October 23, 2008

Anal Sex, Making It Work, and Other Things Tim Gunn Likes

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We sat outside CTB, incognito, each wrapped in blankets and R’s face masked by her fedora —
R: It’s a “lady hat!”
— sipping our espressos, discussing the upcoming election, Proust, the human condition and Project Runway. R and R’s political discussions never seem to result in much r-and-r, and this instance was no different.
R: You don’t have to hold me down and spray Fantastik in my mouth every time.
R: That last time was an accident.
Our political grievances and broken bones behind us, the discussion turned to the recent, moderately annoying but mostly disappointing Project Runway finale. With Andre’s Red Lobster tantrums a thing of the past and Angela’s mom’s tears long dried, the only matter worth discussing was Korto’s epic badonkadonk and Gawker has already covered it better than any industrial-sized fabric ever could.
R: What’s industrial-sized fabric?
Much of the show’s magic has made it’s way off into the reality show vortex where dreams, and the shrill sound of Kenley “I wasn’t trying to be elegant, Heidi!” Collins, have gone to die. Don’t worry, Kenley, nothing about that outfit was elegant. Regardless, we will surely miss the oddly egalitarian nature of this fierce competition, and the insightful and expert commentary by everyone’s favorite judges. Who wouldn’t want a Michael Kors around? If only the top American designer had been there to dissuade Hillary from that tragic Puerto Rican skirtsuit nightmare …
Michael Kors: That thing looks like a dog got caught in a blender and was then poured into the eye of a tsunami —
R: Tsunami’s don’t have eyes.
— and then crawled out and spontaneously combusted in a sewer where a homeless man found it and ate it and pooped and that’s what she’s wearing right now.
Sometimes we all need to hear it. But seriously, looking beyond the unfortunate personalities and petty drama, the competitive nature of Project Runway maintains an integrity that seems to be lacking in some of society’s more significant competitions.
R: Are we talking about the election again?
We are indeed. Imagine the transparency:

Heidi: 10 Presidential candidates, sharing rooms in the Atlas hotel and participating in a sequence of competitions on a level playing field for the world to watch. True personalities will be revealed along with true flaws and real genius. For these presidential candidates, in election season, you’re either in, or you’re out.
Week One
Tim Gunn: Gather round, candidates, gather round. This week, you will all be designing a Health Care Plan that benefits the greatest number of Americans. You’ll have 30 minutes to sketch your design. Keep budget in mind, people, as you’ll only have $100.
Week Two
T.G.: Good morning, candidates. For your second challenge, you will be working with a partner to design a new piece of legislation! Each of you has been assigned to an area of your own specific expertise. The point of this challenge is collaboration! Bipartisanship, people!
Hillary, Sarah, you two will be working on foreign policy. Dick, Al, the two of you will be working together to pass legislation to stop global warming! John K. and George, you’re going to fix the economy. George? What happened to George?
J.K.: No one’s seen George in a while.
T.G.: OK, well, next … Barack, John M., you’re on the war.
Both: Fuck.
T.G.: And finally, Ralph. I’m sorry to say, but you’re going to have to sit this one out.
Week Three
T.G.: Candidates, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll be working on your own this week. This challenge is about finding the optimal use of limited resources. You’ll be designing a national budget, making clear what elements you think are essential to focus on and which you’ll be willing to leave out if need be, because need will be. Al, I’m worried.
Week Four
T.G.: Candidates, in this challenge, you will have to articulate your vision of the national aesthetic. In a speech, which you all must write yourselves, tell the American people what you think America is, what it could be and how your vision will accomplish these goals. Remember to use full sentences. Verbs and nouns people! You have 10 minutes.
Week Five
T.G.: Candidates, this challenge is about ingenuity, stamina and sheer dumb luck. If you’ll go ahead and look in your personalized fanny packs, provided by Saturn, you’ll each find a Pocket Pashtun Phrase Book, one can of five-hour energy drink, a pack of cigarettes, a white flag and a cyanide pill. You have one hour to say goodbye to your families before we airlift you to the Afghan border. You will have two days to find and capture Osama bin Laden. As this is the final challenge, I want to remind you of how proud I am of you all for making it this far. Make it work.
R: There’s a pigeon on your lady hat.

And with that, we were lifted from our reverie, saddened to find it was all just a vivid dream. Back to a world where competitions based on merit and talent rather than wealth, influence and spunky Germans are still limited to reality television. It is unlikely that we’ll ever know who a Presidential candidate truly is behind the smoke screens and scripted words of strategists and speech writers, or be given the opportunity to make direct comparisons between them. They say they value bipartisanship, they say they’ll keep the country’s best interest at heart, they might even say they won’t be biased by their own personal beliefs, but we will never truly know who they are or what they’re made of until it’s too late.
We know this column is no beacon of political insight, —
R: Snarky!
— but we wanted to express our overwhelming frustration and disappointment with the general amount of shit this election has flung about, especially considering the strikingly provocative discourse the Bravo channel has presented in comparison. For Nina’s sake, we wish American politics were a bit more elegant. I mean, come on. Wouldn’t it be great to have a President who wasn’t just popular, but was also fierce? Make it work, America. Auf Wiedersehen.

Rabia Muqaddam and Rachel Gevirtz are juniors in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Agricultural and Life Sciences, respectively. They can be contacted at rcm47@cornell.edu. They’re pretty fierce. All The Characters Are Fictional appears alternate Thursdays.