Far be it from me to expect anything resembling forward-thinking discourse from a “chicks rock!” fashion spread, but it was more than a little disheartening to see the end result of New York Times Magazine‘s style section giving itself over to “girls who play together sashay[ing] in the season’s pitch-perfect ensembles.” Said spread featured five all-female bands, 80% of which were full of Feist archetypes who wore mostly dour expressions under their Emily The Strange makeup. (Only the two members of Yo Majesty were allowed to actually pose in a way that had the buoyancy suggested by the word “sashaying.” Perhaps that was because Shunda K. told the interviewer that she knew God loved her? Or maybe it’s just that their look doesn’t really fit with the perpetual-schoolgirl affect that the other four pictures were obviously going for?)
Maybe I’d be less offended by the whole thing if the online presentation wasn’t just flat pictures accompanied by T. Cole Rachel’s even flatter text; you’d think the multimedia presentation of an article that’s nominally about musicians would attempt to provide some musical context for why these bands were featured, or at least try somewhat half-heartedly to convince the readership out there that these five acts weren’t just picked for the spread on the basis of how they fit into the Marc Jacobs samples lying around the Times offices. (It’s not like a link to, say, an Electrelane video is all that hard to find on the Web.) But given that, after I showed this spread to a friend, he asked me “So, was this week’s issue of the New York Times Magazine secretly the ‘cool hipster girls‘ issue?” I’d say that this spread is probably the sign of what’s to come at the Times, because a good Web editor knows that even if their readership is alienated or turned off by its unrelenting coverage of certain fake trends, at least there’ll be someone out there to irritably blog about it.