Friday, August 29, 2008

pop cannibalism

I went clothes shopping today and I was dismayed yet again. Its hard to find clothing that fits me, I'm not that tall and I'm kinda skinny. I can no longer stand the skinny jeans, (which I'm wearing as I type this, ironically) they only look good on a few people (and they aren't male). They make a top heavy woman look like Dr. Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog: They make me look even scrawnier. So I went shopping for nice jeans, and I'm glad the fashionistas that be have allowed the low-rise boot cut to return to the marketplace, because they're the only decent looking pair of pants I've ever owned short of tailored slacks. I hate that word...slacks. By the way, is it me, or is Hollister just Ambercrombie & Fitch, and isn't Abercrombie & Fitch just a cologne-saturated gay club (the music's loud as hell and theres pictures of half-naked men everywhere).

Anyway, I've just started this Mass Media Course, and it got me thinking about how much I hate that society and culture shape what I should wear. My wife and I watch "what not to wear." on a fairly regular basis, and while I have my snobbish/critical side, I hate watching Mrs. Pretty and Popular, class of 77, and her identical male cohort get paid to repeat high school history by snickering at the poorly dressed and clueless subjects of their tv show. It's culture enforced conformity taken to a new level. I have to admit, though they make their subjects look much better when they're done.


So, getting back to my trip to one of the billions of O.C.'s malls, I can't seem to find a store that fits my tastes. There are so many subconcious messages behind what someone wears, and I don't always like the way it "defines" a person. I don't want someone to categorize me by my pants and shoes. Still, I can't help doing it myself, watch:


Dave Matthews/Phish fan and probably a stoner and or frat-jock: shops at Steve & Barry's


Favorite band is My Chemical Romance or Staind: shops at Hot Topic


John Mayer and Jason Mraz on the iPod: go to the Gap. Guess whats new this fall, something Khaki...again!


I also can't stand how men have so very few choices in style. Men's clothes are either too safe for my tastes, or too obnoxious. I am an artist and a rock musician, but I don't want to look a "rockstar." Also, Khaki cargo pants, how the hell are they still cool with anyone not at a Dave Matthew's Band concert!? I was there, back in in 1998, so were my cargoes, Dave played two encores, but unfortunately, so do the pants.


I am also grossed out by American Apparel's neon child porn look. The shirts I make are from AA shirts, but I won't be caught dead wearing a vest and hot pink pants with a polo with popped collar and visor shades. Polo's are for Best Buy, Pizza Hut, and tanning salon employees. I am weary of all the studded belts, skulls, grenades, grenade hearts, grenades made of skeletons, guns, flowery guns, guns with hearts, basically any peice of ammunition combined with anatomy or flowers. I don't want my shirts emboidered with family crests and ivy and lions and bombs. Thats for the Euro 'bags. These are european, or (mostly) american males trying to look european, with pointy-toed boots, tons of jewelry, and a faux hawk full of product. I remember these guys from the highschool football team. They got drunk, stumbled into Metro Park, and haven't found their way out.


There's a great site (and abook) about the cultural phenomenon of "douchebags" and beautiful women. You can see what I mean at http://www.hotchickswithdouchebags.com/ .




I had noticed the sudden surge of these people, but couldn't quite articulate what they were or what it was that I couldn't stand, but the book put it all in perspective:




Greasy foreheads. Spiky frosted hair. Oiled-up faces dripping with Tag Body Shot spray. Armani Exchange T-shirts and rank cologne wafting off their backs like fetid pollen clouds as they pump their fists and attempt to grind into any hotties nearby. Young beauties oblivious to the hulking monstrosity clutching at their butts like snapping turtles on Red Bull.
From sea to douchey sea, ours is a culture plagued by this festering blight. By the dark forces of ├╝ber-douchebaggery.

This guy won the Douchie 2007 award.


On the other end of the spectrum, men's clothing is hopelessly tame. I guess thats why I have Spitting Image. I like having shirts that no one else has (there are a few exclusives that we have made that aren't available to the public on our online site).


But still, what I really want isn't always available

I like Classic American style and I like unique twists on things. Here are a few of my favorite looks, several of which were lifted from a great blog called Manshion (he also has a great guide to shopping for the vertically challegened):






Thursday, August 28, 2008

Je ne suis pas cool.





I was in a group called the Source Room in grade school, and up until this very moment, I have never really wondered why it was named Source Room. I would jokingly say it's the source of my sense of entitlement.




When I joined, the Source Room was a fledgling program for gifted and talented grade school students in which we (a handful of first graders) were taken out of class in the afternoon to learn french, how to brainstorm, go on feild trips to learn how things are made, cultivated creativity, invented products, gave oral speeches and presentations, followed current events, and formed our own opinions (biased largely by the world view of our libertarian teacher, Mrs. Stacy). It took me years to finally see it in myself and reconstruct my own ideologies. Geography was usually held in the afternoon, but I was always in Source Room, so I think that accounts for my lack of solid geographical and history education. Our Source Room group grew in number and dropped in IQ over the years, which I assume had something to do with a few upset mothers complaining their child's way into our group. I wish I could get my hands on some of the videos we made, because there were some dumb kids forced into the group. I remember one year we filmed fake commercials and we had to teach one of the actors how to sweep the floor convincingly. He looked like he was mopping the floor.




That said, the original group, Katie, Leah, Erin, Amanda, and I were invited to join the Source Room for various reasons. Katie skipped kindergarten, was exceptionally bright and younger than her classmates, Leah was also intelligent, but showed an early knack for art. Erin didn't stay with us for too long, and I'm not sure what her story was. Amanda was/ is a humorous and intellegint individual. She has a unique approach to life to say the least. I was taught to read before school and was intensly inquisitive. By the time I reached first grade, I was usually the first one finished with my school work in class so I used my spare time to crack jokes and make fun of kids who were just learning to read. When I received the initial invitation letter from Mrs. Stacy, I never gave it to my parents because I thought I was in trouble (I got in trouble a lot, and therefore had a lot of letters to take home to my parents). My parents were informed of the giftedness of their child with a phone call. Just a year earlier my kindergarten teach had informed my parents that I was a slow child and had developmental problems. Take that Miss Watson, you stupid cow!




Today, most of the originals haven't quite achieved anything of note. The ones that finished college have jobs completely unrelated to their majors. Amanda has several schemes, but she has mainly worked for Fed Ex for the last decade, Leah has not become the artist I thought she would be. Katie became anti-social in her teen years and became somewhat goth, changed the spelling of her name and now she sings in a goth rock band ( I guess thats something).


Me, I've started a business that I'm struggling to break even with, I played in a band that opened up for the Wu Tang Clan's RZA, then I had to quit and move away before recording anything with them, I worked at an amazing record studio for free, I went to one of the most prestigous music colleges but I was unable to afford it and dropped out after a year and a half, I have written several albums worth of songs and recorded most of them without vocal tracks (so they sit, unheard),

and need I mention that I have attended 4 different colleges with 3 different majors, amassing over 67 credits and have no degrees or certificates to show for it.


I'm working oon a plan though,

and it has nothing to do with "plastics"