Grab your audience with a terse, punchy headline. Go directly for the subject’s jugular. Take a cheeky tone. Don’t use too many short sentences or the recipient will think you’re trying to use short sentences to keep their attention. Which you are. Above all, be relevant and move quickly among what points you have.
A tried-and-true technique for dealing with unruly teenagers? Not exactly. It’s a series of approaches that are beginning to define The New Journalism – serious fluff written by superficial fanatics for people on the go who take time to pay attention. With the exact opposite of that description ringing just as true. Sometimes for the same writer or blog. Occasionally within the same story.
Does the new approach work? Only if it stays new and nimble, it appears. Which is what a blog like the Fashion Police seems to be all about.
Fashion offenses, or serial offender?
At first glance, the site looks to be an old-fashioned, irreverent take on a world that’s long been known for taking itself far too seriously. The blog’s subtitle says it all:
Fighting crimes of fashion and solving style dilemmas
What’s a little trickier to discern is whether the blog falls victim to some of the crimes it purports to fight…like ultra-seriousness and pretension. Sorry, Old Journalism at work there. Retake: Is the blog fashion ownage or failage?
More to the point: is there an underlying seriousness to all the free-wheeling comments about “must-have items that cost half your monthly salary”? Could it be that the Fashion Police take themselves and their mission every bit as seriously as those they skewer? (Sort of an Old/New Hybrid Journalism there.)
Nothing a little police work couldn’t solve
To get a better idea, it might help to go directly to the source and see for oneself (very Old J there), tacking on a score that determines the blog’s TRUE SPIRIT:
- For starters, there’s Scary Slippers: When Footwear Goes Bad, which looks right off to be one of those (cough) fashion rundowns that makes fun of the latest ridiculous articles of clothing. FP’s take, right to the point, is that there are some gnarly slipper designs out there – and one of them, which shall not be named, runs $325 a pair. The commentary continues: “Who spends $325 just to be able to walk around the house wearing slippers that look like something the cat dragged in?” Score: SERIOUS OWNAGE
- Next up is Style SOS: Which Shoes to Wear with Skinny Jeans?, a straight-on question that gets answered by redirecting the inquiry to which shoes NOT to wear with skinny jeans. Is that just a different way of saying, “I know you are, but what am I?” Not quite. With pictures still worth a few dozen words (and videos maybe a few dozen more), FP gets right to it without having to make a convoluted, vaguely diplomatic argument. Which underscores another element that permeates the site: Any idiot could look at that and tell you not to wear it or pay that much for it. Score: SNICKERING OWNAGE
- Lastly (hey, if you want a scientific sample, head over to Arthur Andersen…with your gold bar collection as a down payment), consider How to Get a Retro Look on a Budget. The site admits up front that its readers (and writers) have a thing for clothing that, ahem, some of us had to wear and therefore wouldn’t choose to in life’s more advanced cycles. Let you guess: They wax hilarious about getting the best deals at thrift shops. Not. Without giving away the content farm, let’s just say there’s as much solid information for the retro-seeker here as there are waggish remarks. More, probably. Score: HELPFUL OWNAGE
Ladies and gentlemen, how do you say?
OK, OK, that only amounts to a few stories. And a smattering of analysis.
That’s the New Journalism for you, though. Because that’s pretty much the latest iteration of our Brave New World. Even the Brave New Fashion World. Up one millisecond, down the next 4,005, back up for, oh, 8 days. Like governments and entertainment, we typically get the kind of journalism, cheeky or not, that reflects society as a whole.
Final score? Based on a small sampling (and a hunch gathering deadline momentum), Fashion Police gets it right. Or as right as any blog devoted to fashion, consumer trends and apparel could — other than this one, of course. And we’re not just saying that.
The proof of these opinions will come when FP finally recognizes them as clearly superior and writes about us. Which they’ll have to.