So yesterday I was reading, and enjoying, “The Great Leader,” Jim Harrison’s new novel (currently on the nightstand), when I come across this on page 93:
He hit the radio OFF button when someone on NPR used the word turd iconic.
Yes. [Fist pump.] It’s always good to find allies in this cruel world. The paragraph goes on to condemn “closure” (total agreement) and “embedded” (neutral) and the whole idea of punditry. Having once been a pundit of sorts — or “pundint,” in Sarah Palin’s pronunciation — I say right on, Jim.
Tom & Lorenzo have inspired me to watch “The Rachel Zoe Project” from time to time, although I find I can rarely get through an entire episode, because it’s more boring than a five-hour speech by Fidel Castro, and because the star and everyone around her uses the English language the same way we used those heavy metal records on Manuel Noriega — as an instrument of torture. She’s a happy abuser of “literally,” which she pronounces “lit’rully,” with a distinct pause at the apostrophe: Oh my god, I’m lit’rully dying here.
Zoe has a job that barely existed a generation ago — she’s a stylist, which means famous people pay her to tell them what to wear, and sometimes magazines pay her to dress their sets and models for photo shoots. If you want to know why we will never again see another Cher on the red carpet, it’s because of people like Zoe. How “stylist” became an actual job could be an interesting topic, encompassing some ideas of wide interest, particularly the rise of self-appointed grassroots fashion critics, people like Joan Rivers and bloggers like T-Lo, which has left chronically insecure Hollywood types terrified to put a foot wrong in their public outfits. Throw in the rise of paparazzi photography as a cultural force and marketing tool, branding as ninja practice and the freelanceification of everything, and you might have a decent show. Alas, Bravo’s producers settle for scene after scene of Zoe being driven around Los Angeles in a black SUV, moaning My head is lit’rully exploding, which must be their idea of Drama.
You have to look for the entertainment. I find it in the language.
Every occupation has its own jargon, and styling is no different. Take pull, for instance. Zoe’s minions do a pull before a shoot, which basically means they remove every single item from her cavernous closets and transport them to the shoot location (known as set, never with the definite article), where it’s all transferred to rolling racks and hangers shoved back and forth with much murmuring of she will so love this and this is so crazy sexy and I’m lit’rully dying over this one. That only two or three outfits are selected from this mobile garment district never seems to bother anyone, as it’s a given that you must have the widest possible selection of clothing to choose from. Why not leave everything on rolling racks, perhaps in a truck or something, and drive it around?
Because then it couldn’t be pulled, stupid. And pulling is a skill. Requiring many assistants.
Once pulled, Rachel will make her choices, adding some more of her nonsensical expressions of enthusiasm — bananas, maybe, or I die. Afterward, everything is pronounced fabulous. Nothing Zoe does is ever less than fabulous. A non-fabulous look, or an unhappy client, would make more interesting television, but that’s asking too much.
That’s episode outline 1A. Outline 1B is when Zoe is dressing a client for a red carpet event, known simply as carpet. What Anne Hathaway or Cameron Diaz or Jennifer Garner or Kate Hudson wears for carpet is an operation requiring a great deal of driving around, blabbing into phones, and perhaps some eyes-shut rubbing of the temples just before the commercial break, because OMG my head, it’s lit’rully killing me. But it always works out! Zoe and her minions gather to watch the Oscars or Emmys or Whatevers in her living room, the same way we do, only of course they pronounce all of Zoe’s clients so crazy sexy beautiful I lit’rully can’t stand it.
But even this isn’t enough to make me watch very often. I’m bananas that way.
And now, I must do a pull in my own closet. I predict — Carnack envelope to forehead — I will pull blue jeans with either a black or white top. Lit’rully the same thing I wear every day.
So let’s go to the bloggage, eh?
Ezra Klein: Could this time have been different? A look at where the stimulus went wrong, and right. HT: Cathy Dee.
More language nitpicking: The Occupy movement is cropping up in “scores of cities across Michigan.” No. A score = 20. Later in the story we hear that “nearly 20” Facebook pages have been created for Occupy events in the Mitten. Which would mean we’d have to see another 20 to have plural scores. Maybe I’m quibbling, but I don’t think so. Not lit’rully, anyway.
I still contend that “Occupy Detroit” is funny, and “Occupy the Upper Peninsula” is downright hilarious.
I’m so glad Charles Pierce is writing about politics. So, so glad. Lit’rully, very glad.
Off to office hours. Enjoy Thursday, all.