Every week Document has an agenda: digging up dispatches from the creases of global culture. With this information, go forth.
Pretty politics inspire little faith.
Silicon valley’s design ethos wriggled its way into New York’s Democratic primaries this past week. New York’s 12th district congressional candidate Suraj Patel. Patel, who built his grassroots campaign on “sit-ins,” craft beer, branded condoms and minimalist posters with pale colors usually reserved for influencer beauty lines, was recently defeated in his run against incumbent Carolyn Maloney. Regardless of win or loss, this was a clear marker of the Democratic party’s push for the millennial bloc that was born in the wake of Trump’s win for Presidency. Swathed in all the trappings of internet progressivism—rallying cries for the abolishment of ICE, marijuana legalization, and healthcare—Patel would seem to be the answer. And yet, one can never pin down a platform, a plan, anything other than buzzwords and memes. As with many a “startup,” promises are great, but more often than not they are merely pandering, aiming for accomplishing short term exposure, with little to no construction underneath. It’s hard to know what is real and what is mere marketing, and in a political environment already rife with false promises and flaky endorsements, adding silicon valley into the mix sinks us even further into the mire.
“As he was speaking, I was on the verge of tears, thinking, ‘Yes, this is what we need!’ And yet, actually, he didn’t say anything at all. Not a thing.”
Pretty people are rarely so perfect.
Perhaps Diana Vreeland was onto something when she so famously declared that “We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it.” Others have also taken up the call into “formal originality” or “artful dishevelment” as opposition to a misguided and debilitating quest for perfection which seems to linger in our air—or in the website code. With social media influencers seemingly leading our lives, their immaculately coiffed clothes, food, scenery, lives, are without blemish or notion of trouble. Not only does this perfection usually serve as concealer for no taste, but also leads those who consume the material towards an ever-long drive for faux perfection, that has served to increase our anxiety, and cripple us with depression when our efforts invariably end up short. This sort of perfection, particularly when expanded to our lives as a whole—why am I not in Mallorca right now?—often has us looking at those around us, and when they inevitably show that very same humanity of imperfection, that will often play out as a moral failing. In a life filled with failures—everyone has them—and struggles, pushing for that perfection is impossible, leading us only to turn the blame on ourselves.
“Better to appreciate the real than to tyrannically insist on things being impossibly just so.”
A Netflix movie loses its cover.
Unfortunately for Alex Richanbach, the director of the new Netflix movie Ibiza, after discussing his new film which revolves around the legendary island known for endless raves and sunlit parties with a magazine based out of Ibiza, it became apparent how little respect the director paid to the original subject matter portrayed in the film. Netflix has received near endless praise for the slew of original content that they have been producing as of late—Master of None, Stranger Things and Bojack Horseman—but, it turns out no publisher is immune to lazy, ne’er do well projects. During the relatively brief, but staggeringly awkward conversation that took place between Richanbach and Mixmag’s digital editor Jeremy Abbott, Abbott thoroughly grilled the director on his film, leading to long pauses and pained confessions that no, Ibiza was not filmed on the island itself—rather Croatia—and no, he had not even stepped foot on Ibiza before, choosing to rely on second hand recollections from one of the films writers. Perhaps most important, was Abbott’s confrontation about the cavalier portrayal of drugs, drilling down that, while part of the culture, drug-related deaths and illnesses have also become part of that same culture, and to so casually throw in these scenes of use, where only joy and fun abound, into a movie readily available on such an all-age platform is careless at best, and can perpetuate and encourage dangerous habits at worst.
“At the moment, there’s an epidemic where pills are the strongest they’ve ever been, people are dying and there are fatalities all over the world. Do you not feel there’s a duty to educate rather than glamourise in this case. If someone took three pills it would probably kill them.”
There’s no escaping it.
If you thought that your refuge of wholesomeness during this #MeToo movement would lie in children’s movies, you were sorely mistaken. A guest column this week at Vanity Fair laid bare the practices behind Pixar, and its—now former—leader, John Lasseter. Cassandra Smolcic details her time at the world leading animation studio, where she began as an intern, quickly being forced to come to terms that not only would she be required to dodge and rebuff endless onslaughts of unwanted and offensive sexual advances, but that her entire career would be weighted down by a boy’s club atmosphere. This mentality that seemingly exists in all workplaces is an all-encompassing, all-consuming blanket of suppression, where women are overlooked for projects, and any sort of skill, ambition outspoken drive is derided and reduced to being labeled “difficult” or “unlikable.” If you thought that you could find refuge, anywhere, from what #MeToo is exposing, then you declare your naivety and ignorance, for these issues and systematic issues have pervaded every aspect of our culture and our workforce, and some of the most egregious industries still have to be taken apart.
“The lengthy negative column [of my performance review] listed things like, ‘designs too many options; seems like she’s trying too hard; asks too many questions.’ When I shared the document with my candid male mentor… he said, ‘If you were a man, every one of those negatives would be in the positive column.’”