TV Season Premieres are Starting, Nouveau Riche in India, etc.

Posted in fashion and society by bluewellesleyblue on September 2, 2008

Gossip Girl’s new season debuted yesterday, and Fox series are premiering this week as well. Everyone else who’s even vaguely more interested in Gossip Girl has probably already seen it. I haven’t, but I’ll probably catch it online soon. I’ll be watching the Bones season premiere tonight. It became one of my favorite shows over the summer. The title character and most of her co-workers are just so geeky, which is fun, and it’s this quirky blend of comedy and forensics/murder mystery show.

This New York Times article is not so much about Vogue India and a possibly miscalculated editorial as it is about how the incredibly rapid economic growth there has led to a similarly immense rich-poor gap. While the author considers it a misstep, and the response of Vogue India’s editor in chief: “lighten up… you can’t take [fashion] that seriously… we weren’t trying to make a political statement” suggests it might be, I feel like it isn’t. The fact is juxtaposing luxury goods, which some people there can enjoy and are flowing in through luxury malls, with the fact that many of the people there are still very impoverished could be a very potent bit of social commentary.

I was in Taiwan about three or four years ago to visit family, and while it is a very different animal – growing quickly yes, but richer on average than mainland China or India by far as a result of a longer and slower history of growth – I feel like some things are similar about most economically robust parts of Asia. There’s a sort of obsession with luxury among the wealthy in China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea among others. It’s not necessarily about being stylish, it’s about monograms and the brand name. At one point my dad commented on how practically every person in Japan even approaching the middle class had some Louis Vuitton piece or another, based on his business trips there.

I wonder if it’s something that will eventually be true in India as well, if it has anything to do with pride in a growing economy (for the movers and shakers contributing to that growth) and the appearance and assertion of new wealth. Anyway, I don’t know this for sure – I’m not a sociologist and I’m not even that familiar with Taiwan – but it’s something to think about.

Edit: Oh, and Jezebel scooped this story less than an hour ago. They absolutely hate it and think it’s indefensible. I say that, to a limited extent, that the point of effective journalism is to make people think? In that light if it were done with better intentions, this might have been a somewhat defensible editorial decisions. As it is, the editor’s comments cement the idea that this editorial was a bad move, what with the well poor people can look good with these things too stance she took. Right, because they can afford it on little more than a dollar a day?


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