Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

New Model Needed0

Posted by JJ in Doubletake/Doubletalk, The Bullock's Bride, Golden Tacks (Monday February 19, 2007 at 9:08 pm)

As Italian designers rush to implement new rules to “ban anorexia” from the runway, questions abound as to why:

Protecting the Models from Competition
In this scenario, it’s designers’ eagerness for singularity-thin clothesracks that drives models to slim down. After all, if a designer wants the thinnest models possible and you’re not the thinnest, you’re effectively shutting yourself out of a job. But if the designers are committed as this manifesto suggests, this shouldn’t really be the problem, should it?
Protecting the Models from Themselves
The idea that subsistence on a single food group is good for you isn’t the kind of rational choice that can be dealt with by imposing consequences and repercussions. If anorexia is a disease, it’s not a matter of sane decision making processes. When weight loss takes on thematic content, we’re no longer talking about necessity — it’s called lifestyle choice. If anorexia isn’t a disease, then sane people who choose deadly lifestyles shouldn’t really be a primary object of our concern. It’s like lavishing attention on a child holding his breath.
Protecting Us from the Models
Perhaps it’s we, watching people who walk like doped-up stick figures with unwearable clothes pinned to them, who need to be protected. After all, what kind of idiot would think that fashion shows represent a sensible and imitable way of life? If there are such people, isn’t it they who are in need of correction, and not the people they’re watching?

But, as ever, when something must be done, doing something seems good enough.

Passing the Buck0

Posted by JJ in The Bullock's Bride (Friday January 19, 2007 at 11:30 am)

Word of a proposal to end homelessness should attract attention. It’s a serious problem in need of a serious solution implemented by a compassionate and thoughtful society.

But of course, that doesn’t mean any particular plan is a good idea.

Consider this scheme of the French national government. In a tribute to simple, straightforward thinking, the President has proposed creating a right to housing. What that does to provide it is anyone’s guess.

The burden to do the latter will simply fall on other governments, mostly local. The purpose, then, of this stroke of political genius, is to get someone else to solve the problem.

That’s not fighting homelessness — it’s pencilling in someone else’s name on the fight card if you chicken out of a match. It’s a case of passing the buck without passing any bucks.

No relief from normality0

Posted by JJ in Doubletake/Doubletalk, The Bullock's Bride (Thursday November 24, 2005 at 1:28 pm)

Anyone remember the riots in France?

According to the French Ambassador to the US, all is back to normal.

But wait, haven’t we heard this before?

Ah yes. “Normal” means up to 99 flaming cars per night.

And to think people are concerned. . .

Nuit de silence. . .0

Posted by JJ in Bad Press, The Bullock's Bride (Thursday November 17, 2005 at 11:52 am)

All is bright, all is calm.

Fewer than 100 vehicles torched overnight as calm returns to France

This is, of course, a completely new definition of calm to those of us who regard a flaming car more as a mechanical problem than a political statement.

The events now apparently over provided an opportunity for pundits to wax on about what it means for Europe.

I don’t know enough about Europe to join in, though some excellent commentary has come from perspectives which come at the problem from a completely different perspective.

But I know this much:

When up to 100 cars going up in flames per night can be described as calm, there are serious problems with social standards.