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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bitchface and stinkeye

Stephen Drucker, HBIC at House Beautiful.

So I am little late to this rodeo. In the newest issue of House Beautiful, Editor-in-Chief Stephen Drucker (hereafter known as "Schnozz") claims to have unearthed a new direction in interior design commentary - SNARK. Really, Schnozz? Only recently the design community and its followers have begun throwing bitchface and stinkeye? Come on. As long as man has been roaming this earth, he has been judging and one-upping his fellow Homo sapiens' dwellings. You know some nellie caveman sashayed into Lascaux and grunted,"Hunnee! What's with all the horses?"

Schnozz claims "There's a mean streak creeping into the design world, and it concerns me. [Oh noes!] It started on TV; I'm seeing it more in comments on blogs; then recently there was a decorating contest here in New York that turned way too Simon Cowell for me." You must be kidding, Schnozzy. You're going to tell me with a straight face that your editorial meetings are models of Emily Post refinement with nary a harsh word spoken about any of the projects under consideration for publication? PUH-LEASE.

Schnozzissimo goes on to state "I don't want to see the less confident among us play it safe, just to avoid criticism. That's the fifties [sic] all over again." Huh? I have no idea what he's talking about with that second bit, but as for the first sentence, "less confident" designers have their place. They assist you with your purchases at Ethan Allen.

El Schnozzo Grande wraps up with "The decorator Mark Hampton who had strong opinions and the eye to back them up [Ima gonna disagree with you here, S-Man.], once wrote,"I look askance at people...who have these enormous refined senses of hate." Really? Because I applaud anyone who has the cojones to stand up and say "I loathe tiny Eiffel Tower figurines" when the better part of the design blogosphere swoons at misty shots of balloons in ballrooms and fauteuils covered in turquoise ostrich skin.

P.S. Thanks for making me type out all of those quotes, Schnozzalozzadingdong, instead of posting your Editor's Letter online. While we're talking about HB's website, why so stingy with the main articles? Post them at the end of the month if you're concerned about it biting into your newsstand sales, but for God's sake man, we want to see pretty pictures of pretty rooms. If only to make fun of them.


ita darling. said...

you've been on a hot tear lately! This is Pulitzer worthy: "Because I applaud anyone who has the cojones to stand up and say "I loathe tiny Eiffel Tower figurines" when the better part of the design blogosphere swoons at misty shots of balloons in ballrooms and fauteuils covered in turquoise ostrich skin."

bwahahahahahahahahaha. love love love.

Cote de Texas said...

omg! this is our topic on the skirted roundtable this week and i say, "well there goes MY cover on HB" hehe.
Me thinks you aint getting that cover either. YOU are soo f***ing funny. I am cracking up. and hey,
happy passover to you and to the S-man

Raina Cox said...

Ita - Well, thank you Sweetie Pie!

Cote de Texas - Joni, yeah, I'm pretty sure you won't see my face in HB any time soon. May your herbs be not too bitter and your charoset made with the finest of wines.

Jamie said...

As you and I were talking about the other day...the internets are the land of the unsolicited advice/opinion. I tend to go by the"if you can't say something nice" mantra, but I appreciate a well worded critique of anything. Love your perspective, Raina!

nkp said...

Ouch. I'd love to see a printed response to that one from the Grand Poobah of HB himself. Now wouldn't that be sumpin'! Alls I gotta say is, don't cross Ms. R, cause she will tear you to shreds with the written word. You are one articulate mo' fo and I mean that with all due respect. I love it that you will express your honest to god opinion no matter what. Speaking of cajones, yours, I believe are the size of Texas. At least.

And by the way, I'm not into Eiffel towers, but you know I get all misty-eyed at a pretty ballroom chock-a-full of balloons. We're still friends, right? ;0)

love ya-nelya

holly goes lightly said...

Brava, Shade.

details said...

I am PEEING in my pants! Freaking A! And here I was getting all scaredy cat about being too much if a tell all snark!! And the 50's safe?? WTF? Mid century modern? I like the pretty pics as much as anyone else but YAWN, gotta mix it up now and then!! Way to put the spin on it Raina!!!!!

my favorite and my best said...

damn. dude. there is bowing down over here...for you.
i am going to sit in a corner for a while.
(in a misty ballooned ballroom obvs.)

Raina Cox said...

NKP and MFAMB - You two have free passes for life with me.

Tara Dillard said...

HB is scared. All the magazines are. Changing technologies, consumer's use of time, advertisers not buying, & BLOGLAND have exposed them.

Magazine writing/creativity vs. BLOGLAND?

Magazines such a bore.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Raina Cox said...

Note to Dumplings: Per a request from a quite lovely person, I opened up commenting.

Overnight, Anony-tards began their assault, so that little experiment has been shut down.

I've never understood why anyone would walk into my party (La Lamp Shade) and take a shit on my sofa (troll droppings). I welcome well-mannered well-thought out, or even funny, dissenting opinions. But to come here and be dumb and hateful is a no-go.

And I personally feel delayed comment approval denies you Dumplings the instant gratification of seeing your sage words posted.

Now back to our regularly scheduled snark...

ticklishfromadistance said...

I love you.

nkp said...

Seriously, who wants to clean up troll droppings. Not I. Go shit in someone else's forrest!

I second Ticklish!

Real Estate Resuscitation said...

I, too, wrote about thus last week. I wondered how long it would take before the discussions got started in blogville.


Dianne said...

Ouch! I think everyone is missing the point...he doesn't want designers to be careful in fear of having their feelings hurt. I respect this man. He has totally changed House Beautiful for the better. I agree he is scared as are all shelter prints. It's a new world out there. Blogs have changed everything.

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

I have been hiding under a mountain of work, so am just seeing all this.

I think Tara has it right.

They may have the same opinions that we're able to share openly. They remind me of Marquise De Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons...they're stabbing themselves with a fork under the table while they do their duty to entertain and pleae the advertisers.

The Down East Dilettante said...

There's meanness in the design world? Nooooo! Say it ain't so!
(Like in my 30 years as an antiques dealer selling to designers I'd never noticed *insert dripping irony tinged with sarcasm here*).

It happens that Mr. Drucker, clearly a nice man with realllllly boring taste has made House Beautiful reallllllly dull these days---all the spreads seem to be shot in McMansions through a taupe gauze filter---not that one looks to House Beautiful for cutting edge---there are other, ever fewer, magazines to fulfill that important function---but there is a mind-numbing sameness to the content.

Criticism is an important function for arts and design, but it should be delivered thoughtfully and well, and this whole reality Teevee, stoke up the drama and meanness stuff is just icky.

Now, a quick scold to you, one of the bloggers I most admire usually. You overdid the nose thing. I draw the line at making too much fun of physical defects (defects like painting the front hall fuschia and orange is fair game);

Cheers, and keep on entertaining with your smart observations

The Down East Dilettante said...

Oh, and PS:

Thanks for the dissenting view on Mark Hampton. Regardless of one's taste preferences (personally I'm a taste whore and like it all from Renaissance ceilings in Italian Palazzos to a faux faux table from Target---good is good, regardless of era or provenance), I find much to pick apart in Mr. Hampton's high styled heavily coiffed interiors, and yet some sort of deification seems to be underway. Thank you for pointing out that the emperor, while perhaps not fully naked, does have some holes in his underwear.

If I had more time, I'd work on improving that metaphor, but gotta get some work done.

Raina Cox said...

Real Estate Resuscitation and Dianne - Hello to you both and welcome to this deliciousness!

Jeannine - Bonus points for a Dangerous Liaisons reference.

Down East Dilenttante - My husband thought that a bit much too. How 'bout I go through and change it to "Dreck-er"?

erin@designcrisis said...

Whatever. I don't think any of us would snark on the average Jane's home, but the homes featured in magazines belong to people with wealth, power and privilege. They are marketed to us as tastemakers. Us regular folk have every right to snark on how the rich blow their benjamins, while we plot and scheme ways to redo our own modest homes on a budget. A touch of jealousy? Yes. There is that. But there's also an understanding that, given the same resources, maybe we could have done better.

ModernSauce said...

I really like Stephen (schnozz jokes make me sad!) but I do agree with erin that nobody is getting snarky (that I’m aware of) with each other per se but with the idea of designers' unchecked extravagances and often ‘same shit/different house’ uncreative work that they want us to fawn over in magazines. A dose of snarky reality from the blogosphere can be a good thing. “Dear fabulous decorators: your room is beautiful but what do you really expect me to say when you spend thousands to upholster walls in silk linen or buy a $12G couch?” Gimme a break!

Raina Cox said...

ModernSauce - Hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

Raina Cox said...

Dearest Dumplings,

Alright, I will put on my big girl britches and apologize for referring to Mr. Drucker as "Schnozz" and its subsequent variations.

The rest of the post stands, though.

Humbly yours,


erin@designcrisis said...

You can't take back Schnozzalozzadingdong. Sorry. I'm keeping that one.

Rachel said...

I obviously missed this post the first time around!! WTF was I thinking not checking in on March 28th/29th???

El Schnozz is just like many many many out there that feel like things are getting out of hand and too mean when they hear comments that don't agree with what they believe or feel. It seems like very few people these days can take a good ribbing.

It's like what I've told my husband before... just because I listen to your opinion doesn't mean I have to agree with it.
But honestly, I think Erin with DesignCrisis hit the nail perfectly on the head... 100% agree with what she said.

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

Now I see why it was so hard to find you...;)