mardi 23 décembre 2008

Since when am I friends with Hot Moon?

Does anyone ever read the ads on the right-hand side of Facebook? I usually don't, but one caught my eye this morning. This may be because it was tagged "for a woman over 40." Underneath this teaser is a photo of a large (excessively large) handback slung over the shoulder of a headless woman (over 40, I presume). I don't mean she has been beheaded, only that her head has been cropped out of the photo. I guess that's so all of us women over 40 can relate.

I cannot say I wasn't forewarned. I was told that the link would take me to a site called Hot Moon, described as "the name of a new friend. A friend with a philosophy of style and life who understands your needs and who you've become." Right. So I have just visited the site and have seen some terrible things. Sophisticated comfort, ombre wraps, all very expensive. We're talking 500-dollar sweaters that you order online.

The actual philosophy page comes as a bit of surprise given the prices and emphasis on the material world. Maybe my standards are too high. I should never have gotten that master's degree in philosophy. My sister was so right. It did not prepare me for life; it did not provide me with a philosophy of style. It has made me cynical and skeptical and horribly agnostic.

On the philosopy page, you can buy (yes, it is all about buying stuff online) something called The Soothing Soak. It is a bathtub reader; a completely waterproof book of "sensuous and spiritually uplifting" stories, poems and so on. And that's not all. You can buy all sorts of waterproof books about yoga, simple food, travel, stuff, swimming pools... et j'en passe. Eat, Pray, Love and Gag Me With a Spoon.

Well, if you haven't guessed by now, Hot Moon is "a friend you can expect to be there with that ideal something to make your day a little better." For example, let's say you need a framed photo of Francesco Scavullo. You can get one for only 950dollars and, what's more, if you aren't sure who Scavullo is, there is a brief description of why Scavullo is an icon of American design. That's all you really need to know. How about a Zebra wrap in cashmere or a Chinese porcelain vase? The latter costs 2,000 dollars. If your budget is a little stretched this season, why not go for the Métier tea pot, marked down to 55 dollars. It is a one-person tea pot, by the way.

Is there a market out there for this kind of thing? Is Oprah Winfrey fat and rich?

Why does this irritate me? I don't like the use of the word philosophy to describe personal style, for one thing. I don't mind the notion of a philosophy of life, but this website's use of the terms has nothing to do with philosophical issues and what it means to be human. This is all about creature comforts and middle-class fantasies of luxury, bound up in vague suggestions of simplicity and sustainability. The implicit claim, never stated outright, is that not only will these products make you -- you being the 50-something American woman -- feel better, they will also serve as your contribution to making this world a better place. And the idea that there is something spiritual about purchasing this shit and buying into the lifestyle it promotes just kills me.