I talked to my mom the night before last. "I don't get the New York Times," she mused. "They have all these great stories, but their Styles section always seems to focus on this tiny, unappealing bunch of really wealthy people!" I explained to her that Styles is for and about people who specifically do not read the rest of the Times, but need to buy it in order for the Times to get advertising. But then I thought, that's so cynical of me! Which brings me to this girl on the cover of today's "Thursday Styles" section She is not Olivia Munoz, the college student the accompanying story quotes saying, "I'm beginning to love sunglasses as much as I love shoes and bags and jewelry," but the story and its accompanying gallery of consumerporn shots of various pairs of $400 sunglasses on the market wants you to think she might as well be. But wait a second, what if she reads the Times? This girl could easily be thinking very deep thoughts while inspecting herself in that mirror. (The caption, after all, reads "Upon Reflection.") For instance:
"Whoa, the G8 summit just produced a fundamentally toothless multilateral agreement to cap carbon emissions at the currently wholly unsustainable levels following days of pointless talks one participant called "gloriously incoherent" about which the only positive thing anyone could say is that the inability to agree on anything was a sign governments are "finally getting serious" about climate change. I guess the only thing this means is that I won't be needing to save much disposable money for a new coat, so yeah, I'll take these…"
"…Although, on second thought, I guess I'm not exactly heartened by the fact that while our once-mightiest automaker teeters on the brink of bankruptcy in a colossal failure of American business whose only silver lining is that our cheap labor and currency might land us a Prius plant. Maybe I should pass…"
"…On the other hand, yesterday's shooting near the American consulate in Istanbul, although it only killed a tenth of the people who died in the bombing of the British consulate there five years ago, looks like it was fundamentally a copycat crime, inspired but probably not ordered by Al Qaeda, which reminds me that even if we do figure out The Iraq and Osama Bin Laden, I could die pointlessly next semester at the hands of some World of Warcraft geek who thinks he's the second coming of Cho Seung Hui, life is absurd that way, so what the hell; yeah, credit…"
"…That said, I have to wonder if that attitude isn't maybe a bit overly nihilistic after considering the paper's former Baghdad correspondent's blog describing the week by week the process through which the gilded tropical celebrity-obsessed environs of Miami succeed in fully shaking his memories of Baghdad. It takes 14 weeks. Then he forgets. Fourteen weeks and he's once again fully detached from the cruel realities of the existence endured by huge swaths of existence all thanks to my tax dollars. But wait, even Iraqians need sunglasses! I wonder what their favorite brands are…"