kate moss blacks up for aids

last thursday, in the "red" edition of the uk's daily broadsheet, the independent, supermodel and icon of waifdom, Kate Moss, is featured on the cover "corked up" presumably as an african woman and looking more like a seal in an oil spill.

so yes, apparently this particular moment of black or "africafacing" is about raising money for aids (half the proceeds of the edition are to benefit africans with aids), and despite moss's undoubtable ties to fashion, according to the caption that frames her, this slicked up body is NOT a fashion statement. seems just a bit disingenuous seeing as though...well...she is a fashion model and the whole edition was designed by giorgio armani.

since my burgeouning dissertation is about resurgent modes of blackface and spectacles of neominstrel technopassing, this moment is particularly interesting for me.

first off, what's fashion got to do with all this? what is it about the necessity of the caption? Or in other words, when would tar babied Kate Moss BE a fashion statement? And how does this relate to the now infamous "I AM AFRICAN" campaign featuring such notable celebrities as gwyneth paltrow and conceptualized by Iman (another supermodel)?

of course blackness is always about style, but what is it about fashion (and in particular fashion putting on aids discourses) that becomes a convenient alibi for the corking up of these celebrity bodies?

i'm also interested in how Kate Moss's body reads here. of course her ultrathin body is already spectacularized. but how does that fashionable thinness perversely signify on the supposed thinness of the stereotypically malnourished or aids African body?


i hate you survivor

ok, that's not exactly true. but i do hate myself for watching the season premiere of race-based survivor season 13. (see my previous entries below).

so why exactly am i so angry??

not only did i intend to purposefully avoid the guaranteed ridiculousness of season 13, but, abandoning all good sense, i convinced myself that my academic interest in popular culture would warrant this viewing as "research."

the show was pretty predictable and followed the presumably familiar script for a competitive reality, however, what was also fairly predictable (or what the producers of the show were banking on) was my racialist response. even after all my fancy schoolin' and theorizing about racial categories, confronted with the african american team losing the first challenge, i turned into my paper bag testin' grandmother (the same woman who uses the word "niggerish.")

"my people, my people," i heard myself say. "why's it alwasy gotta be us?"

am i serious?

as i heard myself cheering the black team and then cringing at their failures, i was sucked into the only way you could watch a competitive show based on race...as well...a racist. ok, perhaps that's a bit strong, but admittedly i was anticipating team's successes and strategies based on overgeneralizations and hackneyed stereotypes. so no, i don't blame the producers of survivor, i blame myself as a supposedly informed viewer who still managed to give them what they wanted - an emotionally charged response framed by my own racialized investments in representation.



when blogging goes wrong?

under the guise of a social "experiment," blogger jason fortuny (rf jason) posted a fake ad on seattle craigslist posing as a 27 year old, straight woman. the somewhat lengthy ad stated s/he was looking for "a white or latin only, str8 brutal dom muscular male 30-35 yo who is arrogant, self-centered, nasty, egotistic, sadistic who likes 2 give intense pain and discipline and wants pleasured who is d/d free, safe and sane." the ad also featured a picture of a woman bent over at the waist, spreading her buttcheeks with both hands.

after posting the ad, fortuny then posted each and every reply the posting received, including names, phone numbers, email addresses and pictures. the original posting and list of replies can be viewed here.

i don't know what i think about jason fortuny's (rf jason) craigslist experiment. notably, its overexposure (which, admittedly, i'm contributing to) has already made it old meme, but i'm still interested in fortuny's experiment for a couple of reasons.

the experiment was to work at least partly on a salacious or scandalous register, but i find the s&m dynamics and most of the replies pretty unremarkable. they include the cliched pictures of both limp and erect dicks and promises of complete domination. blah blah blah. pretty predictable.

but as with many postings the original ad included a racial preference, which only surprises me within the context of the "experiment." so what was it about blackness and asianness that this fake sub didn't want or couldn't handle? wouldn't an open racial preference only add to the experiment? why is it then that these particular racialized masculinities could not be accommodated? particularly if we view these masculinities in the context of their historical constructios: black masculinity seen as hypermasculine and asian masculinity seen as effeminate or hypomasculine.

in more general terms i'm interested in the inevitable legal ramifications of this experiment (legal actions have been threatened by at least one of the repliers and the owner of craigslist has been contacted) - in terms of copyright, use of image, likeness and personal information, and more specifically, the re/circulation of that information. of course the internet is predicated on a model of re/circulation, particularly in the blogosphere, but could this moment be one where blogging has gone wrong?

i have to say i'm not interested in feeling sorry for the poor suckers who replied to this posting, particularly since many of those responses have been about the threat the leaking of this information will do to the stability of vanilla, heteronormative (presumably monogamous) relationships. since queerness is always hypervisible, i feel little sympathy.

but overall, what will this experiment do to issues around "responsible" blogging or ethical use on the internet?