Friday, March 13, 2009

Abercrombie R.A.F.?

This Sunday's NYT men's fashion magazine supplement featured, between the retro glossies of retarded television stars with manicured stubble and the oiled hairless (and often headless) torsos selling bottled artificial pheromones, the above still from what looks to be the WB version of the coming revolution, and the following textual answer to Gil-Scott Heron that invites the reader to look to German revolutionaries of the 1970s as the perfect fashion inspirations for the new American meltdown:

The Revolution Will Be Televised

Depending on your point of view, Bernd Eichinger’s film ‘‘The Baader Meinhof Complex’’ is either a biopic about domestic terrorism in the early ’70s or a cautionary tale about sartorial decision making. In Germany, the movie has prompted a sober review of the Baader-Meinhof group, which is still cloaked in romantic notions of left-wing radicalism despite the narcissistic dedication to violence, hashish and LSD-laced hedonism displayed by its founder, Andreas Baader, and his girlfriend, Gudrun Ensslin. What began with plans to throw pudding at the American vice president Hubert Humphrey culminated in bombings and hijackings. Eichinger, who also produced the historical films ‘‘We Children From Bahnhof Zoo’’ and ‘‘Downfall,’’ summarizes the era thus: ‘‘It was fun. Then it turned into a nightmare.’’

Even Ulrike Meinhof, the newspaper columnist turned commando, found it increasingly difficult to present any political justification for the group’s slide into mayhem. Still, Baader-Meinhof and its successor, the Red Army Faction, had its fashionable devotees: the group was an unnamed inspiration for Marianne Faithfull’s 1979 hit ‘‘Broken English,’’ and Joe Strummer took to wearing R.A.F. T-shirts. Vanity — and the need for new disguises — contributed to the ringleaders’ undoing: Ensslin was arrested while shopping for clothes after a shop assistant felt a pistol in her blue-gray leather jacket. Baader, always in Ray-Bans, was an uncooperative student of the Palestinian fedayeen, once insisting that his velvet trousers, not green battle dress, were the correct choice for live-ammunition training. Finally, a tip-off about young people cruising in ostentatious cars led police to a garage near Frankfurt in 1972. And what do you know? Baader and two associates showed up driving a purple Porsche. (EDWARD HELMORE)

The movie appears to include a bunch of popular contemporary German Brat Packers as the R.A.F. members. Causing one to wonder, why can't we have a movie about contemporary American revolutionaries played by the faces from the covers of our glossy magazines? You know, a cross between Kiefer Sutherland's 24 and the Symbionese Liberation Army? For that matter, how long before the current crisis produces *actual* American revolutionaries? I bet you they will have white teeth, American Apparel, and cleverly encrypted iPhones, and the first thing they will do is rob the mall at which they can no longer afford to shop. You know, before the mall closes entirely.

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