Good morning, darlings, and yes, I am STILL HERE.
Blogging much less during the pandemic (doing pastoral check-ins weekly on Facebook Live), continuing to function in the Speilbergian mode of ministry (how are you all doing preparing worship and producing it? I am spending probably 6-10 additional hours per week doing the tech aspects, how about you all?), taking care of my terminally ill beagle love, fighting the winter doldrums and total social isolation, and last week hitting a brick wall of rage and emotional exhaustion as I watched white American terrorists attempt a coup.
I am off this week, heading to an Airbnb in Maine with my woofer and taking an online course with the New York Center for Jungian Studies. The speakers promise to help us make sense of the madness in America from the perspective of Jungian archetypal psychology, which I am looking forward to. I have been studying the matter from the perspective of crticial race theory, totalitarianism, toxic Christianity, economics, propaganda, the power of social media and sociology. It will be interesting to look at the collective psyche and archetypes.
For right now, however, I want to look at the disgraceful and inexcusable job VOGUE magazine did with its cover of Vice President Kamala Harris. This is making headlines, and yes, it is important. If you have been reading this blog over the years, you know that images are powerful and that they make a visceral impression. Images can make and break reputations.
Let’s look first at images of the Veep that capture her as the dynamic, strong, powerful, beautiful woman she is. Pay attention to lighting, framing, the architecture of her suits and the simplicity of her accessories that add a bit of curve and traditional femininity to her outfits.
Now look at this disastrous VOGUE cover:
This is Anna Wintour’s fault, and I hope she feels the heat all the way up under her helmet hair.
There is a rumor that Vice President Harris’ team approved a different image than this one, and that this is the one that went to press. Accident? NO WAY. Anna Wintour has been running Vogue for six hundred years. She knows exactly how important this image is. Decisions were made.
Whether that rumor is true or not, this cover is insulting. Those colors are the Alpha Kappa Alpha colors, which is appropriate and a nice shout-out, but everything here is a rumpled mess. The set is INCREDIBLY SHODDY!!!! Who slapped those swaths of fabric up there like that and thought that was okay!?
Why does the Vice President look squinty and uncertain?? There are literally HUNDREDS of images of this remarkable, history-making woman looking at the camera with fierce confidence, charisma, blazing intelligence, COME ON!!! WHAT THE HELL! NOW I’M JUST YELLING!
There wasn’t a more empowering pose and angle? They had to slap her on that wrinkly satin and shoot her so that the eye falls first on her legs and not her face? AND WHO THE HELL DID THIS LIGHTING? DID ANYONE? I REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT. NO ONE COULD HAVE POSSIBLY LIT THIS SHOT.
This looks like a photo taken on someone’s phone the moment the VP walked in with her team. It was the moment the shoot director asked Madame Vice President “could you just stand on the set for a moment, we want to take some height measurements” and then sent her in for a cup of coffee and consultation with the photographer. This set was NOT FINISHED.
I am angry, and you should be too.
This should have been a glorious cover befitting its subject. Instead, it is slipshod, amateurish, not even remotely comparable to other Vogue covers of important women. As such, it makes a statement.
I have no doubt that Anna Wintour’s crack damage control team will concoct some sort of excuse for this debacle and that the Vice President will be far too busy to further engage with the story. She has much more important things to do. But you and I will keep paying attention to how media powers use their billion-dollar machine to influence the public image of leaders. Will they mythologize, will they flatter, will they diminish?
Pay attention. None of it is unintentional.