Glenn O’Brien

  • Luxury

    According to several prominent newspaper columnists, a cover story in Sports Illustrated, and many other high-profile media reports in print and on television, advertising directed at selling young people athletic shoes that cost more than $100 a pair has created an unprecedented epidemic of violence among our youth. Especially black youth. In fact, black youth ore the only ones mentioned, explicitly or implicitly: Niggers be killing each other over gym shoes.

    In a column titled “SHADDUP, I’m SEWN’ OUT . . . SHADDUP,” Phil Mushnick of the New York Post related horror story after horror story of

  • Video Games

    A COUPLE OF FRIENDS dragged me out to Playland at Rye Beach the other day. It’s a vintage suburban amusement park with a wooden roller coaster and other classic ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s rides. My friends went off to check out the rides, including the latest, the mind scrambler, which is actually a ’50s “scrambler” ride installed in a tent full of mirrors, strobe lights, and very loud speed metal music. As it was the day after a late night, I felt that my brains were scrambled enough already, so I told them to meet me in the arcade.I wasn’t feeling up to any G forces, but I did feel up to a few video

  • Advertising

    Ah, the smell of it!

    I OPENED UP THE FEBRUARY issue of Elle magazine and there they were: the most beautiful breasts in the world. Well, the most beautiful photo-breasts, anyway. Crowning a headless torso, they are the focus, the face of the picture. Beautifully lit breasts. Artfully illuminated breasts. Symmetrical.

    Proud erect nipples, cool and prominent. Slight goosebumps texture the breast’s surface, around the aureole, as if registering a chill or a thrill. These breasts top a torso of perfect proportions. There is the slightest shadow suggesting a navel. Arms are raised, the right in front,

  • Advertising

    GUESS? ARRIVED IN 1982. It meant question marks on the butts of blue jeans and supporting propaganda in the magazines: full pages of black and white photography of beautiful young women, women in denim or deshabille, sometimes ac-companied by men of various ages. They were portrayed as odalisques, wantons, ingenues, muses, sexual ecstatics. They were shown akimbo, cavorting, smoldering, pouting, rapt, prone, writhing, kneeling, going, coming. There were no words, there was no copy, no message, just Guess?

    Since then Guess? pages have appeared in about 60 magazines. With their copyless format

  • Advertising

    SO CINDY CRAWFORD, the supermodel who is totally down by Vogue, who posed for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and topless for Playboy, who is so hot that Prince, the rock ’n’ roll love god, was, according to Cindy, afraid to go up and talk to her at a club so he wrote a song about her instead, Cindy Crawford, proprietrix of the world’s second-most-famous mole, comes back from Senegal or China or Milan or someplace and finds that her Greenwich Village apartment isn’t exactly the way she left it. Things have been moved around. The place looks strangely lived-in. The phone rings and it’s the

  • Advertising

    “Christmas,“ as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins once said, “is a time for giving.“ The traditional counsel for Christmas giving is it’s the thought that counts, and not only does that old saw apply to gift giving, it applies with equal force to the advertising that leads up to gift selection, that may even, for better or worse, inspire it. In advertising it’s the thought that counts, and more and more I find myself buying the products that manage to convince me they are for the thinking person.

    Lately I’ve been thinking of letting some Reeboks share my sport-shoe time with my very intelligent Nikes. A

  • Advertising

    ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PRINCIPLES we live by is loyalty. We strive to be loyal to our country, our family, our friends, and to the brands of products we consume. You might buy a car because it was made in the U.S.A., and you might buy a laundry detergent because your mother used it. In our consumer society, identities can be determined to a considerable extent by what a person consumes, so brand names become part of the family. And that’s why American business relies on brand loyalty. I use it because it’s family. It makes me feel secure. It’s always there for me.

    It’s hard to argue against

  • Advertising

    ONE OF THE MOST effective kinds of advertising is the free sample, advertising that functions as a taste of what you’ll enjoy once you have made a purchase.

    The original form of this was the out-and-out free sample, like the cheese wedges en brochette served up on a foil-covered tray by a cordial supermarket hostess, or the one- wash box of laundry detergent that arrives in your mailbox. More recently we have seen the development of the teaser sample, such as the perfumed ad pages in magazines, which act as a sample while deterring actual use. Not only are magazine perfume inserts a powerful

  • Advertising

    TWO WOMEN IN BIKINIS jog the beach, running in step, stride for stride. The woman on the right, in the red bikini bottom and Yves Klein Blue, Calvin Klein-like sports bra, seems to be talking. You can't see her mouth, but you can tell she is smiling as she looks into the eyes of her jogging partner. The woman on the left is wearing bikini bottoms that seem to match the blue of the right-hand woman's top, not the lighter air-force blue of her own sports bra. Is the other woman wearing her bra? Is she wearing the other woman's panties? The woman on the left has dark brown hair. Her smile reveals

  • Advertising

    ONE OF PALESTINE'S BIG PROBLEMS is that it really doesn’t have any tourist organization to speak of. Though it occupies the same territory, Palestine is not Israel, not by a long shot. Israel has a hell of a tourist organization and that makes all the difference in the world.

    Last year Israel pitched the slogan “Come stay with friends.” This year Israel is celebrating its 40th year of existence with the campaign “Israel this year.” The word “this” is underlined rather urgently. In one of the spots a rabbi explains that in the Bible the number 40 symbolizes trial. He hopes that the trials are

  • Advertising

    WHEN I THINK ABOUT the possibility today of what used to be called an art movement I think about what Andy Warhol called “Business Art.” You could take his remarks on the subject as flattery of the collecting class or as a send-up of the art world, but I think there’s a lot more to it. I think Andy saw that art was losing large areas of its former purview. Even though art had more value on paper than ever before, it had less clout. It was less about vision and cultural leadership and more about perceived worth. As much as Andy Warhol was a creature of the art world (and of fine-art auctions),

  • Jane Dickson

    Beyond the valley of the Stalinist haute-couture philosophical object manufacturers, securely this side of the luxuriously lined abyss and well out of reach of the solipsist documentary tag-team matches sadly engulfing our earnest referees, there is still, undiminished, painting. Not to mention rhythm, melody, soul food, and business as usual.

    Beauty is a necessity of life and it always finds its own venues, in art and elsewhere. Sometimes things get too hot for beauty so it has to keep moving before it gets run out of town or the art world. A very popular hair product ad pleads, “Don’t hate me