September 05, 2005

IT'S NOT A ROSE-COLORED WORLD / AND WEARING PINK WON'T MAKE IT SO

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What's Good For The Goose . . ., 2005. Digital net art Catherine King. All rights reserved.

by Catherine King

We have already established that I watch a lot of TV news. (See "Introducing The House Of Not For Sale: Three Flags"). I'm not the only one who feels they must constantly monitor the electronic media so as to become aware in a timely manner should another sudden disaster happen.

It was through the dead tree media, however, that I learned about the creeping, insipid pink wave in fashion. I remember well. It was in an interview last year by Amy Silverman in the Phoenix New Times about local artist, sometimes-writer and alleged fashionista Carrie Bloomston. "Pink is the new black", she declared way back then, and I scoffed. But soon enough I had to admit that she was right. She was the prophetic messenger with the bad fashion news. The trend came on with a wimpy vengeance and continues to this day. Why, even Dior and Chanel are offering up the ubiquitous tint even as I write, in September Vogue, Elle, and Bazaar.

Adults in pink clothing have been all over the place for a while now. "Can't they see how silly and juvenile they look in pink?" I would wonder. I began to think I'd write something about the color psychology of choosing to clad oneself in the color of female infants. It was so minimizing, and yet so many people were wearing pink. Even our Secretary of State has been captured doing official United States business in MaryKayeBarbieDollBubbleGum Pink. And just this morning, on television, talking about epidemics in the wake of Katrina, was the Director of The National Institutes for Health, wearing a bright pink jacket.

I supposed that people were trying to comfort themselves by wearing pink. They thought it made them look cheerful and nonthreatening, I figured. Subconsciously, we probably feel that anyone who would don a baby blanket would also be willing to "make nice." The pink was a signal that one was politically correct.

I started to do some research on fashion writing that boosted the schizophrenic pink trend. And, of course, color theory. And Jerome and I alternately laughed and cursed and wished we could call the fashion police as a pink parade of ridiculous newscasters told us of disasters while dressed for some folly. The inappropriate discongruity of the presention was so insulting to the dignity of the subject matter.

I was thinking of doing a comprehensive cultural survey of the pink phenomenon by examining dead-tree advertising as well as dead-tree and electronic fashion writing. I had not yet refined my thinking. How I wish I had begun my fashion photojournalism piece the day Jerome and I winessed two female anchors dressed in suits of identical sitting side by side at their newsdesk without irony or explanation. It was completely bizarre.

But it wasn't until early in July, right around the time of the first London Islamist Terror Bombing, the truth of the old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words," sunk into me. I realized the piece should be a photo essay and I could limit my subjects to newsanchors. I collected newsmen with pink shirts and ties as well as pink newswomen at first. I also tried to collect exclusively tragic headlines at first-- shark attack, terror attack.

It became obvious , though, that the fluffy headlines, juxtaposed with the alarming proclamations, emphasized the tragedy of our comedy. So I took on the mission of capturing every pink instance of news delivery. Then I decided to eliminate the guys, partly because the women newsjournalists were so surreal in the way they just gave away their authority and absolutely flaunted their immaturity with the pink wearing.

So I spent July capturing these news princesses. I knew I wanted to arrange their screenshots in odd numbers of rows and columns so that I could have a center shot to anchor the digital net art piece. Ultimately, to best fit the screen, I decided on 7 columns with 11 rows. That would mean that the center of the piece would be 4th column and the sixth row. Since it was hurricane season, I chose a whirling vortex to anchor my 77 lovely female assistants.

But a couple days after I posted ENOUGH WITH THE PINK ALREADY, my 77 lovely assistants looked so lonely, I decided to give the guys another chance, for the sake of fairness and balance. I would muster up an army of 77 little knights for my pink princesses, since I knew that men can be counted upon.

I collected pink knights all through August. Right after Hurricane Katrina hit I had collected my full set of 77 with a few backups, thank god. Aren't we all so sick of pink! I imagine even baby girls will refuse to wear it now.

One needn't be a fashion prophet to deliver the bad news that our nation will be shrouding itself in black this fall.

Posted by Jerome at September 5, 2005 11:40 AM | TrackBack