a blog by Ann Althouse

"[Balenciaga’s 'Toy Stories' campaign was] an attempt at 'let’s give people something to talk about' gone terribly wrong."

"[It's] almost an anti-fashion brand ['with its collections inspired by “The Simpsons” and Crocs' and 'an $1,500 leather clutch made to look like a bag of Lay’s chips']... But just how much can you challenge what’s cool? There’s a thin line between being creative and essentially using children as props or having them pose with inappropriate items.... All of these decisions go through so many levels of approval and eyes.... So who approved this and where did everything go wrong? There really needs to be some accountability within Balenciaga... Brands can’t get away with these massive mistakes anymore. In this digital age where anything can go viral and anyone can investigate, consumers have a really big and loud voice." 

Said Priscilla Gonzalez, 27, "a Mexico-based stylist and fashion content creator," quoted in "After teddy bear backlash, Balenciaga announces lawsuit for separate ad" (WaPo).

Are these even mistakes, let alone "massive mistakes"? It's all a mind game, getting you to pay thousands for dumb-but-branded items.

We're talking about them, we're challenged, we're aghast or whatever. It's a stupid game, but as long as there are young people who can't really afford expensive high fashion but feel thrilled to hold one thing — a bag — that screams the name, there's $1,000 to be plucked from their delicate pliable fingers.

"[A]s of Jan. 1, we Californians will be able to jaywalk to a film audition, jaywalk to buy pot, jaywalk to meet an angel investor for a start-up, jaywalk for hot baby yoga classes..."

"... jaywalk for the benefit of paparazzi alerted earlier about where and when the jaywalking will occur, and jaywalk to any of the countless California-centric pastimes that the rest of the country finds so amusing. Or we might jaywalk across the street just to get to the other side.... [A]n enterprising individual can shoplift goods worth up to $950 without worrying about being tagged with a felony. Parking in L.A. is always a pain; if you’re hotfooting it out of a Macy’s or Target with an armful of pilfered goods, your ability to jaywalk worry-free to your getaway car is a cultural advantage right up there with being able to make a right turn on a red light. On a more serious note, the Freedom to Walk Act is a social-justice victory. As the bill’s author, state Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) told CBS Bay Area news, jaywalking laws 'are arbitrarily enforced and tickets are disproportionately given to people of color and in low-income communities.'"

From "California greenlights jaywalking. It’s a step in the right direction" (WaPo).

Yeah, don't have a law you're not willing to enforce equally against everyone. We don't want chaos, but you've got to draw the line where you'd want it enforced against you and the people you personally favor. 

"Many are now referring to the protest to as 'white paper revolution,' 'blank sheet revolution' or “A4 revolution.'"

The London Times reports, in "China protests: Clashes in Shanghai over Covid lockdowns/Protesters demanded President Xi’s removal." 

On the campus of Peking University in the capital, whose students led the Tiananmen protests in 1989, a swelling crowd gathered to face down the security guards, then began to sing the left-wing anthem The Internationale.

At Tsinghua University in Beijing some students took part in silent protests and held up blank pieces of paper, while others loudly called for: “Democracy, rule of law, and freedom of expression!”...

Footage showed people gathering and chanting “Freedom! We want freedom!” under Sitong Bridge, where Peng Lifa was arrested after unfurling a banner last month....

The Chinese government has blamed “forces with ulterior motives” for linking a deadly fire in the western Xinjiang province to its strict Covid measures....

[T]he English-language edition of the Global Times, a Communist Party newspaper... quoted an academic at Shanghai’s Fudan University, saying: “Due to ideological differences, it has become almost an instinct of Western countries and media to criticise communist governments with an aim to subvert the latter with colour revolutions.”...

Chinese social media appeared to be devoid of any news about the rallies....

"We can’t coerce the past into our present values, even though it’s evidence we’ve progressed, and we can’t start Tippexing out anything offensive."

"If you’re a teacher, you point out, ‘This was a time when …’ but we can’t whitewash the past, because the past is what we’re reacting against.... Do you ban a genius for their sexual practices? There would be millions of people who if you looked closely enough at their personal life you would disqualify them. You can’t ban people. I hate cancel culture. It has become quite hysterical and there’s a kind of witch-hunt and a lack of understanding."

Said Helena Bonham Carter, quoted in "Helena Bonham Carter: Good on young men for finding middle-aged beauty sexy/The London Library’s first female president on why she thinks Johnny Depp has been ‘vindicated’ and the ‘horrendous’ treatment of JK Rowling" (London Times). 

Tippex? Oh! It's their Wite-Out.

About JK Rowling: "It’s horrendous, a load of bollocks. I think she has been hounded... It’s been taken to the extreme, the judgmentalism of people. She’s allowed her opinion, particularly if she’s suffered abuse. Everybody carries their own history of trauma and forms their opinions from that trauma and you have to respect where people come from and their pain. You don’t all have to agree on everything — that would be insane and boring. She’s not meaning it aggressively, she’s just saying something out of her own experience.... No one can talk about ideas [on Twitter]; it becomes polarised and is war, and people waste days being angry inside their head."

About Harry Potter movie actors who attack Rowling: "Personally I feel they should let her have her opinions, but I think they’re very aware of protecting their own fan base and their generation. It’s hard."

"The white paper represent everything we want to say but cannot say."

"I came here to pay respects to the victims of the fire I really hope we can see an end to all of these COVID measures. We want to live a normal life again. We want to have dignity."

 Said a 26-year-old man identified as "Johnny," quoted in "Blank sheets of paper become symbol of defiance in China protests" (Reuters).

A man could later be seen chiding the crowd for their protest. "One day you’ll pay for everything you did today," he said....

"The state will also have to pay the price for what it has done," people in the crowd shouted back....

"Under the new Wollumbin Aboriginal Place Management Plan, the whole of the mountain is considered a 'men’s site.'..."

"'Wollumbin is interconnected to a broader cultural and spiritual landscape that includes Creation, Dreaming stories and men’s initiation rites of deep antiquity,' the group said.... However, local Ngarakbal Githabul women have said placing male-only gender restrictions on the site, as proposed in the plan, would 'dispossess' Indigenous women with deep spiritual connections to the area. Stella Wheildon, a north coast Indigenous woman, told The Daily Telegraph that the contested area also contained scared female sites. She said she had conducted extensive research on the history of Indigenous Australians in the region and found that the Yoocum Yoocum ancestors, and the Ngarakbal Githabul people were originally from the area in question. 'The Wollumbin Consultative Group has discriminated against the women and our lores,' Ms. Wheildon said...."

From "Plan to ban women from Australian national park sparks outrage" (NY Post).

"[Balenciaga’s 'Toy Stories' campaign was] an attempt at 'let’s give people something to talk about' gone terribly wrong."

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