Sunday, July 15, 2007

Go Fug Yourself

[Sorry I did not blog yesterday; I take Jogtheblog as my model here and try to blog every weekday; like him I do Saturday and Sunday when I can. That has been the last few Saturday and Sundays. Yesterday just did not work out. Here I am going to continue with my using the Sunday blog for frivolous stuff -- silly stuff that would never make it into my weekday posts.]

Today a simple post, linking to another blog. [Jog does this kind of thing all the time.]

http://gofugyourself.typepad.com/


Stephen Frug (one of our regular commenters here) tells me he could not care less about clothes. I talked too much about clothes in my issue-by-issue dissection of Grant Morrison's New X-Men run for some people's taste. I thought I did not talk about it enough. I think that superhero comics have always made the clothes -- those crazy outfits -- fairly central, and I think Morrison was right to make them a central part of his run.

My interest in clothes is fairly recent, but I see it as a minor rebellion against my fellow academics, too many of whom just wear all black all the time, going for a Darth Vader-Hamlet-Johnny-Cash-Jeff-Goldbloom's-character-from-Jurassic-Park thing. I see an interest in fashion as an important extension of my interest in aesthetics. If aesthetics matters -- if it matters in poetry and music and film and comics -- then it must matter in clothes as well. I do not think it is quite right for us to look at people who read novels and look down on comics as snobs, but then turn around and look at people who care about fashion as frivolous (frivolous in a pejorative sense). So I put a bit of effort into caring about this subject and I think it is fun. It certainly makes walking around New York more fun. Also watching TV and movies. Things that make your life more fun should not be brushed aside in haste.

Go Fug Yourself is a fantastic blog about fashion, updated with these little posts all the time, more than once a day. It is funny and striking and well written and engaging even for someone like me, on whom many of the subtleties of fashion are lost. It does not take itself too seriously. And it is very focused: it is not like a lot of gossip magazines, which spend a lot of time talking about what some of these minor celebrities THINK -- where it is better just too look at the pictures. It is writing about clothes: what works, what doesn't, and why.

I am pretty sure that, on the subject of poetry, my classroom is built around this same principle: here is a poem -- what works, what doesn't, and why.

If aesthetics matter than fashion has to matter too. I could be crazy about this.

4 comments:

neilshyminsky said...

Not at all crazy! My friends and I often talk about what attire should be appropriate to class, to teaching, to conferences. I'm especially finicky.

For example: I purposely go for entirely different looks when I teach - as an undergrad (hell, even now), dissecting a prof or TA's style offered some insight into who they are. I want to confuse that whole process for them. My look for a conference, on the other hand, is very consistent. One person dubbed it "the Strokes look" and that's probably apt: t-shirt with something pop-culturish on it, black italian suit jacket, tight-fit blue or gray jeans, and bowling-shoe-style runners. (if i'm feeling especially silly, i'll also put on some fake glasses)

Ping33 said...

After years of being a scrub I started wearing suits to work about 2 months ago, I'm shocked by how much it hits the spot.

Stephen said...

I've been away -- so sorry I missed this earlier. But obviously I gotta comment on this! Still, this is all off the top of my head, I may change my mind later...

I see an interest in fashion as an important extension of my interest in aesthetics. If aesthetics matters -- if it matters in poetry and music and film and comics -- then it must matter in clothes as well. I do not think it is quite right for us to look at people who read novels and look down on comics as snobs, but then turn around and look at people who care about fashion as frivolous (frivolous in a pejorative sense). ... If aesthetics matter than fashion has to matter too. I could be crazy about this.

Actually I basically agree -- certainly about the not looking at people as frivolous part. I don't think I'd ever call anyone's area of interest frivolous. But that doesn't mean that they interest me. Since I was mentioned, let me clarify that, for myself, I would say no more than what Geoff ascribed to me: that I am not interested in clothes. Not that other people are frivolous if they are.

(So why do I care about fashion in poetry and music and film and comics and not clothes? Good question. I don't know, off-hand. Let me muse on it a while.)

But there is a sense in which I would say that fashion is frivolous. I am drawing a distinction here between the aesthetics of clothes (for which I have no handy word) and "fashion" in the sense of being up-to-date, fashionable, hip. In that sense I don't care about fashion in clothes -- nor do I care about fashion in comics or novels. I think that the drive to be hip and cutting edge arises out of chimpanzee-I'm-the-big-man-of-the-tribe breast thumping; and it is, if not frivolous, then certainly a negative thing. But this doesn't have to do with clothes as such.

...Also, I think it's quite coherent to say that bad clothes shouldn't spoil Morrison's run even if one does care about the aesthetics of clothes. An analogy here for me would be bad special effects in a film. Good special effects in a film are great fun, and even of aesthetic worth as a separate thing (arguably) and as part of the film itself (certainly). But special effects aren't essential to the film the way that, say, plot and character and dialogue are: they're more incidental. So you can have a great movie with bad special effects.

As I said, this is off the top of my head. But I certainly wanted to echo Geoff's anti-elitism, even if I don't happen to give to fugs about clothes myself....

Sue said...

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. It is always great pleasure to read your posts.