Friday, August 21, 2009

Short Sighted

Regarded by many as the father of American literature, humorist Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.

20th century streakers sprinting through the ‘70’s in nothing but their Nike jogging shoes undoubtedly had a different opinion, but it seems reasonable to expect that lifestyle and environmental demands would considerably influence what society deems fashionably suitable as we transition further into the 21st century.

When Michelle O emerged from Air Force One in Arizona the other day, and catty commentary set the newswires ablaze as if the entire country had been sucked into the Grand Canyon, our rear view mirror conjured up an outtake from “Project Runway” we couldn’t help but call “First Lady on a Tarmac Catwalk”.

France's first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, was perfection in a drab Dior ensemble and as the outtake’s featured commentator. We listened keenly as she melodiously described the fashion show’s unfolding drama in her hallmark voice a la smolder. (We figure it’s pretty safe to assume Madam Carla would also disagree, like a true streaker would, with Mark Twain’s assertion, especially since her naked photos have been a favorite Christie’s auction item).

The show's highlights included a fashion plate roundup of Michelle O predecessors as they lined the tarmac catwalk before the first lady deplaned. Carla diplomatically described the summer vacation attire worn by those former first ladies in attendance….Jackie O in Oleg Cassini capris, Gap T-Shirt, custom visored pill box hat, and peds with Keds. Nancy Reagan shimmering in a one-shouldered Bill Blass sun dress (red of course), sheer cover-up, and strappy sandals. Hillary in jeans (to cover the cankles), yellow cotton blouse with matching shirt jacket, and Hush Puppies. Laura Bush in a tailored ecru pantsuit, pink floral blouse, nude Spanx panty hose, and open toed Naturalizers.

The shot heard ‘round the world must've backfired when Michelle O finally stepped out onto the tarmac in hiking shorts, cream camisole with khaki overblouse, and workout tennies.

Given the media’s reaction, you’d think Mr. Blackwell had turned over in his grave.

Our contemporary schitzo-media will undeniably go to great lengths to shear away anything akin to dignified boundaries in order to maintain a highly profitable double standard. All’s fair as long as it sells, and it’s clearly a two for one when it also stirs up a diversion from the doldrums of a boring summer.

Let it never be said that any self-serving mass media outlet ever rejected the opportunity to fill time and space with highly lucrative semi-nude and soft porn advertisements in the name of free press and capitalism, while simultaneously feigning outrage when the first lady has the audacity to expose her legs in hiking shorts while on holiday in triple-digit desert temps.

The fashion barometer once calibered by society's affluent does seem to be rapidly divesting alongside their depreciating balance sheets. Could it be that prevailing styles will begin to trend toward a life-in-the-real-world affordability making egalitarian standards more en vogue?

Get coifed with our ‘Dream Sequence’ July 11, 2009 posting "The Salon Beyond".

Friday, August 7, 2009

Ticker Trade (DS)

We had a dream……and in that dream we found ourselves hidden in the shadows near a second level banister that offered an unobstructed view of the active trading floor below and a panoramic ticker tape above. The open outcries reverberating from down in the pit were jumbled and chaotic, yet clearly influenced the ticker symbols as they scrolled along without delay.

First glance led us to believe we were observing a typical work day at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), but something was amiss. The surprising sight of rabbi traders peppered throughout the pit seemed highly unusual.

It was then we noticed the large gold-plated letters affixed to the wall above the trading room floor which read: RED SHIELD ORGAN TRANSPLANT EXCHANGE (ROTEX). The signage was positioned underneath an emblematic logo displaying a golden medical Caduceus centered in the reverse on an ornate Red Shield.

We inaudibly gasped upon realizing we were really somewhere in New Jersey watching an unsanctioned commodities market trade in body parts on the world market.

As the symbols continued their repetitious flow across the ticker, we began to piece the parts together and the first piece belonged to black market capitalism. Heartless profiteering resounded throughout the pit below as kidneys, livers, pancreases, hearts, lungs, eyes, appendages, bones, skin grafts, and even soft tissues were being traded, hedged, arbitraged, forwarded, and futured for obscene under-the-surgical-table profits.

Our dream ticked along as many of the dark secrets surrounding ROTEX and its membership roster were unmasked. Member traders had been covertly cultivated and sponsored by the guts and bowels of health insurance heavyweights, and admittance didn’t come cheap. Although membership proved to be extremely expensive, cost was secondary to the covenant of absolute secrecy, and all members were blood-bound for life to a “Skull and Bones” code of silence.

The rise of ROTEX had naturally spawned the unquestionable need for a highly sophisticated organ matchmaker rating system similar to that of other legitimate commodities markets, and the “Serpent Index” was unrivaled in its ability to grade donor quality, provide organ inventory stats and harvest projections, and rate body part pools for securitizing.

And then we woke up and understood that when it comes down to the business of selling a person's body parts, society’s moral line seems to be drawn at “if it can’t grow back, it can’t be sold”. However, the indisputable human instinct for survival can sadly provoke those facing serious financial challenges to cross that moral line when desperation dominates, even if it means survival minus a part.

But what we really want to know is did those organ brokers first cut out and trade in their own hearts before turning to profit on the illicit innards of human beings in dire straits?

For the price of protection, see our ‘In The Rear View Mirror’ July 30, 2009 posting "The Sopranos Return for Another Season on HMO".