Fashion Statements

Who are you wearing?The Oscars are known for the red carpet fashion show of Hollywood stars, but political and social statements have also become part of the awards spectacle. The Oscars have become the vehicle for those in the movie biz to declare their causes and directions for the country. This year, the winners used their movies as starting points to inspire movements from securing voting rights, to equal pay for women, to immigration rights, ALS research and cure, Alzheimers research and cure….suicide prevention, LGBT rights, better treatment for Veterans, I’m sure there’s more….

All of these are worthy of attention and commitment, and why shouldn’t famous people use their fame for good causes? For a group of professionals who have agents and writers, and yes, stylists, why did their statements seem so ineloquent? Sure the excitement of the moment and nervousness, not to mention time limit, may have contributed to some earnest but awkward statements, but I think there was also an overconfidence that their profession equipped them to be eloquent and elegant in real life at an emotional moment. Important statements need to be fashioned in such a way that considers interpretation and what will remain after the moment.

Movies can be incredibly powerful, precisely because they are crafted, honed, edited, produced by an array of talented individuals. The audio visual work and the words can be examined and fashioned so that the statement has the most effective impact. Movies inspire in positive and negative ways. (We see this with ISIS.)  Of course, not all movies are statements and not all statements move us. But we often follow those who fashion statements.

Before the Oscars, the statements by Rudy Giuliani attacking President Obama’s patriotism were leading news cycles and commentaries. I worry about Mr. Giuliani. He should have enough experience to know that inspiring hate, and instilling fear and paranoia are not the same as critical analysis, or critiquing policies. He doubled down on his comments before writing an op-ed (with no apology) to attempt to put out the fire he ignited. But he can’t undo what he did. Spewing is not the same as a fashioned statement.

The elites don’t seem to be the ones who are defined by the best education, but by those who have the media attention. They have the followers. Even those of us who prefer to follow unbiased news, and think for ourselves, see that our country is following those whose statements are the loudest–not necessarily the most studied or well fashioned.

The Oscars, with all its irrelevance amid attempts at relevance (like Guiliani himself), did however leave us with a couple of well fashioned statements. The bit that left us all a bit gaga, was the Lady herself, as she pulled the most outrageous stunt of all: she wowed with her incredible, authentic voice without any frills. Just a statement of excellence, fashioned to perfection. The other statement, of course, was by J. K. Simmons: “Call your Mom!”  Funny how that’s trending!  Fashioned statements–even basic pieces–require consideration and our best practices. 

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