Why We Need the Liberal Arts
Blake Lively is a relatively famous actor who has appeared in a TV show about horrible rich high school students behaving badly and some movie about a pair of pants that sees the world through steerage and doing odd jobs for under the table pay at local resorts. She is married to another relatively famous person named Ryan Reynolds. Ryan Reynolds is famous for somehow constantly getting cast in movies despite having an acting range that starts at A and ends somewhere before B. They are both reasonably if conventionally attractive people.
Ms. Lively seems to understand that fame can be a fleeting thing and she would like to maximize her wealth and brand name potential while it lasts. To do this, she launched an e-commerce site called Preserve. Preserve sells 80 dollars candles that are hopefully made with essence of Unicorn tears. Preserve is also launching a line of clothing. The marketing campaign for her line of clothing was called “The Allure of Antebellum.”
Unsurprisingly the Internet had a field day with the name of the marketing campaign. The Snark flew as only it can on the Internet. Gawker’s headline was “Blake Lively’s Fall Fashion Inspiration is Slaveowners.” Unsurprisingly this hurt Ms. Lively’s feelings and Gawker received a threatening letter from her lawyers. Gawker being Gawker proudly published the angry lawyer letter. I’m surprised people don’t get this about Gawker by now.
I don’t blame Ms. Lively’s lawyer for sending the letter. Lawyers are controlled by their clients as they should. I can easily imagine Mr. Korologos explaining to Ms. Lively that Gawker is almost certainly defended by the First Amendment, Sullivan vs. New York Times, and subsequent decisions. I can also imagine that he explained Gawker would probably taunt her a second time because it is Gawker. Ms. Lively could easily not have cared and the lawyer was then required to send the letter. This is how it should be in terms of lawyer-client relationships.
There is also nothing that Antebellum about Ms. Lively’s fall fashion collection. Most of the clothing would not be recognizable until the 20th century. The photo spread consists of stripped shirts, leopard print skirts, shoes with impossible heels, and wide-brimmed hats. I suppose there is something vaguely Southern about wide-brimmed hats and some of the pictures do have the women dressed in what look like fancy cowgirl outfits. Nothing wrong with that but it is not exactly what someone would associate with pre-Civil War era South.
The big issue with this whole debate is that most people seem to treat history as a muddle and they seem to do things without thinking about the implications. This is not the first time that this happened this year. I’ve written about it with Urban Outfitters and their trollish Kent State sweatshirt. Spanish retailer Zara got in trouble for trying to sell a child’s outfit with blue and white stripes and a star. There was a very, very faint wording of “Sheriff” on the star but most people thought the outfit looked awfully close to a concentration camp uniform. As far as I know, Ms. Lively is the first to threaten to sue a media outlet for pointing out the historical problems with a marketing slogan for these controversies.
I can totally see that Ms. Lively and her team heard the word Antebellum and did not think of Chattel Slavery. They probably thought of luxury, slow and steamy hot days, Mint Juleps, the Kentucky Derby, and all sorts of nice things. The problem is that no one at the meetings thought to speak up about how Antebellum refers to the pre-Civil War South and a large aspect of the pre-Civil War South was how Chattel Slavery fueled the economy. There is plenty of evidence to show how Chattel Slavery might have fueled Capitalism all over 19th century America.
I am heartened to see that there are lots of people who can figure out the connection between the word Antebellum and Slavery. I just wish that some of these people ended up in marketing and were able to bring up these issues before the campaigns came out and needed to be mocked.
What do you think causes the muddle of history and thinking? What do you think causes people in marketing not to make these connections?
with soft silk
snooki weight loss Timberland premium waterproof scuff proof II Helcor
snooki weight lossGlove It NICOLE MILLER RETRO GOLF SHOE BAG