Sunday, 15 April 2007

Ethically-Conscious Miscellaneous Hate Page

We know it's common but we love it anyway
1. Fashion Phones.

Hurrah, they've thought of something else they can attach a designer's name to. Whoop de fucking doo.

Would you buy a date from a cad?

For starters, David is a woman in drag. The stubble is definitely painted on. But that aside, do we really need a guide to men who will treat women really badly? What's next month, OWM's Guide to Cruising for a Bruising?

I'm sure the gentlemen in your feature will be very grateful for the free advertising. Doubtless more effective than leaving flyers in phoneboxes.

Katherine Hamnett

We'll confess to a soft spot for Katharine Hamnett. She's on our longlist for future fluffers. But Tesco?

Anatomy of a Marriage

Now then. We could talk about the subject matter, but we'll leave that to the SM lifestyle websites. We could talk about the subjects. Contracts for sexual contact? We can't get past the urge to yell 'YOU FREAKS!' which coming from us is a bit, well scary, frankly. We could ask about the cardboard erection. What? Where's the picture? Frankly we're too bemused to address any of those questions so instead we shall celebrate the fact that the first sentence is about shopping. Indeed the first paragraph is about shopping. In fact, four paragraphs later, we're still talking about shopping. OWM - sometimes our hatred for you almost collapses into affection. Almost, but not quite.

The abuse wasn't about sex. It was about control.

Good to see that OWM is following the advice of Grazia.

"The key is succesful women in trauma. But unlike the Daily Mail, Grazia seems like it is on their side. That's really clever."

What I know about men, by Carol Vorderman

I started to read the Men are from Mars book, because my girlfriend was banging on about it. I only got to about page 11. But my girlfriends have read it cover to cover. And I was: 'Why are you trying to analyse everything?' Because it's very, very simple. The old adage: treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen. That's it. It worked in the Seventies, it works now. But the mobile phone is the killer, not for me, but for my girlfriends, who are always bloody texting! It's too easy, and it's too much! I'd be freaked out by that if I were a man, wouldn't you? The old: 'Oh, he's only sent me 17 texts ...' Leave it for three hours before you reply, will you, not 30 seconds! That's what I'd do. But then, I like my space. I like time out. I don't like to be clung to, and I don't do clingy. Can't do clingy. No.
We haven't read prose like that since we left James Joyce on the 192 bus. Was this interview taken by a journalist or a typist on a cocktail of work experience and crack?


Oh look, you can win a pair of stupidly uncomfortable high heels, in a competition sponsored by Compeed, who make potions to heal the wounds caused by stupidly uncomfortable high heels.

It's not often we say nice things, but we must admit this is genius.

Thanks Tyra

We like Tyra Banks here at OWMMS. She's sassy, sexy (if not really our type) and most importantly she stood up to the bullies.

We looked forward to reading this interview, and truth be told we quite enjoyed it. And then we reached the final column, where we were treated to the midlife crisis of the author.

And it strikes me also, but maybe just because I'm a man, that seldom, if ever, in our conversation did simple looks get mentioned; just weights, and 'body image'. Some women, you see - and why do men know this truth so much more than women? - are simply born lucky: pretty, sexy or with the body shape in vogue for that era, or some times, happily, all three. Men know this, and know it's all a bit unfair, but still go for pretty girls, to the grave. Good-looking women know this too, but don't often mention it, for the obvious reasons; and plain women know it too, but don't often mention it, for the obvious reasons. In the mean time, instead, they talk about body image and worry about a few pounds here and there: and the worlds of cosmetics and fashion and magazines get in on the act, and the lower the self-esteem, the more lucrative the action becomes.

Perhaps, despite the accidental timing, the argument now has the cheerleader it deserves, and I don't mean that in a dismissive way. She is not the fabulous, luminous, leggy Tyra Banks, without qualifications. To have lived that high fashion life and dismiss it so quickly as simple entertainment, not to be taken seriously by women, is wise and honest. To know, as she did, that worrying about a few extra pounds in her exalted position can be seen as a bit silly, but to know also that people listen to her and that she has a much-watched TV show (even one gained, let's face it, on the power of her looks), and still to choose to risk further opprobrium and ridicule by addressing the whole issue, showing us her thighs and asking what is truly wrong with them, is more than a little feisty.

Pretty women look prettier than plain women. Many look much better thin than fat. Every woman can try to look a bit better which is nice, for them, and for men, but when they start to obsess, to constantly compare, to weep, to deny, to break their lives in pursuit of a dream their birth looks will never ever let them have, then it has all gone more than a little bit wacko. As they might say here, in Beverly Hills, it's not exactly rocket surgery ...

'Yeah, OK Tyra, we hear what you're saying. All that stuff about loving yourself, however you look, it goes down well with the proles. But we both know you're not really ugly, you're one of us. Just be grateful you're not one of the fat mingers we flog this shit to. Now stop rocking the boat.'

Ethical Cheek Special

Observer Woman has at last seen the wickedness of its own existence. After a dozen issues persuading us to find personal fulfilment and lifelong happiness in the pursuit of hilariously overpriced tat, wrought from the malnourished, bleeding fingertips of child slaves, borne across the planet on a cloud of genocidal fumes belched from the engines of freight airliners, peddled on malnourished bulimic frames in an orgy of noxious chemical glitter - suddenly everything has changed.

The future is ethical. The future is green. And to prove it, we'll go shopping.

We need to ask how this damascene conversion came to pass. Were the editorial staff suddenly overcome by a wave of self-loathing, realise the vacuous futility of their working life and commit themselves to becoming a force for good? Did they organise a work night out to An Inconvenient Truth? Did the Observer's editor-in-chief call them into a meeting and threaten to kick seven shades of mascara out of them if they ever produced an issue like the last one?

Of course not. Observer Woman have suddenly decided that environmental, social and political consciousness is fashionable because it says so in Vogue.

Really. We're not making this up. It's not online, so you'll have to either pick up a copy or take us on trust but the exact quote is:

It's official - fashion can be ethical. The Vogue girls say so. a photo-caption to the accompanying image of some Vogue valkyries wearing about seven grand's worth of clothes and enough chemicals on their face to make Union Carbide feel good about themselves.

This begs a couple of questions. First, what will happen next month, when Vogue (as is their wont) declare that caring about global warming is just so common, and that nylon neon hipsters with sealskin trim are the must have item for May?

Secondly, why don't the entire OWM staff just send their CVs around the publishing houses and be done with it? All this crawling to Grazia and Vogue is getting rather sickening. We eagerly await next month's feature on why Marie Claire's editors should be awarded the Pulitzer Prize, almost as much as we look forward to the day when we see an ex-OWM hackette popping up in the Reader's Page of Take A Break.

But we digress. What thunderflashes of insight does the OWM Ethical Special offer us? How are we going to save the planet? We're going to buy stuff. Lots of stuff. Lovely, yummy expensive stuff. Whether it's a book (£14.99) telling us how to recycle our clothes, or a 'conflict free' diamond ring for £5,330 it doesn't matter, just buy, buy, buy.

Don't get us wrong, we're not on some ultra-deep green soapbox. If you're going to produce a magazine full of laxatives for the purse then we'd rather you plugged stuff that was fairtrade, green, organic, cruelty free and spun out of fairy dust. We are pleased you are running an ethical issue. But it would be nice if we thought, just for one short second, that you actually meant any of it. That you would actually stick with it.

You are wearing your ethical issues as a fashion statement - and you don't even pretend to disguise the fact. Your contribution to our understanding of climate change and the exploitative vagaries of capitalism is a comedy quiz. If you answered mostly A - Good God you actually believe this ethical stuff don't you? What are you doing reading our magazine? Shouldn't you be off sniffing camels or something? If you answered mostly B - Are you actually doing this quiz? Why? If you answered mostly C - Look, don't worry, we don't actually mean this, we're just doing it for a giggle. We'll be back to our usual tricks next month, and we'll include a Matalan special just for you.

Now there are some people who might be reading this blog and saying 'oh come on, don't be so hard on them, they're doing their best.' If you are, then we refer you to our next exhibit: Ethical Pin-Ups. A 'collectors wall chart' to keep the Guardian readers happy. The list of 15 includes the predictable (Al Gore, Stella McCartney); not one but two members of Britain's most gluttenous, energy-intensive, polluting, holiday-homed household; one of Britain's most fervent climate change deniers; a topless model (dolly said we had to link it) who makes love by candlelight; A couple of politicos including David Milliband. ("with those eyes he could ask us to burn our legs for energy and we'd strike the match." Oh really? ) And after they ran out of space on the back of the envelope in the Groucho, they had to fill in the page with Naomi Campbell and Simon Cowell. Not because that pair have any ethical credentials, only because they came as part of the job lot from the photo agency. At the risk of repeating ourselves, really - we're not making this up.

If there is one sentence that encapsulates all the ways in which OWM have got the wrong end of the ethical stick, it is from a photo caption describing the Anya Hindmarch not-plastic bag, limited numbers of which will go on sale in a supermarket next month for a fiver. And the best news is still to come:

Don't tell, but we hear that when they go on sale overseas they'll come in different colours... get the set and save the planet.

NO NO NO NO NO, you braindead bubbleheaded bints. Buying one affordable fairtrade, sustainably-sourced, re-usable shopping bag is an admirable thing to do. Buying six is FUCKING INSANE. Even for the amount of shopping you simpering stuntwits appear to do.

And people wonder why we hate you.


The politics of ethical consumerism are important. We did momentarily consider discussing the details of OWM's ethical stance. We could have ranted about corporate greenwash. We could have brought your attention to the true ethical credentials of some of the brands and individuals featured. We could have dissected the 'gorgeous face of modern environmentalism' represented by the likes of Global Cool (ahem, cough) and discussed the true worth of carbon off-setting schemes that provide the ethical solution to unsustainable lifestyles. But if we were going to do that, we'd have had to stay sober and find lots of serious scientific reports on really boring websites. Then we would have had an invasion of tinfoil-hatted comments box bandits arguing for 300 posts about whether or not George Monbiot is a cunt. And quite frankly we couldn't be bothered so we had another beer and spouted stuff off the top of our heads as usual. Oh shit, we have turned into Kathryn Flett.

Since we're too lazy and stupid to go into the details, we would genuinely appreciate it if any clever people out there could fill in the science bits. Because we're worth it. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Who are you calling crap?

Well, the new edition of OWM arrived this morning. What can we say? It's dedicated to ethical issues, it contains several interviews with interesting people. It's pretty much everything we had ever hoped for from Observer Woman Magazine.

We have nothing else to say.

Hahahaha. As if.

Give us half an hour's more drinking time and we'll be back.