In town visiting three students on Journalism Residency, I was driving past the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art yesterday. The banner flapping from the lightpost read: “SFMOMA, Your own narrative fills in the blanks.”
In my inbox, an email from Vogue (I buy it for the articles), urged me to “share my own Vogue story.” The text read: “Each month we tell you what inspires us, what moves us, and what takes our breath away. But now we want to hear from you. Share your Vogue story. Tell us how the magazine has been apart (sic) of your life.”
My answer is that I see it in my mailbox every month, take it out, flip through the pages and sometimes laugh at the gaunt 20 year-olds teetering in impossible heels with ratted wild wicked witch hair. Sometimes I take the fragrance inserts and rub them on my wrists. I read the profiles. Sometimes I see a pair of shoes that make me swoon.
But they are right, it is “apart” from my life. Not an integral part of my life. It is a magazine. And no matter how much I loved the movie, “Sepetember Issue,” I believe deep in my soul that Anna Wintour cares not a wink about my story. The disingenuous attempt at inclusion feels false. No one wants Vogue to be about everywoman. For that I can look in the mirror.
Still, it seems so many outlets want my story. Your story. Your narrative. Our narrative.
Each morning my Google Alerts for “everyman” include up to 20 entries of mentions from the trend toward “everyman” Oscars this year to pity for the downfall of Tiger Woods as Everyman. I don’t think so.
The overuse of the word and the notion of “we’re all in this together” supports my notion that we are immersed in a culture where the avergae citizen is more appealing and newsworthy than an elite celebrity.
Sometimes the moniker is not deserved or sincerely applicable. Take Scott Brown, Republican’s No. 41. He is no Everyman for me, even though that has become his subtitled reference. Show me an everyman who poses for Cosmopolitan and wins a Senate seat. John Edwards was not an everyman either. He was a cheating slug.
Pizza Hut and Comcast have everyman advertising campaigns, the late Walter Cronkite had everyman appeal, Barack Obama was an everyman and now not so much. Books, magazines, museums, ads, movies, pols, everyone and everything want to appeal to everyman.
Some of it I don’t buy. Some of it is just slapping a popular title on anything and everything. Everyone is not an everyman.