I’m happy to report that I’m now three-for-three with Vogue publishing my letters to the editor. Pretty fuckin’ sweet.
Of course, I tend to write them excessively long letters, and they always have to edit them down to just one paragraph. So, here for your convenience (and my ego), are my Vogue letters and, for those issues I have with me, their published forms:
(to be published) February 2011:
Dear Ms. Wintour,
I was delighted to see Oakland, my adopted home town, featured in this issue. Mr. Bowles’s depiction was the most balanced I’ve seen in a long time, alluding both to Oakland’s stark social stratification and epicurean culture.
Although Oakland is a foodie paradise for the upwardly mobile, most of West Oakland and East Oakland have zero grocery stores. While those of us who live in central Oakland are blessed with access to fresh, healthy, relatively affordable food, most of our neighbors must feed their children from overpriced and subpar corner stores, which, while important parts of urban life, simply do not facilitate good health like Berkeley Bowl might. In Oakland, the upper-middle-class have one grocery store for every 4000 residents; the rest of the city averages one store for every 25,000 people.
When you run articles like these in the future, please leave room for a couple sentences that give your readers the opportunity to help our neighbors in need. Oakland has a plethora of great community organizations working to provide healthy food to all residents, such as City Slicker Farms, Mandela Cooperative, and Planting Justice. Given that the first two are based mere blocks from Mr. Bowles’s hosts, it seems reasonable to think that we could take a break from yet another “fish-out-of-water” story to help those without the luxury of choice.
*I tried really hard to make this as least-patronizing as possible, but still am not thrilled with it. I do hope that Vogue doesn’t make it sound even worse. In my defense, I composed this while trying to ignore being yelled at. Ugh.
published September 2010:
“Bare Essentials” bothered me for many reasons. First, if I wanted oversaturated beach pictures, I’d read Seventeen. Second, it had all the subtlety of a jackhammer — Sedaris’sNaked covering Kroes’s naked breasts? “Entering Clothed Area?” Where is the sly wit I deserve?
More important, I’m completely disturbed that you employed Terry Richardson, notorious for his unrepentant sexual predation. Using him for a predominantly-unclothed shoot was even more irresponsible. I realize that many in the industry are too scared to take a stand against him, but you’re Vogue! If you aren’t brave enough to punish his disgusting, abusive, illegal, and manipulative treatment of his (often underage) models, who is?
*What was actually published:
“Bare Essentials” bothered me for many reasons. First, if I want oversaturated beach pictures, I’ll read Seventeen. Second, it had the subtlety of a jackhammer — David Sedaris’s Naked covering Kroes’s naked breasts? “Entering Clothed Area?” Where is the sly wit I expect?
published April 2010:
I love Vogue because it represents women at the pinnacle of their lives, whether they excel in in fashion, philanthropy, politics, business, or at home. Therefore, I was very disappointed in two back-to-back spreads in January 2010’s issue. “Already Famous” contained pictures of eight different acts, totaling twenty men, while “Date with Destiny” featured ten up-and-comers, and the only woman was already-famous Chiara Clemente.
Although I can understand that you want to make the models and clothes “pop” as much as possible, if you have a great model, she will pop no matter what. I cannot fathom why only 5% of your favorite new artists were female. Why on earth would you choose to only showcase up-and-coming men? Surely you could have found exciting, talented, women newcomers who are just as thin and androgynous as the male models-slash-whatever you chose. Men get enough breaks in the music, style, and culinary worlds — give equally-talented, less-noticed women some publicity!
*They took out The Good Parts.