Over the past few days, a friend and I have been discussing what to me, at least, are gratuitous, nasty and personal commentaries on other bloggers, magazine editors and to some extent, dead decorators, and it is this conversation that has focused my feelings on the matter.
Dead decorators are, if you read my blog, a particular interest of mine, especially those I name the Lost Generation - men who, generally speaking died young, often of AIDS, or at least long enough ago (1980s and 1990s) to be no longer known. Being an unknown cannot be said of Mark Hampton who was written about in a New York Times article, a book review really, and therein described as an "undertaker's son from Indiana" illustrative of the article's fashionably - and fashion is definitely playing a role here - arch and mildly begrudging tone.
On the other hand, an antidote for the deification of decorators, the uncritical acceptance of all they do and say as having significance, assessment rather than adulation, is absolutely necessary. Perhaps difficult to achieve given that genuflection is what fills many a magazine.
That a certain amount of revision of reputation, work and influence of celebrity decorators is inevitable, especially deceased celebrities, goes without saying - at least to me. Ambition and aspiration drive all of us so I wonder why "working a room" was singled out for mention in this article when it is something, however tenuous our connection to reality, we all have to do if we are not to be uncommonly bored with the continuous round of events. Work a room? Damned if I do, and, seemingly, if I don't. However, this post is not actually about Mr Petkanas' article for I have a broader point here - that of manners.
Oh Lord! Here we go - some old fart banging on about manners.
So, when did we cross the line where a blogger, effectively a guest of a showroom, could be photographed sitting, straining, knickers around the knees, on a toilet pot and then decide to publish it? When did we decide a four-letter word for a bodily function can be used to describe one's possessions? When did it become acceptable to address women using the word for a female canine? When did it become acceptable to use a blog as a forum for denigrating someone else's thighs? When did it become decent to disagree with someone by ridiculing his nose, at the same time as admitting jumping on a bandwagon? Many more examples come to mind but ....
There is a rich and long-established tradition of satire, lampoonery, travesty and even downright lying and perhaps in that light I am swimming against a tide if what I criticize belongs to that tradition. Surely, by this point in the 21st Century, the shock value of vulgarity is appreciated only by those still in high school and most of us recognize that ad hominem attacks are both fallacious and irrelevant. Neither approach does much to entertain or to enrich the discourse.
There are three things we all could do - look at our own glass houses, question whether we are just being groupies, and think hard before pushing the publish post button - as I am doing right now.
The photograph? Look Inward, Angel, and be kind.