Repulsive Little Fashion Troll, Part 2

Manolo says, the Manolo’s friend Linda Grant has written the consideration of the scandale Galliano for today’s Guardian in which she determines it is all about the transgression.

According to fashion journalist Melanie Rickey, of the Fashion Editor at Large blog and Grazia, for years the industry has pushed Galliano to greater and greater extremes: “All everyone has ever wanted from John is transgressive fashion, and to use his excessive ideas to sell nice handbags and perfumes,” she says. And once you are set on a path to break taboos, it is almost impossible to find new ideas. So how on earth do you shock, when you have already exhausted S&M dungeons for ideas for haute couture? The great taboo in France and Germany is antisemitism. On this ground Jews were murdered or transported to be murdered. Watching the video of Galliano slumped alone at his bar table hurling insults at a woman who evidently asked why he didn’t make clothes that all women could wear, he spits out rage. She is ugly, he loves Hitler, he invokes the gas chambers. It’s a toxic mix of hate-speech, of racism and misogyny. How is it possible to go further than this?

Crazy, Transgressive, or Shitheel?

If you are breaker of taboos, then antisemitism is only another taboo, no different from any other. It’s the saying of the unsayable. It has become the last frontier for those demanding freedom of speech, for whom everything, even the Holocaust, is fair game. Is Galliano an actual antisemite who hates Jews? Who knows what passes through his mind, but by invoking the name of Hitler and gloating about the gas chambers, he is only doing what others have always paid him to do: shock.

It’s Galliano’s fortune and misfortune to have been named as a genius. He wants to go to the S&M clubs of the Parisian underworld and bring back chains and put it over a black leather bag and call the bag Bondage? Why not? Who would dare tell him that he has no idea what he is talking about when he says he loves Hitler, or that there is something the matter with abusing women in bars? Around him are innumerable yes men and women, bowing to his great thoughts.

Perhaps there is something to this notion of fashionable transgression taken too far. It is not as if the Manolo has not been railing for the past half decade against transgressive gestures that no longer transgress. (Here is the Manolo expressing his boredom with the Vivienne Westwood collection filled with the Nazi imagery.)

However, the Manolo thinks that perhaps the cringe-making Woody Allen quote found by the Manolo’s friend Ed Driscoll, is closer to the mark.

“Talent is absolutely luck,” he said one day while talking about his early fear of performing. “And no question that the most import thing in the world is courage. People worship talent and it’s so ridiculous. Talent is something you’re born with, like Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] is born tall. That’s why so many talented people are shitheels.

Certainly, this judgment would seem to be applicable in the case of the repulsive little fashion troll, John Galliano.

11 Responses to “Repulsive Little Fashion Troll, Part 2”

  1. Sarah S March 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    Anti-semitism isn’t transgressive. It’s just the same old story every. damn. time.

  2. daisyj March 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Perhaps he really does think that this is him being transgressive, and that gives him the right to say horrible things. But only a shitheel would ever come to that conclusion.

  3. Bridey March 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    Indeed, Sarah S is right. Anti-semitism is rampant in Europe, rearing its ghastly head once again. And it is hardly the “last frontier” in bigotry anyway, particularly in fashion, where misogyny, racism, and various religious and other prejudices are so often on display.

    This writer is verging on making excuses for Galliano — poor man, he’s encouraged to be ghastly, isn’t that sad. But I don’t see that as any excuse; indeed, someone who is professionally “transgressive” should know better than most precisely where the line is. Any standup comedian, any late-night TV host or morning radio personality — knowing exactly how far is too far comes with the job.

    • Alell March 1, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

      Beautifully said, Bridey.

  4. Linda Grant March 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    I am the writer, and I can assure you that I am making no excuses for him. The fashion industry has done nothing to curtail his excesses, they have encouraged him, goaded him into making more. They have lionised him for breaking through boundaries. This is the context in which, surrounded by yes men and sycophants, he has led himself to believe that anything he says or thinks is brave and edgy.Dies that excuse him? Not at all. But fashion has played its part.

    • Miss Eliza Wharton March 1, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

      Miss Grant, your paper is excellent indeed.
      I think you should not waste time trying to convince that you’re not trying to excuse. Most people in this sad sad affair are interesting in nothing but condemning, And maybe feel better about themselves once they did so.
      I take your paper to be about understanding a phenomenon, and in that respect it is very good. And then only the hard question remain, as the keen Manolo wrote in his first post.
      Can we despise the man that creates a work we admire?

  5. Cris March 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    This guy sounds like the gay Mel Gibson (which has probably been noted elsewhere). He’s got issues, which surface when he has too much to drink. In other words, a bore.
    Why can’t he be more like Charlie Sheen? Now there’s a guy who knows how to go off the deep end with panache. He just likes to get wired and screw his brains out. Who wouldn’t?
    If we ignore them all, they will go away.

  6. khazar-khum March 1, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    I can’t help but think about the people dumping him vs. the people surrounding Roman Polanski. Hate speech = fired. Rape = lionized. Two ugly crimes by people who clearly feel they are above the law. What a dirty, nasty world we support with our money.

  7. scone March 2, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    I can’t imagine why people think this troll is so very talented. He’s been taking old, dead, has-been ideas, exaggerating them to cartoon ridiculousness, staging them with massive amounts of corporate money, and justifying them with post-modern pseudo-intellectual claptrap. Galliano’s b.s. has stunk for some time now. Maybe his most recent troll behavior will force people to realize he’s not all that, and never was. In fact, if the old French houses had any brains, they’d dump posers like Galliano and embrace the 21st century. Instead, they remain mired in a ironic nostalgia, as if that were still hip! Meh– it’s not “transgressive,” it’s not even modern. It’s just a boring pastiche of the past, designed by a crew of creepy drunks and junkies– who seem to hate themselves, their jobs, and their customers!

  8. Karol March 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Agree with Bridey, this is clear excuse-making. You can be shocking in fashion and not shocking in life. There is a division between making a scandalous death and scandalous comments.

  9. Vanessa Avellar March 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    I think the Manolo put it perfectly in part one – ” Nothing more needs to be said about this specific instance.”

    There are so many talented and creative people out there that never get a voice or glance because everyone is clamering over the current icon du jour. Let him lay where he crumbled and look ahead, the void will be filled tout de suite and “an’ the tooter the sweeter”.

    Hopefully with someone you wouldn’t mind introducing your grandmom to – Jewish or not.