Lynne d Johnson



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05.20.03 08:32 PM

a picture is worth a thousand words, and then some

It's not that I haven't been following the Jayson Blair story, it's just that I haven't been talking about it. And so, upon my descent into the subway today an arresting cover photo on a magazine caught my attention. I copped that sucker mad fast. And I ought to be ashamed, for this is just what the folks behind Newsweek wanted me to do. Not quite as dark and haunting as the cover of OJ on Time back then, this photo was placed for the sole purpose of evoking certain emotions with none of them being positive. Some of the adjectives that come to mind shady, unstable, gangster, trickster...damn! Is there no sympathy for this man? Is he really the only one at fault? What about the folks behind the engine who tried to turn him into supernegro? Hmm... If you haven't seen the cover, it's here. Hey even the title connotes images not quite so bright: The Secret Life of Jayson Blair. Not to be outdone, New York magazine has handled the affair a little differently. On the site, we see color photos of Blair and Raines, with Raines looking sinister and Blair as the charming man. On the newstands the photos are unretouched black and whites. The title: The Times Under Fire. To be quite honest, I thought all news outlets used fact checkers to avoid such fiascos to begin with.

10 Years of Vibe Charting Urban Fashion's Rise. While that isn't exactly the title of the piece, Guy Trebay's Taking Hip-Hop Seriously. Seriously. in The New York Times today gives a long due big ups to urban style. Check it out:

"The hip-hop revolution in fashion is rarely called that, of course, or even taken seriously. There has not been a museum show devoted to it, and yet it is hard to contemplate a survey of style's last two decades that omitted the importance of the following things: track suits, sweat clothes, wrestling, boxing or soccer shoes, designer sneakers, outsize denims, prison-style jumpsuits, underwear worn above the trouser waistband, do-rags, cargo pants, messenger bags, dreadlocks, cornrows, athletic jerseys, Kangol caps. The phenomenon of ghetto-fabulous dressing, as evidenced by exotic pelts, platinum watches of alarm-clock proportions and diamond barnacled bling-bling from Jacob the Jeweler, might warrant an exhibition, or at least a doctoral thesis, all its own."

Aren't we Just a Little Sick of Reality TV?. Not that I've watched "Extreme Makeover" nor will I ever watch "America's Next Top Model," but there is an interesting culture piece in The New York Times by Gina Bellafante, titled " Our Bodies, Our Silicon, Ourselves," that gets to the point of this madness. Check it out:

"As disheartening as it is uplifting, "Extreme Makeover" is a bittersweet rebuke to principles cherished by most thinking, sensitive people: that what you look like does not determine who you are; that personal growth can be achieved only through meditation, therapy or other taxing avenues of introspection. In an enlightened world, liposuction should not make you a more engaged participant in human affairs."

"But what if it does?"

"Interviews with a half-dozen participants of the show several months after they recovered from surgery suggest that the dramatic changes in appearance did ignite changes in their feelings of self-worth."

Funny I'm so drawn to The New York Times when the paper's integrity is so in question right now. Isn't it?

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