Friday, July 22, 2005
The outrage!: You'll forgive me if I first believed that this article in today's Washington Post was a spoof written by a junior high school French student just a little to impressed with herself.
It has been a long time since so much syrupy nostalgia has been in evidence at the White House. But Tuesday night, when President Bush announced his choice for the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, it was hard not to marvel at the 1950s-style tableau vivant that was John Roberts and his family.
There they were -- John, Jane, Josie and Jack -- standing with the president and before the entire country. The nominee was in a sober suit with the expected white shirt and red tie. His wife and children stood before the cameras, groomed and glossy in pastel hues -- like a trio of Easter eggs, a handful of Jelly Bellies, three little Necco wafers. There was tow-headed Jack -- having freed himself from the controlling grip of his mother -- enjoying a moment in the spotlight dressed in a seersucker suit with short pants and saddle shoes. His sister, Josie, was half-hidden behind her mother's skirt. Her blond pageboy glistened. And she was wearing a yellow dress with a crisp white collar, lace-trimmed anklets and black patent-leather Mary Janes.
Dressing appropriately is a somewhat selfless act. It's not about catering to personal comfort. One can't give in fully to private aesthetic preferences. Instead, one asks what would make other people feel respected? What would mark the occasion as noteworthy? What signifies that the moment is bigger than the individual?
But the Roberts family went too far. In announcing John Roberts as his Supreme Court nominee, the president inextricably linked the individual -- and his family -- to the sweep of tradition. In their attire, there was nothing too informal; there was nothing immodest. There was only the feeling that, in the desire to be appropriate and respectful of history, the children had been costumed in it.
This crap seems more appropriate to a shallow, semi-intelligent junior high school girl's diary than one of the country's most widely-read newspapers.
Newspapers cover frivolous things and they cover serious things. There's no reason not to cover frivolous things frivolously, which is why I see no problem with the yearly practice of savaging Hollywood stars for their fancy dresses at the Academy Awards.
However, there's a very good reason not to cover serious things frivolously -- it makes you look really stupid. You don't critique the man who just saved a child from a raging river for having dirtied, soaked clothing. And, for the author of this dreck, Post fashion editor Robin Givhan, you don't criticize the family of a nominee to the Supreme Court for showing up to the White House wearing their "Sunday Best."
Givhan can dish it out, but can she take it?
I'm no fashion editor, so my take on Ms. Givhan's attire may be less-than accurate. However, I'm quite accomplished at insults and Ms. Givhan deserves some.
Light brown, which appear to be suede, shoes with a pink dress? I know black (her bag) supposedly goes with everything, but a pink dress and white sweater? Let's continue on to the dress itself, sorry, but it doesn't look particularly attractive, or flattering on Ms. Givhan. The high waist gives the impression that Ms. Givhan has long legs, but it also accentuates those pesky few extra pounds that she's carrying around her middle. Also, for someone who has theoretically been to so many fashion shows that you've gotten promoted to "editor," you'd think that she'd know better how to pose for photographs like these. Didn't she learn anything from all of those runway models?
My shallow, nasty-yet-restrained critique of Ms. Givhan doesn't really belong on a high-minded blog like this one. But Ms. Givhan's silly waste of ink in the Post doesn't belong in that newspaper either.
Maybe next time the Post should think twice about publishing Ms. Givhan's school notebook scribblings.
*UPDATE* Welcome Michelle Malkin readers.
The American Princess makes the excellent point that the bag should match the shoes.
The pseudonymous Tbogg has also graced us with his "wisdom" in the comments. Mr. Tbogg claims that I can't accurately determine the color of Ms. Givhan's shoes. Well, they certainly aren't black, and they certainly aren't the same color as the dress. It must be a sad, sad life he lives if this is what he can come up with. If you hadn't seen it (hat tip QandO) -- Tbogg has issues. [Warning: Plenty of profanity over at Tbogg's place -- a product of a limited vocabulary. However, I'm happy that he managed to contain himself here.] Tbogg also missed my point with regard to Ms. Givhan's white sweater -- it wasn't that it didn't go with the dress -- it was that it didn't go with the bag. Surely she has a white purse in her closet.
On the same issue, what exactly is it with the left's preoccupation with homosexuality?
For the record -- I'm a blue jeans and T-shirt kind of guy. Hence my disclaimer that I'm not a fashion editor.