’m going to be a fairy for Halloween…

Don’t like White House / Black Market, don’t like Coco Rocha. A match made in heaven.

Okay, I do like this L’Oreal special section with the tabs. Still not going to read it, because it’s trying to sell me something, but I give props for the production values.

Shopbop.com, I like your ad very much. Good font, messy hair, European skyline. Well done.

Oh, cool: an Austinite in the letters from readers. Hello, Laurence Hines.

Well, looky here: “As a leader of the cultural Zeitgeist, VOGUE wields great power, and it’s heartening to see it used so responsibly.” This from Sasha Adams of Denver, Colorado on the healthy female bodies represented in the June issue. Is my search for the zeitgeist over? I think I’ll keep looking…

Do not want to like the Amazon.com / Fashion ad, but I do. Uh oh.

Cheryl Palen, a triathlete from Tucson, also writes about strong female bodies. She has a point about women pursuing sports not because they want a certain look, but because the love to swim or run or just compete. That’s my problem. I don’t enjoy anything enough to get out there and work out. I exercise because I feel like I have to. It sucks, and makes me resentful of this entire letters installment (and the June Olympics issue, which I didn’t read).

Marciano has a very good pairing of style and a desert landscape.

Lots of praise for the tablet version of Vogue. Can’t comment, because I don’t have a tablet.

Sofia Vergara for Cover Girl and Kmart. I think she does Pepsi too? I didn’t watch Modern Family at home, but it comes on here and it’s pretty damn good.

Oh, this is the issue with all the famous male writers in a fashion shoot. I’ve heard about this, although I have to admit I’m more excited about Jack Huston – described here as English? He isn’t Irish? He’s one of those Hustons… Anywho, it’s got Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Saffran Foer, and Junot Diaz. The only one I’ve read is Eugenides (the Marriage Plot), and I understand these are big names (two are on the syllabus for the American Literature class I opted out of) but I’m always suspicious of literary celebrities. I am pleased that Juno Temple will be showing up… first saw her in Atonement, but she’s everywhere lately (The Dark Knight Rises, Killer Joe).

And Irishman Colm Toibin is here, because he’s an expert on Henry James and wrote The Master. Okay, I’m probably going to need to dig into all this, what with Bookslut’s Jessa Crispin obsessed with Henry James too. I haven’t read any Edith Wharton either, but there’s a kind of zeitgeisty moment Anna Wintour mentioned in her letter:

“What special issue would be complete without Grace turning in one of her spectacularly romantic and evocative narratives, this time dedicated to writer Edith Wharton (“The Custom of the Country,” page 810)? Grace found a particularly willing collaborator in the extraordinary Annie Leibovitz, who in her extensive research read nearly every single thing Wharton ever wrote. I am very proud to publish this story because ti’s a clear example of what happens when a trend off the runway – in this case, Edwardiana – is elevated to unimaginable realms when given such a deeply intelligent historical reading in pictures of immense charm and beauty.”

I have to ask: is Downton Abby considered Edwardian? It’s noon. I’m going to take a break and Google that, and charge a little.


That’s a yes on Downtown Abby and the Edwardian Era. I don’t watch the show, so I can’t comment. (For someone interested in the zeitgeist, I sure am missing out on several characteristic activities: owning a tablet, watching Downton Abby. I suppose the opposite of all this zeitgeistiness is marching to your own drummer…)

There’s a photo of all the Vogue fashion assistants at the end of the contributors page. This is interesting because I actually just saw a rare Vogue job listing on Mediabistro, and I can practically see the hole in this photo where that person should be sitting. These people are – at most – in their early 30s, and they do look a bit like Anne Hathaway post-makeover in The Devil Wears Prada – only one man, one Asian, and one black girl. One of our Publishers on Publishing speakers described the publishing industry of old as a very “genteel profession,” where girls who came from family money when go to have a career, although they never cared much about advancing, it was just a nice atmosphere in which to exist. I think magazine publishing might be holding on to some of those genteel ideals. But one of them has the surname Slutsky!

Oh, Solange Knowles is a DJ now? I thought she was a singer…

Okay, so I’ve gotten a bit negative again, which I’ve noticed seems to signal that I’m hungry. I’m about half way through the magazine, volume-wise, and the first text of significant substance appears to be about Ann Patchett’s dog dying. Honestly, I can not handle this right now (I miss my own dog so very, very much this morning) so it’s break time. EXTENDED break time. Not sure when I’ll be back (and I’ve only got 39 minutes left on my battery, so my computer needs the recharge as well).


The Sense of an Ending: The phrase “treeful of owls is used in the movie High Society, and I never understood what it meant, but I just read the full description “smart as a treeful of owls.”

“There had been arguments and disappointments, for the most part small and easily reconciled, but over time people break apart, no matter how enormous the love they feel for one another is, and it is through the breaking and the reconciliation, the love and the doubting of love, the judgment and then the coming together again, that we find our own identity and define our relationships.” I was just thinking last night that there used to be the autonomous life form that was always in my house, and now I don’t have that because my dog is in Texas and I am in Ireland.

I actually like the split skirt in the Cesare Paciotti ad, but I think the bared midriff is just a little too much.

Cinema Paradiso: I’m not sure what purpose this story serves. Josephine Hart was a Northern Irish writer who’s Damages was turned into a film by David Hare and Louis Malle. I have neither read the book nor seen the movie. The lesson to be taken away from this article is “The more painstakingly you prepare, the freer you will be on the day.”

There is a sample of Arise magazine that describes Africa as “fast emerging as the next frontier of style.”

The Mulberry ads are ridiculous. Did they borrow the costumes left over from Where the Wild Things Are?

Cafe Society: I hate when Vogue does this. It’s this little mise-en-scene that is probably a lovely little morsel for someone who knows who these people are (like me with Josephine Hart in the previous piece), but for the rest of us, is just a piece of writing with little-to-no direction. It’s like someone at Vogue knows this interesting person who knew some famous people, so they commission a piece about their life, but no one else at the magazine knows what to do with it, so it gets buried in the September issue.

Liking the Hermes “Time on your side” ads.

The Tented Room: Oh, same thing again: let’s let someone write down their memories of meeting famous people. Except this one kind of did the trick, because I found myself caring about the description of the room. This may be one of the reasons I started to like Vogue: here’s how interesting people behave, and if you want to be interesting too, you need to behave like this. There’s a lot of name-dropping; at one point, it just turns into a list.

The model in the Nina Ricci ad, though lovely in the grassy shot by the pond, looks like she has been broken into pieces and had her head replaced at a funny angle in the yogic pose across the page.

Is that Rooney Mara in the Editor’s Eye? Yeah, found the caption, and it is.

The Dior ads on the fold out may be the first time I’ve looked at a model and thought: “Oh, you’re just taking yourself a bit to seriously.” (The shot of the seamstress and the skirt.)

Agent Provocateurs: A description of the work done by fashion editors; actually informative and thought-provoking, especially in light of that job description that I thankfully printed out last week before the posting was deleted. Hamish Bowles addresses commercialization and the zeitgeist: “These are images that evoke desire – for something as real as a dress or a lipstick, or as intangible as a whole new body language, attitude, or paradigm.”

Eek, the “ultrashort sherbet-colored Chanel suits!” And is that Carla Bruni on the end?

A milliner as the Mad Hatter – fitting. I love how his hat says 10 euro.

It Girl: Jessica Pare. Good choice, no complaints. Says she dresses to her body instead of to trends.

Ugh, TNT. Do I have to read this? Yes, if only to get to the part where she complains about having to wash her own dishes.

Before we start on this weddings article, look at the Kate Spade ad! It’s black, white, and red all over. Some people may think of Minnie Mouse, but I’m always reminded of Stephanie from the Sleepover Friends, whose Mark of maturity was that she already dressed with her own color scheme (because that’s what mature people do). Everything outfit she wore was a variation of red, black, and white. Not quite as enticing as Claudia Kishi, but distinctive enough for me to remember.

Love is All Around: Okay, right off the bat, one of the brides works for Vogue and her father is chairman of Tom Ford international. What was that about genteel nepotism and girls who don’t actually need to work?

Okay, the next groom gave his wife the scrap of paper with her phone number written on it that he’s had framed. This, I like. Also, she’s Ingrid Bergman’s granddaughter.

The third groom picked the wildflowers and rosemary that formed the bouquet his bride carried down the aisle.

The fourth couple literally had their wedding date set in stone – the invitations were “artfully engraved rocks.”

The fifth groom was George Harrison’s son, so the bride wore a Stella McCartney dress. Sir Paul and Ringo were there, crushing lavender under their feet. The trees in the photo are very pretty and flowering something purple, but I don’t know what they are and it doesn’t say.

Otherworldly: Supershort dresses on Hermione and Bella, plus Posh Spice is carrying a clutch similar to Jessica Pares, and they both look like iPad cases.

Holding Court: Pretty sure Anna Wintour, who reportedly plays tennis every morning, is doing her best to make sure it is the Voguest of sports.

Aw, I like the Clarks cupcake and coffee ad. I even like the shoe.

The books page rarely interests me, but I do like the photo of someone affixing a “Prix Goncourt” label to a copy of Trois Femmes Puissantes. The author, Marie NDiay, feels “the life of a writer was not a choice but an eventuality.” Also, Dwayne Wade has been recruited to join President Obama’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative.

Ubah Hassan in Kenya: Maji Umbrellas for clean water in the horn of Africa.

Life with Andre: I usually can’t stand this column, but it was interesting to be taken through a quick tour of Vera Wang’s career.

I like the concept of this Theory ad, but not the execution.

Eileen Fisher is touting natural/organic/local fashion, which I agrees is the way to go.

Look Both Ways: Fashion that changes depending on how you look at it. Maybe I’m tired, but I just don’t care. I think I noticed something along these lines in some earlier ads, but it could have just been odd layering. They trot out a French neuroscientist to explain how this stimulates the amygdala, which is probably why I noticed this in the ads.

New Sensations: Don’t really care about the new developments in the design of fur coats.

Lightness of Being: Oh God, more fur? WTF? I was trying to be polite and not launch into a diatribe. Oh, he has “moody poet’s eyes?” I’m sorry, I didn’t realize. A “sophisticated rocker sensibility” too? You don’t say. Also, he used to be a vegetarian. Nice.

How does this Armenta backwards belt work?

All That Jazz: Whoopsie! Looks like Vogue went to print before the release date of The Great Gatsby got moved back to next summer, because it says right here that it’s coming out on Christmas Day. How infuriating. But the coverage here is good, explaining Luhrman’s penchant for making old revolutions resonate today, and detailing Daisy’s costuming in a way that makes me appreciate it more. Also, Luhrman calls Gatsby “the American Hamlet.”

Queen of Noise: Mimi Xu gets her inspiration “by keeping an ear to the ground.” Also, her playlist is like the nail polish names: full of cute little descriptors.

The ad for RED cameras is a little confusing. Is it video or photographs? I don’t want to read all that reverse text to find out, but the pictures sure are blurry.

Oh, fiction?!? How long have we been doing this? Emma Straub – that name was blowing up my Twitter feed a few days ago. The story is fine; short and sweet.

All On Board: So baseball, surfing, and no skateboarding are athletic subcultures that have swept up fashion, and “urban athleticism resonates as much with Generation Xers in the throes of nostalgia as with Millennials clicking for style inspiration with a mouse.”

Tete-a-Tete: The designers of Balmain’s new carry-all WANT you to get stains all over the pale lining.

The International Woolmark Prize? Hmm…

Oh, fair play: Laetitia Casta as model on one page; coverage of her career as an actress on the next.

Hidden Gem: This was so difficult to read. I’m getting tired and it was just long descriptions of interior design.

Belk is advertising modern Southern style… interesting.

Sole Grove: Says 90s nostalgia is coming back, but I think it already came and went. Maybe it will be revisited in more interesting ways over the next decade.

Well, L’Oreal, I did tear out your B.B. cream sampler, so we’ll see. Thanks.

It Takes a Village: Like this article, like the clothes described (although I would like to see more of them. Love the description: “Suddenly the door opens, an there – arms outstretched, voice booming, entering the room like an italic phrase in an otherwise staid sentence – is…Brunello!

Design Within Reach: Oh oh oh! Designer from Northern Ireland J.W. Anderson crafting a collection for Topshop. He says: “When I go anywhere outside fashion capitals, I see the reality of what people can afford.”

Style Ethics: Good stuff. Derek Lam sought out environmentally conscious alternatives to fur and started using sheepskins that are a by-product of the food industry. I’ll take it. Also, this: “Derek Lam nicknamed his thoughtful fall collection The Library, a title that alludes to more than his remastering of Ivy League classics like paisley pencil skirts and bookish oxford lace-ups.”

Scent and Sensibility: So Blake Lively made her own perfume once by heating body oil in a pan, then steeping tea in it. It’s hard not to like this girl.

The Looking Glass: A little hairy memoir, with the added tidbit that to gummit asked Veronica Lake to shorten her hair during the war so the women who were emulating her would stop getting their hair caught factory machinery. Also, Black Mountain College’s Zeitgeist in the 50s was “very bisexual.”

“Outside the U.S., visit AmericanVogue.com”

Jin Blossoms: Jin Soon Choi is what’s known as “an editorial manicurist.” For a shoot called Fashion Victim, “long, square, French-manicured nails didn’t feel sufficiently tacky.”

The Blind Side: Prosopagnosia is face blindness, where the area of the brain that recognizes faces does not function properly. She uses the farm hands in The Wizard of Oz as an example of not being able to recognize transformations – this is funny to me because I never knew the Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man were the farm hands until I was in my 20s, but it was because I’ve never watched the movie all the way through. She also thinks it might be a gift in fashion, because she can concentrate on the clothes because she doesn’t get distracted by the models faces.

This Ne’Emah perfume ad is intriguing. Wish I knew more.

Virtually Fit: Ballet Beautiful sounds fantastic. Exercise classes on your laptop aren’t a new thing, but my problem is motivation, and I really think the real-life class addresses that best.

***7:42 Badly in need of a break. On page 730. Back at 9pm***

Just something I’ve noticed: model Karen Elson has been mentioned three times in the text, but I don’t think I’ve actually seen her in the magazine. She has red hair, right?

Walk the Line: I like the description “hard-to-read good looks,” but I’m not so keen on “startling-eyed actress Helen McCrory.”

Top Story: I love me some Romola Garai, but I have no desire to ever watch The Hour.

Fine Print: Poet Sharon Olds always roots for escape, so she practically cheered on her husband when he left her. Also, she wonders if the autobiographical nature of her work led to his decision to leave.

New Terrain: Yet more coverage for Zadie Smith’s NW, and there’s a book called The Life of Objects that seems to be set in partly in Ireland, with a move to German for “Mitteleuropean sophistication.”

The Models: Described as “otherworldly Truman Capote-esque swans,” models “looked like our imaginary best selves.” In all honesty, my imaginary best self has been ruining my life since puberty.

Oh, goodness, it’s divided up by geography. So I hate American models because they represent “a liveliness that we like to think is our national birthright.” The eastern bloc / galsnost section wastes half of its allotted space talking about a Wendy’s commercial, and it turns out Raquel Zimmerman starred in the “Born This Way” music video. Oh, there’s Karen Elson in the British section.

Point of View: Okay, we have finally made it to the feature well of the magazine – unbelievably. I started at 9 this morning, and it’s now well past 9 in the evening, with about 4-5 hours of break time.

So a few recurring themes pop up in this POV: Manhattan-focused, they like tennis and weddings, and “Vogue’s editors looked upon it as something of a lark.”

“As we were staffed by ladies and gentlemen,” reported one early editor in chief, “no one worked very hard.” Hmm…

Also, there’s a little explanation for why this has taken me all damn day: “What you have in hand now is the biggest edition in the magazine’s history.” And I packed this sucker in my suitcase for a transatlantic flight.

Alright, so I’m not even going to try to comment on the fashion spreads individually, but see if I can maybe work out what’s happening here. The fashion editors have seen all the shows, know all the designers, and they take a story from the news or culture or history or whatever, and they make a fashion shoot around it. So we have space tourism now, and there happen to have been a lot of futuristic clothes on the runway this season – why? Because it’s the zeitgeist? Because everyone blessed with this cultural clairvoyance can see it coming, or because they’ve been watching the news and they know this is what’s on people’s minds? The trick, I guess, is hitting on the story and finding the right clothes to tell it. Am I close?

Gaga: Club kids and creativity, some social responsibility.

Edith Wharton: Fun photos, a quick read. Worth it.

Chelsea Clinton: “Also in the family Zeitgeist is an empathic curiosity.” She’s wearing Burberry because the Chief Creative Officer is a friend.

The Vogue 120:
Alexander Wang: “The people that shop in Shanghai follow the trends. Whereas in Beijing, they’re setting them.”
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge: “From her ever-appropriate above-the-knew hem to the most famous wedding dress in recent history, her correct approach proves that chic can mean playing by the rules.” (Admittedly, this was on newsstands before Closer.)
The Socials: “Enter the new breed of social slasher: Editors, entrepreneurs, artists, eco-warriors, models, advocates for social change…”
Christopher Kane: “Deprived areas are always the best dressed.” His grade school art teacher: “If an inspiration’s too obvious, it’s not interesting anyway. Some things don’t ‘come from’ anywhere, do they? They’re just great because they are.” his art teacher

***And that’s as far as I got. Page 859. I’ll try to update later…okay, it’s tomorrow.***

French Open: The caption says that’s purple salvia on the terrace, but the lede describes a lavender-filled terrace. I first thought it was lavender, too; mistake, or did the lavender not make it into the photo, like the “pots of wild strawberries?” I do like the wide, grey-apolstered Louis XVI chairs in the drawing room. Also, Lauren Santo Domingo is bare foot in the opening photo, and I think I found her shoes in the bedroom photo on the next page. Thought the Wifredo Lam was a Picasso.

A Chef in Full: Made me hungry and sleepy. “I wonder if he has a stake in the operation; I’ll have to ask him.” This is possibly the laziest sentence written in the history of journalism.

One Enchanted Evening: Isabella Rossellini says “I don’t know if this is as moving for you as it is for us Italians.” She’s right, but I’m not going to begrudge anyone an inspired evening with Dolce & Gabana.

Pin It On: Artist Francesco Clemente is quoted as saying “I always like brooches because they can prick your finger and make you bleed,” then proceeds to pin brooches on paintings of nudes in a way that constitutes the funniest thing I have ever seen in Vogue.

Punk’d: Oh, I like this article, from the opening “my hair looked like it had had money poured all over it,” to the closing “fantasy of swanning down the street with a Mulberry tote, caramel-colored highlights, and a deep condition.” I only hope that by the time I get around to having my color done, I won’t look too passe.

Her Brilliant Career: Love the teal Lanvin dress, and the Prada daisy-print pumps (so cute, they appear twice).

Ladies’ Choice: Don’t really care, except I like the Tracey Emin Running Naked piece, and find it intriguing that Diane Von Furstenburg’s collage features a book published by University of Nebraska Press.

The NFL Women’s Apparel ad reminds me of an article, I think on Jezebel/Gawker, decrying the “shrink it and pink it” strategy formerly employed by many sports apparel companies. Also, it makes me think of How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and how adorable Kate Hudson was in her child’s Knicks jersey.

Okay, so with the overnight break – shameful, I know; really wishing I hadn’t watched three episodes of The Simpsons on Sunday – that comes to about 12 hours spent on this little project. I probably could have done it in one day, if I’d focused, but I was getting pretty punchy at points. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with me!

The Verdict:

Reading between the lines, allowing for my own preferences, and not just regurgitating the stories they spoon fed me, here is the Zeitgeist according to Vogue: Edith Wharton novels, model Karen Elson, lambs, the influence of China, designer J.W. Anderson, the ombre dye job I WILL have this spring, the documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel,
and peplums.


As thick as the James Joyce Reader I bought at Charlie Byrne’s.




If you haven’t seen tonight’s Doctor Who episode (and if you’re in the States, it hasn’t aired yet), DO NOT READ THIS.

Now then. “The Angels Take Manhattan” is our farewell to Amy and Rory. I have my own separate Doctor-related thought stream on the loss of the married companions, as well as the return of River “Badass” Song, but there’s a publishing angle to this episode that deserves a closer look.

Amy: “You know, only you could fancy someone in a book.”

After an intro involving the most terrifying villain in the Whoniverse – the Weeping Angels – and a cameo by the Statue of Liberty reminiscent of Ghostbusters II, we open on the power of three in Central Park. The Doctor is reading a dime store detective novel called The Angel’s Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery.

He tears out the last page of the book so the story will never end. He hates endings, you see.

It turns out that the book was written by River Song / Melody Pond / the Doctor’s Wife, and the events are taking place in real time. This creates all sorts of time travel problems (BTW, did everyone see Looper this weekend?)

Amy: “Time can be rewritten.”
Doctor: “Not once we’ve read it. Once we know it’s coming, it’s written in stone.”

The Doctor won’t let Amy skip ahead in the book, but there’s a funny moment when they’re brainstorming possible loopholes such as a summary or synopsis and you’re just waiting for Professor Song to say “spoilers,” but instead Amy hits on “chapter titles.”

So the action unfolds, with a basic theme of marriage being the act of rewriting history. When we come to the end, River asks the Doctor if she should give the book to Amy (back in 1938) to publish. This is where I had questions, because I don’t see how that was the obvious option, but it’s cool because now we have Amelia Williams, Publisher. I’m just not quite sure how we got there.

Amy: “Hello old friend. And here we are, you and me, on the last page.”

And because this is Doctor Who and The End is never really the end, this story lives on in another format. Digging around online, I learned from bloggers and tumblrers more devoted than me that the book, Angel’s Kiss, is actually going to be published by the BBC as an ebook…!


Libraries, Academic Presses, and Ebooks

When I read How to Get a Job in Publishing last week, the chapter on academic publishing included a memorable line:

“…librarians assume that they are financially supporting the academic reward system…”

It seemed to address the issue that university libraries spend a large portion of their budget buying the books written by faculty. It’s more complicated than that, so I might need to revisit that chapter.

I was reminded of this today when Lisa Hyde from Irish Academic Press (and the imprint Merrion Books) came in to speak to us for Publishers on Publishing. She was very interested in our academic book buying habits, and whether we get books in our field on the Kindle.

The last academic book I tried to buy on my Kindle was Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards. I was disappointed when I couldn’t find a Kindle version, and because it was more or less an impulse buy, I didn’t end up making a purchase.

When I’m trying to broaden my horizons by reading something I normally wouldn’t, I don’t necessarily want the expensive hardback that most academic presses produce. I would rather have a trade paperback or, better yet, an ebook. Neither one was available, so I moved on.

Ms. Hyde explained that high rates of returned stock from booksellers are the biggest fear in academic publishing. It seems cruel that the major source of frustration could be easily cured by the advent of ebooks.

Ms. Hyde said academic publishers have to look out for their authors, and it’s likely that everyone is holding their breath until the Apple/DOJ case is decided. A big portion of this is also that academic publishers “have the library market to consider,” and not all libraries have adopted ebook lending.

On a final note: Ms. Hyde spoke a lot about her work with Merrion Books, the new imprint of Irish Academic Press that leans more toward a trade market. One particular title she spoke of was Glenveagh Mystery, coming from Merrion Books in time for the Christmas season.

Ms. Hyde said she has worked in almost all areas of publishing except for fiction, partly because she doesn’t want to ruin fiction for herself. However, every time she brought up the difference between regular academic titles and what she is trying to do with Merrion Books, she used phrases like “she’s told a fabulous story.” I found it interesting that a narrative structure seems to be the unifying feature of all these works that transcend the “academic” label and appeal to a wider audience.

“There’s no little spoons for liars in this house.”

I first saw The Beauty Queen of Leenane when I was 17 and went with my grandmother to visit her sister in Los Angeles over spring break. I was a senior in high school, and I knew everything about everything. My great-aunt and her husband had season tickets to the theatre, and they gave us a choice of a traditional play or an avant garde production. We chose the avant garde, which happened to be The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

Unbeknownst to me, The Beauty Queen of Leenane had opened four years earlier at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway. The play’s world premiere was also the first play in the new theatre, back in February of 1996 – a joint production of Galway’s Druid Theatre Company and England’s Royal Court Theatre. By the time I saw it at the South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, it had played on Broadway, in Australia, and all over Ireland.

I remember being very preoccupied with the sensation of taste and how the actor’s mouths formed words. I was hung up on the question of Kimberleys (“Me world doesn’t revolve around your taste in biscuits”) and the way both mother and daughter spat out the word spoon. I can’t comment on the quality of their accents, because I was 17 and had nothing against which to compare them, but they seemed fine at the time.

On a recent reread of the play, I was more concerned with the sensation of smell. The suspicious odor of the kitchen sink, the scent of something burning in the air. I even wonder if they shouldn’t have had a turf fire, instead of using coal to fire the range.

It’s also different this time because the place names resonate with me. The Dooleys throw a going away party for their American cousins at a hall in Carraroe, which is the town where I finally stopped for coffee and directions when I went for a drive along the coast road. Maureen wants to go shopping in Westport, which is the town I passed through two weekends ago on my way to the Grace Kelly Film Festival. And, of course, the family I crashed into with my rental car on my second day here was from Leenane.

In my Irish language course earlier this week, our instructor went on a brief tangent about the “Do Be Do Be Do” tense in Irish: you’ll hear older people, perhaps those who grew up speaking Irish but can switch to English as necessary, saying things like, “I do be going to the shops,” or “I do be watching the hurling.” Mag, the elderly mother in Beauty Queen, says early in the play, “I do be scared, Maureen.”

I went to a casual discussion about this play on campus with a bunch of PhD students, and I learned that Martin McDonagh is often perceived as “not Irish enough,” because he grew up mostly in South London. I also learned that the play’s violence was heavily influenced by 1994’s Pulp Fiction. And I learned that this play references the other two plays in The Leenane Triology: A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West.

My favorite critique of the play, however, comes from my grandmother, who attended the same LA production as me, all those years ago:

“If the ‘feckins’ had been left out, it would have lasted half the time.”


“I got to hand it to you, honey, it’s sheer hate driving you on.”

I’ve been completely filled with negativity lately. Today, pure spite served as the driving force that got me out of bed. Have you ever been so consumed with hate that it’s your only reason to wake up? In the past, I spent about 18 months straight doing that, and it’s something I hope to never experience again.

Since this blog is partly about my education, there is one fundamental issue that needs to be explained: I didn’t pay for my undergraduate degree.

I chose to go to college in the closest big town/small city near my hometown. After I was accepted into the local liberal arts school – and this is something I need to emphasize, because I did get in under my own merit – my mom applied for and got a job in the university library. Her benefits included tuition exchange, which meant that I received a $120,000 education at a serious discount.

I had a tiny scholarship, but my parents paid for most of my freshman year out of pocket. They continued to pay my tuition over the next three years, but at 75% off the sticker price… once my mom’s benefits kicked in. I never had to take out a student loan, and the jobs I worked were for pocket money and nothing more. My mom deserves a lot of credit for what she did for me, and every month that I don’t have to pay on student loans, I become more and more grateful. At the time, I didn’t realize how lucky I was.

In fact, I almost felt like I was in debt to the university. I wasn’t on a full-ride scholarship; it wasn’t like they had chosen to give me a free education. I was there because my mom had the smarts and the flexibility to go to work for the school. Any time a member of the administration did something dubious, I overlooked it. After all, weren’t they kind enough to let me go to school for free? Who was I to question their methods?

Poor NUIGalway. Now that I’ve actually had to take out a student loan and put my own future finances on the line in order to receive an education, I am much less malleable. What a difference 10 years makes. As an undergrad, I was slightly in awe of the people I perceived as authority figures on campus; now, I just want my money’s worth out of them.

The book I just finished, How to Get a Job in Publishing, has a line about students now being more consumers than mere absorbers of education, and that’s exactly what I have become as I pursue my Master’s degree. There’s a certain attitude of “I don’t care if you think I’m annoying; I’m paying through the nose to be here and you’re going to answer my damn questions and do it with a smile on your face” that I’ve taken with faculty, staff, and students alike.

It’s incredibly empowering, to realize that anyone drawing a salary from the university effectively works for me. At the same time, it’s alienating, because I lose the sense of collaboration that is vital to university life. That’s the paradox that got me out of bed this morning, but had me feeling ashamed by the time I got out of the shower. I can’t isolate myself with an attitude like that.

It’s tough to find the middle ground between being a human doormat and being a person that don’t take no guff off no swine. A lot of it has to do with being nice for the sake of being nice, and not giving a damn if the other person is nice back. That’s a hell of a way to live, but I can’t let other people’s negativity affect my own outlook on life.

So I went out with an age-appropriate friend tonight, had dinner and a few drinks, complained a little bit, and now I feel better.

It also helps that I don’t have to go to campus tomorrow.

“I made the duck blue because I’d never seen a blue duck before and I wanted to see one.”

I finished my undergraduate degree back in 2004. Admittedly, I wasn’t the best student, but that was okay because I had no intention of going to grad school. I thought I would never write another boring research paper in my life, so I wasn’t really paying all that much attention to things like bibliographies or journal databases.

So I must have somehow missed the technological developments that allow programs like EndNote or RefWorks to format bibliographies automagically.

We had our library training session today, and every database we searched had the option to export all the bibliographic information into EndNotes or RefWorks. Project MUSE, which I vividly remember using as an undergrad, even has a feature that just spits out a Works Cited page, fully formed.

Has it always been this way? I feel like I spent my college years chiseling WORKS CITED into stone when all along there existed software that would have done it for me. Or am I so old that things really have changed that much?

Strong Enough?

One bonus of feeling crummy and having to stay inside most of the weekend: I discovered Fraggle Rock on the Irish language channel.

This totally counts as homework for my Beginners’ Irish course.

I also discovered a teen soap opera in Irish called Aifric that I quite enjoy, although it appears to be reruns. Oh well, plenty of time to catch up (and learn what they are saying).


As for my ongoing struggles to translate Irish-English to American-English:

Today in the cafeteria, I was waiting in line to pay for my cuppa when a woman stepped in behind me and motioned toward the counter.

“Strong enough?” she asked.

“It will be,” I answered, since I had only just made the tea and it hadn’t had time to brew.

“Is it stroganoff?” she asked, pointing not to my cup of tea but to the tray of Beef Stroganoff the man in front of me had just purchased. “I guess that’s not yours.”

Nope, not mine.

Monopolies and Wholesalers

So remember last Friday, when I was too tired to post about the DOJ case against Apple or the problem with Eason’s acquiring Argosy? Well, I lied.

The truth is, it didn’t matter how tired I felt that day. I could have been in perfect health and hopped up on espresso, and it wouldn’t have made a difference. I can’t properly blog about those things on my best day because I can’t wrap my mind around the impact on the publishing industry.

My publishing gurus have addressed these issues more succinctly than I ever could: Nathan Bransford in the States and Irish Publishing News here in Ireland. Eoin Purcell was our speaker in the Publishers on Publishing series this past Friday, and he was adamant that Eason’s buying Argosy is a very bad thing for small Irish publishers.

I understand Amazon’s price-penetrating strategy with the Kindle. I understand that monopolies are bad for business. I understand how vertical integration is giving control of the universe to five major corporations. I understand that consumers think they want low prices but are actually setting themselves up to be taken advantage of in the future. I understand all these things… in theory.

Real life is another matter. Blogging my opinions on movies or interesting things I read is one thing, but commenting on the state of the industry in which I hope to find employment is something else entirely. It’s all a bit too real. I become considerably less chatty.

A few months ago, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt declared bankruptcy as part of a financial restructuring package that, in the end, was very good for the company’s overall health. I was working contract for them at the time, and do you think I blogged about that? Hell no. I was too busy living it.

It’s one thing to read about these stories happening to someone else in some other industry (I still think the stock market is a fiction created by bored old boys on the golf course). It’s quite another to be staring into the wreckage and hoping that somewhere, amid all the flotsam and jetsam, is a job just for me.

I will try to be braver about these major issues in the future. For now, here’s a picture of my dog in some bluebonnets (I’m a little homesick, too).

Culture Night with The Dead

***I’ve been out of commission all weekend – nothing fun, just the tail end of sickness and lack of internet in my apartment – and unfortunately did not blog on Friday or Saturday. So I’ll try to get in three entries today.***

Friday, September 21, was Culture Night all across Ireland. Several incredible events took place in Galway, including a performance of one-man show The Dubliners Dilemma at NUIG and a live broadcast of Vinny Browne’s Arts Show from Charlie Bryne’s Bookshop.

I attended a presentation by the James Hardiman Library Archives and Special Collections at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media on campus. We discussed the playwright Thomas Kilroy and the Joyce/Barnacle family’s connection to Galway, and concluded with a screening of John Huston’s final film, The Dead, which is an adaption of the last story in James Joyce’s Dubliners.

One new piece of information I took away from the evening was that Michael “Sonny” Bodkin, one of Nora Barnacle’s childhood sweethearts and at least a portion of the amalgamation that becomes the Michael Furey character in The Dead, is buried in a tomb in “the old part” of Rahoon Cemetery. He was a student at Queen’s College Galway (later NUIG) and died in February of 1900, aged 19 or 20. James Joyce’s poem “She weeps over Rahoon” was inspired by Nora’s grief over Sonny Bodkin.

It was also reiterated that Brenda Maddox’s Nora is the seminal biography on James Joyce’s wife, Nora Barnacle, something I’ve heard from other revered sources. As for The Dead, both the story and the film, the book to read is The Dead by Kevin Barry because, as Huston School director Rod Stoneman put it, “he’s a Joycean.”

Professor Stoneman also noted that of John Huston’s 37 films, 34 are adaptations of plays or novels. He was a very literary director, and there was also some mention of a Fellini film (Time’s Shadow) that uses the same themes as The Dead and names its lead characters Mr. and Mrs. Joyce – I will need to explore that further.

The Huston School was much more cozy and inviting than I had imagined. I am very glad to have that resource on campus, and hope to be able to attend many more events there over the next year. As for Culture Night 2012, I don’t know how it was for the rest of the island, but in Galway, it was like a dream.