Monday, March 7, 2011

Notes on the News

One sub-genre of journalism consists of handwringing about the exploitive journalistic coverage of persons who’ve gained notoriety. Contributors to this genre must surely be aware that their handwringing itself is also exploiting this same exploited notoriety.

That season is back: whole pages of pictures of fashion show runways feature females dressed as I never see them dressed at Kroger. This makes me wonder if the economic footprint of haute couture is in any way proportional to its coverage in the papers. My guess is, not—but since this is an international activity, Census won’t have data on it, which is tedious, tedious. Those tall starved figures, those pouty expressions, those languid movements…

With Khadafy refusing to play the role assigned him by our myths, maps of the campaigns in Libya are in the papers, and with a sudden shock I realize that I know where this place is—and I also know the kind of country that it is. Why, isn't this the country that’s nothing but a single road tracing the edge of the world’s greatest desert on its northern extent, the road Rommel fought his way east on and retreated west again on his way back? Yes, it is. Yes. Geographic memories sunk into darkness suddenly surface. And I realize what a fantastic showman Khadafy really is—to make this desert strip into a country in the first place—and so vividly I thought it was somewhere else. But I know this miserable strip. I do. Again.

Note on Note. Brigitte informs me that Tripoli used to be the site of an enormous American air base. Yes. Libya is a part of the globe ambitious powers use to get somewhere else. Okay, so it has a little oil…


  1. Just a quick note about "haute couture," and why it is so disproportionately seen in advertising. The mark-ups on luxury goods are spectacular, my dear, and since it is so much about the show, glamour and such, it pays to advertise. At the much-in-the-news-of-late LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) 2010 was a rather nice year.

    Clearly, for some the recovery has been complete... LVMH's global sales were up 19% over 2009 and they had a profit margin of 25% on sales of 20.4 billion euros... Yeah, advertising pays off for the likes of LVMH.

    It's a surreal world out there!

  2. Thanks for this. It is business after all. And businesses cater to all demands. Most interesting to see that number, 20.4 billion euros. That's a much bigger footprint than I'd imagined...

  3. It is pretty amazing how big that whole, ambiguous market called "Luxury Goods" really is.

    Over the years I have often found market share items about this sector rather... irritating, in that one never knows what all "luxury goods" really covers. One person's luxuries are another's minimum requeirements, if you will.

    It is all a bit of smoke and mirrors and espeically for the haute couture folks who live on maintaining the allure and exclusivity of their products. But there is no question that real money is involved, and lots of it. In fact, that is one retail sector which is doing very well these days... which is telling in itself.

    While no doubt not part of what most analysts would call the luxury goods market, I found the following tidbit interesting. A friend of mine works at a local, Detroit suburban marina. At the 2011 Boat Show in Detroit, this 30 year old marina had record sales, selling more than 120 new motor boats during the show. Maybe a couple of them were big enough to qualify as "luxury goods."

    I'm obviously in a chatty mood today.

  4. Blog chatting is a luxury, Monique. Mind the grind!