September 18, 2006


August is his name
Remember these ads from 1995? Some ad exec thought it was a great idea to have a Calvin Klein campaign that reminded viewers of '70s homosexual pornography photo shoots, with more than a slight nod toward kiddie porn (even though all these models announce that they're at least 20 years old). The ads are creepy and somewhat hot in a taboo sort of way, particularly because they were banned so quickly that I only ever saw this August one on-air . . . on a major network! Part of their allure was that perverted, pornographic images -- with heavy gay overtones -- had barnstormed Middle-America's media.

Brooklyn is his name
Yeah, Calvin approved these ads, which gain their cheap, licentious thrill from exploiting mainstream fears that all homos are child molesters, but I'm having trouble condemning the ads myself. Maybe that's because I'm actually impressed with the ironic porn lighting, purposefully clumsy and sleazy dialogue, and the choice of guys who look genuinely gay-for-pay. It's a cool aesthetic co-option, really -- an edgy, daring revelation of the country's historical seamy underbelly, pulled into the service of that ultimate American art, advertising.

Then my own aesthetic distance creeps me out when discussing guys barely out of their teens. They are meant to be desired in these commercials, in the service of selling clothing to kids. That does make me more uncomfortable than turned on.

I had those exact sheets!
Anyway, Fiona Apple got there first, and at least she was a ranting rock star.

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