No Holds Barred: The Art and Science of Mixed Messaging

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It feels like open season. Everyone for themselves! Pick your poison:

*Wear a mask, or don’t and just hold your breath

*Take your kids in, or out of school

*Get a booster or vax, or pass

*Maintain your distance, or let it rip and party hearty at Super Bowl and Spring Break — Naked!

The “mixed messaging” has become “fuck it” or “follow the science” (better known as “fear based”).  It has left all of us exhausted, and brutally divided if not bi-polar.

Supposedly Biden is soon going to announce the end of Covid mandates and the beginning of “living with Covid.” Then he will move on to finding a cure for Cancer. Fauci is expected to retire as we need a “second opinion” — and then what?

A professor at Johns Hopkins University already announced that lockdowns did little to prevent deaths and did more harm than good with our economy and our social ills. Yes, the authors were economists — not public health experts — but this was still a HUGE “walk back” announcement from a major medical authority.

Meanwhile, jobs numbers are up but people still aren’t returning to work.  Inflation is affecting everyone, yet Chanel announced that they are continuing to raise their prices on everything including their famous “flap bags” from $5,200 (2019) to $8,200 (2022).  Luxury retail is booming (that includes Cartier, Hermes, Louis Vuitton).  Sure, there’s an increase in cost of materials, labor, and transportation, but (guess what) according to Chanel, “there is always a core customer who refuses to be priced out … and we expect more upward pricing to come.”  Even if those “core customers” are in credit card debt and the rest are just into pandemic revenge shopping.

Source: Purse Blog

I remain lost in all this. Where do we turn for any leadership at such a volatile time?

Look at Milltown Mel, the famous groundhog who has for years, offered his annual weather prediction or Groundhog Day in Milltown, New Jersey.  He died hours before his popular appearance on February 2nd leaving no replacement.  What does that symbolize? His handlers said, “he died at a tough time of year when most of his fellow groundhogs are hibernating.” Who isn’t?  That left Punxsutawney Phil (Pennsylvania) and Dunkirk Dave (NY) and Staten Island Chuck to all see their shadows and dump us into six more weeks of winter. And God knows what else we are left to face.

RIP Mel!

I guess the only real leader left is Queen Elizabeth and she seems set to “stand down” next year and make Charles the King of England.  Who could blame her at 95 wanting to vacate that royal sinking ship.  Last weekend she started tying up loose ends by giving Camilla the title “Queen Consort” — thereby sending the message that Charlie and Camilla will be the last royal adults left in the room.  After all, Andrew continues to face civil sex abuse lawsuits.  The Queen already stripped him of his military affiliations, his royal patronage, and he can no longer be referred to as “his royal highness.”

The Duchess planting trees to mark her Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. @theroyalfamily

But what of Prince Harry, who recently admitted he is now joining the life coach company BetterUp as Chief Impact Officer (and being paid millions for the position). His message to the world last week about his new gig was his request to “wash your mental windscreen daily with meditating and taking time for yourself.”

“Mental fitness is the pinnacle … it’s what you’re aiming for and the road towards that can be really bumpy. It’s called inner work for a reason …”

The prince admitted in his recent PR BetterUp chat that he “can’t do the things I love to do because of the stresses of my everyday life.”  Both Harry and Meghan have been acquiring a lot of “do-gooding” appointments, but nothing has happened to change their world or ours.  They both expressed recent “concern” over Joe Rogan on Spotify. But they went no further in their comments.

I trust the Queen will strip Harry and Meghan of their titles as she “leaves the stadium.” Or maybe not —– leaving Charlie to figure out how to handle his sons’ move to the US for huge privileged “cash-outs” and woke wellness.

One thing is for sure — nobody is looking for honest answers anymore from broadcast news.  That’s why Jeff Zucker and Chris Cuomo’s exits meant nothing to anyone.  I wish Ted Turner would return and bring back the old CNN when news was just the facts. Nothing else. But that’s not sexy enough so people resort to social media as the ultimate truth news platform.

Who says Ted Turner ain’t sexy?!

Maybe we have given up on news in favor of our various streaming at-home entertainment options. Just look at the two prominent films of late.  You have HBO’s Gilded Age and Hulu’s Pam and Tommy.

Though Gilded Age was reviewed badly for having a boring script and flat plotlines, it is still a Julian Fellowes beauty-packed presentation.  Downton Abbey, his “British version,” is tough to beat because British class and characters are tough to beat.  We all love to look at NYC Fifth Avenue mansions in the 1880s, and the costumes are spellbinding.  “Gilded Age” doesn’t need a story  as it provides a gorgeous winter viewing escape, with the best eye candy of sets and clothing design in the business.


And speaking of “eye candy,” who can forget the famous Pamela Anderson — that ultimate “boobs-up” blonde from Baywatch — or badass tattooed rock legend Tommy Lee.  It’s the ultimate mix of glam and grunge.  It was 1995  when their famous sex tape was stolen and ended up going viral.  That’s the whole story of “Pam and Tommy.”  I never saw the tape — then or now.  But this series takes you in and around that moment when our culture seemed to descend into porn.

After Pam and Tommy came Paris Hilton’s rise to fame with her 2004 sex tape right on through to the Kardashian’s version and their entire reality TV empire.  Hard to believe there are eight episodes dedicated to this trash.  But is it really trash?  The movie really says a lot about 1990’s Hollywood (post-Boogie Nights) just as the Encino porn industry exploded.

Hollywood was never the same.  The glamorous disintegrated and Pornhub and Uporn was born.  There was no looking back.

Pam and Tommy and Gilded Age cover different cultural histories.  After all, Gilded Age tells us of the beginning of the elegance and importance of NYC society while Pam and Tommy highlights “the big business” and huge social influence of sexual imagery in our world.  Two big eras in our nation’s history.

It made me think, so far, there hasn’t been any hit movies made of our “Covid days.” What’s to say?  That remains to be seen. I can’t imagine wanting to relive the cinema version of lockdowns, masking, political hate, and loss.  Maybe the individual stories will hold, but the visuals and clothing will look AWFUL.

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