Dressed to the nines with nowhere to go


One would have thought that after four years of rallying behind the revolutionary speeches of Barack Obama, Generation O might have waited at least a few months before resorting to its superficial song. But no—it tuned in to apathy the very night Obama stood on stage with his formerly revered family; while he embraced the country which had elected him ‘hero,’ it in turn, tore his wife’s dress to shreds.

Was it made by Maria Pinto, a Chicago-based designer? No—the red and black sheath, fresh off the 2009 runway, was created by Narciso Rodriguez. There was no question, the integrity of the design had been compromised by first-lady alterations and … a black cardigan sweater. Gen O found itself gaping at the man they’d elected leader, realizing they’d failed to consider whether he’d uphold the very thing which mattered most—appearance. This obvious faux-pas shattered their Cover Girl exteriors and sent them reeling into vodka martinis.

Polls screeched across the Internet that very night regarding the dress, to which pollsters replied, “I’ll admit, I didn’t anticipate President-Elect Obama’s speeches over the campaign trail half as much as I anticipated seeing what Michelle Obama was going to wear, her makeup, and her hair.”

Opinions on the dress littered the media, making for one of the top stories on Yahoo. Everyone had an opinion. “I voted for Obama, but I didn’t vote for that dress,” one homemaker told The New York Times.

The article went on to promise the dress would ensure four years of lively fashion-watching at the White House.

Well, that’s a relief, since the war on terrorism and the sliding economy really are minute details compared to what the leader of the United States and his family are wearing.

So long as America is dressed to the nines, it doesn’t matter where it goes—even if it can’t afford to stand up for social justice, or to keep jobs on the market; if it’s upholding the integrity of the fashion world, that’s what truly matters—according to Generation O.

(written for Adbusters magazine)



  1. Teneale said,

    November 20, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Wow! I feel like I should be surprised by Gen O’s lack of responsibility and shallowness, but I’m not. I see it everyday in the teens I teach. How can I teach them that there is more important things in life than looking good. I keep hoping they will eventually grow up. Were we all like that at one time? I know there was a time that I focused on my looks a lot more than I should have, and I like to think that I’ve grown up since then. What a shallow society we live in. We are just like the Roman empire before they fell…hard. Maybe our time is coming too.

  2. Sacha said,

    November 20, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    I loved this piece. It was cynical and fresh and so true. I know I encounter a piece of this in my day to day with the people I meet. It’s pretty silly.

  3. AmmeePearl said,

    November 20, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Yesss … sad isn’t it? I love your perspective! xxoo you rock!

  4. November 21, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    this is a nice forthright style of writing. i like it. as per valuing appearance uber alles, america has been on that train since the advent of television. kennedy won the first televised debate against nixon because he was, quite frankly, more photogenic: http://www.kennesaw.edu/pols/3380/pres/1960.html

    we’re all suckers for a pretty picture.

  5. November 21, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Excellent, Em. I know you weren’t around when Jackie Kennedy was First Lady but many considered her a clothing mannequin too. And what about Princess Diana…I admit I miss seeing those magazine photos of her in beautiful clothes, although she was an admirable person in her own right.

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