Ah, the delicate and fragile ego of the male writer. Hell hath no fury, I tell you. Yesterday, French journalist Jacques Hyzagi wrote a truly dizzying takedown of ELLE magazine, which he claims deliberately set out to sabotage him and his interview with the elusive designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. Ostensibly, his beef is with fashion news director Anne Slowey, who he claims gave him an epic runaround. But in the course of his bombastic temper tantrum he manages to tear down le tout of New York’s publishing industry (New Yorker, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine) like a cat slipping down the living room drapes. At least we won’t have to suffer through any more of his overwrought, self-congratulatory writing in any of the major American publications.
Ultimately, his gripe is that he was edited. Quel horreur! Although he claims that he was not asked to do the edits nor was he shown the final piece before it went to print, which if true, does suck. But it’s hard to drum up sympathy for this babbling asshat when his rant includes mean and unnecessary jabs like: “My impression of Anne was that she was loud and tacky.”
Plus, he dedicates a paragraph to the fact that he hates fashion, yet he dates (and dumps!) models. Dude, if you hate fashion, why are you interviewing a fashion designer, asks every journalist ever. He also goes on a weird tangent about gay men in fashion that is at best clichéd and at worst a smidge homophobic.
Herewith, some of The Great Hyzagi’s more succulent nuggets of ire.
On the current state of publishing:
“Time Warner, Conde Nast and Hearst don’t hire editors in chief anymore but editors able to understand the value of the marketing division to the newsroom and how they should be merged, which is code for content branding.”
Yeah, it’s called evolution. Have you noticed that traditional publishing is sinking? I, for one, would like to keep working, sir.
On trying to sell the story:
“Before I could sit in front of [Rei Kawakubo] in Paris I had to find a publication that could ship my pathetic ass across the pond.”
Truer words have never been written.
On getting turned down by the New Yorker:
“David Remnick at the New Yorker very politely took the time to cut and paste an old profile that his magazine ran ten years ago and to tell me that they never repeat a profile except when it’s a puff piece on Hillary. Although Judith Thurman’s ‘The Misfit’ from 2005 is the smartest one written so far on Ms. Kawakubo the piece was academic, bizarrely self-absorbed and often wrong.”
It must suck to have David Remnick school you, I get it. You didn’t do your homework — you pitched him and he responded by gently rapping your knuckles and showing you that they’ve already run a piece on her. Also, if he wanted another story on a fashion designer, he’d get John Seabrook to write it. Because Seabrook knows, and loves, fashion. Though in fairness, he might not date models. (Advantage: Hyzagi.)
On the MET Gala:
“I realized Anna Wintour had never invited Rei, the goddess of fashion, worshipped by every single designer from Karl Lagerfeld to Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang, to her insufferable annual ball at the Met.”
I’m guessing she never invited you, either.
On his angle for the piece:
“I told Anne that I see Rei as a Romantic from early 19th century, a time when painters started depicting fires, ruins, decay and painted people from the back in a rebuke to the sickening self righteousness of the Enlightenment and by extension as a Dada trying to destroy art.”
Rei Kawakubo: “?? :/”
On going to Paris to interview Kawakubo:
“My writing partner accompanied me.”
What the F is a “writing partner” and how do I get one?!?
“Most of the clothes the best designers—mainly gay men—put on the runways are restricting, repressing camisoles that restrain women as if they were hysterics on the way to the loony bin, not to say anything of the sadistic high heels that submissive women awkwardly don, torture apparatus meant to apparently please an ethos from the worst patriarchy.”
I know. Isn’t it great?
On learning that his edited piece went to print without his approval:
“I never received your emails because you never sent them you liar, I told her—making sure to cc Hearst’s entire masthead.”
This dude has zero chill.
On the final piece:
“The interview published in ELLE this month is surprisingly tight, concise and actually quite good. Only an eye well trained in the art of George Orwell’s double speak would be able to detect the branded content at play in full force here. It is bland, milquetoast, uninformative, safe above all, boring. An infomercial.”
Have you seen the infomercial for the Shake Weight? It’s cinematic genius. I can only hope that one day a magazine of the caliber of ELLE will infomercial the crap out of one of my features.
“Anne discarded the text I had written entirely but not before she stole its structures and plagiarized its ideas. Because she cannot write and is not very bright she succeeded, no small feat, in making a fascinating and revolutionary person such as Rei sound mediocre. Her text is replete with platitudes and clichés, with no insight or intelligence to speak for it and now looks like a perfect Wikipedia entry.”
Brb. Going out to buy ELLE and read this piece. Well played, Hyzagi.