Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Tesco ban on shoppers in pyjamas " - BBC News

I'm not even kidding, this is what passes for news in the UK.

I once went to class in my pyjamas, but I was 20 and studying at Berkeley, so cut me some slack. Now apparently it's a big trend, "major" to borrow a Beckhamism. Girls all over the UK are spending immense amounts of time creating their slumber party looks and then heading off to bag bargains and shop for groceries, in some bizarre fluffy zombie fashion. The idea is not just to be lazy, but rather to be impecably stylish in your nightwear. It's sort of amusing, but also disturbing because the look fuses together two pretty insidious trends; celebritysynthesis and infantalism as a political choice.

Everyday every tabloid in the UK runs a picture of Lindsey Lohan at a 7/11 in a hoodie and pyjama pants. The guise is 'incognito'/'I just shot an incredibly demanding, sexy, adventure packed scene and now I need some downtime'. (Okay, we get it, you're just like everybody else, big deal, that's nothing to be proud of). Now, as these things go, the body language and the psychic projections of our celebrity friends become (over a very short space of time) the outlook of everybody else on the planet.

Consider the general attitude of the unaccompanied twentysomething in the streets today, don't we/they all have that slightly posey, slightly paranoid quality to them? As though they're terrified that the paparazzi might jump them from any given corner? The downcast face, the hand to the temple, the gaze into the distance, it's such a hallucinatory construction, and it's turned a generation into Norma Desmond/Veronika Voss (depending on your taste).

When Manet was painting in the late nineteenth century, he captured an expression he observed in the modernizing streets of Paris, wherein technologies and economical shifts brought strangers from different classes into each other's paths in previously unimaginable ways. His subjects look blankly ahead, insisting on their ignorance of anybody else's presence. Today's paparazzo pose takes it to the next level, not only has social order gone to shit, not only are you harassed by beggars and aristocrats alike on your weekly trip to Tesco, but now the world's media want to steal your soul.

Victoria Beckham

Manet's The Street Singer

Non-celebrities have synthesised the staged paranoia of the harassed starlet and costumed themselves appropriately. The get-up of cutesy pjs and full-face of make-up is akin to a scene from Mad Men. It's inoffensive sexuality is domesticated and respectable, followers of the trend are not expected to shop in their Agent Provocateur negligee but rather pastel pyjama pants and a t-shirt with a bunny on it. There's most definitely some infantalism at play here, again as a reaction to the collapse of life/society/interaction as we know it. Pyjamas equally safety, equal prepubescence; the urge to run back to the bedroom we had in our parents' house is the closest we can get to wishing to be back in the womb without looking utterly potty. And let us not forget that this is all about the looking, lover.

For a much more in depth look at this topic read this brilliant article.

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