Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Not so Lightness of Being

Marion Nicholson, who according to her diary at 19 years, was 5 foot 2 and 130. Her weight went up and down in the 1908-1913, depending on the stress in her life. She was extremely thin in 1912, teaching her 50 'bad' children in the inner city of Montreal. The Nicholsons were very self-conscious about appearance and conscious of their weight despite the fact that 'plumper' was still the fashion (the war would change all that). Well, it was the fashion among older women. According to the website fashion era, the silhouette of the dress slimmed down between 1908-1913, reflecting that younger women were working and were buying dresses. The Nicholson women never really had enough disposable income to purchase their dresses. They still made them, or had someone make them, their mom, usually.

Yesterday, I went an hour earlier to the gym, so instead of 'reading' THE VIEW off the television, I had to watch a very frightening show called Supermarket Sweep where fat people bid on the price of consumer goods, a la Price is Right, and then the winning family gets to run around stuffing their basket with junk food within a certain time-frame. (It's a hybrid of a few popular shows, I guess and probably a re-run from years ago. It was on the games network) As I plowed away at my 'walk through the forest' program, I couldn't help but think WHAT AN IRONY. And what a hideous show, promoting the very worst of consumer values... I thought, so typically AMERICAN. Then I saw that the show had been produced in Toronto.

At the least The View has very witty conversation. So what if, while exercising, I have to look at some impossibly beautiful and buff actress, when there's no chance in Hell I'll ever look like them (I'd have to go back in time for one). The other day, that redhead from Madmen (Christina Hendricks) was on and Whoopie and crew were praising her full 50's figure. I thought, 'as if it's her fault. That woman could gain 100 pounds and it was all go on her boobs and hips in perfect proportion.

I started to watch a few episodes of Madmen, but couldn't get into it. I know it is very good and expect to watch it all at once or dvd one day, maybe by that time it will be 3-d, or holograph. I was a copywriter, so I should relate. To the Elizabeth Moss character anyway. And I did, very much. Maybe that's the problem, too.

And I love the 60's. What I didn't like about Madmen (the 10 or so episodes I saw) was the clicheness of it, or so I felt. It reminded me a bit of the show American Dreams, which starred a local girl, Vanessa Lengies. Beautifully wrought, but something we've all seen before

I just watched the Apartment. You see, all that wasn't a cliche in the sixties or earlier seventies. It was a fresh view But it has become a cliche.

Even the beautiful secretary is a cliche, although I must say, when I worked in radio in the 1980s, the men went ga ga over all the sexier girls, playing one against the other. (One of the top men was notorious for going around groping and forcing fat kisses on all the women, no discrimination there. Except the old women would tell him to Bug Off. (He is now a broadcasting 'legend'.) The usual. So cliches have their start in something.

In the 80's a friend of mine was looking for her first job in advertising and after one particular interview she told me "I'm going to get this job: all the women staff are beautiful and well-dressed."Well, she got the job to find out that all the women were 'a harem' to the boss. They'd all work late late late, but then, their social life was there. She got in trouble for wanting to leave at 5.pm.