Month: July 2019

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22nd Jul 2019

While on the set of her August 2019 cover shoot for Vogue Australia, Elle Macpherson gets close and personal with her two sons Cy, 16 and Flynn, 21, and tells us her what makes her feel her happiest.

“I’m a morning person, I love the morning light, I like sunrises and I like that quiet time in the morning before everyone is up,” Macpherson says in our video. “Often I’ll start the day with a fresh celery juice. And then I move on to make a green smoothie. It’s all about the greens, so I love greens, any kind of greens.”

The supermodel had never done a family shoot with her boys—until now, when the stars aligned and the timing felt right. “It’s not the first opportunity but it was the first time we truly came together as a team and said okay, it’s Vogue, it’s Australia, it’s iconic”.

As the 55-year-old tells us, she had a ball working closely with her two beloved sons. “And I’m getting to work with those gorgeous boys. I get undivided attention, which happens very really, let me tell you,” Macpherson giggles. “How cool to be able to have this memory of all our coming ages, Cy’s just turned 16, Flynn’s just turned 21. I’m turning 55, and we’re at home in Australia. It’s spring break and we just felt these images that we’d be so happy to have for us.”

Watch the full video below. 

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Prince George turns six today, July 22, 2019 and to mark this very special occasion in the young British royal’s life, his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have, as is becoming tradition, released three new portraits of Prince George to mark the day.

The young royal is reportedly enjoying a holiday with his family on the Caribbean island of Mustique, but prior to jetting away for the summer break, he allowed his mum, Kate Middleton, — the unofficial Cambridge family photographer — to take two charming snaps of him in the garden of their London home, Kensington Palace. The third picture was taken on “holiday”, presumably the holiday they’re currently on.

The trio of candid pictures of the birthday prince were shared on the Cambridge’s official Instagram, @kensingtonroyal. In the first picture taken in the palace garden by Middleton, a beaming, gap-toothed Prince George, wears the official jersey from the England National Soccer Team. Prince George’s dad, Prince William, is a keen soccer fan and is the President of England’s Football Association, his son is clearly also keen on the sport.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge captioned the image with a balloon and soccer ball emoji along with the following sweet note: “Happy Birthday Prince George! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to share new photographs of Prince George to mark His Royal Highness’s sixth birthday. This photograph was taken recently in the garden of their home at Kensington Palace by The Duchess of Cambridge. Thank you everyone for all your lovely messages!”

In the second picture from the portrait series the six-year-old prince wears a forest green polo T-shirt and blue and white striped shorts and is smiling shyly for his mum (who is behind the camera). The Cambridges captioned this image with a birthday cake emoji along with noting the location of this picture and reiterating the family’s gratitude over all the kind birthday wishes for Prince George. “Happy Birthday Prince George! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to share new photographs of Prince George to mark His Royal Highness’s sixth birthday. This photograph was taken on holiday with the family by The Duchess of Cambridge. Thank you everyone for all your lovely messages!”

The final snap looks to have been taken on the same day as the first and is just pure joy; Prince George is lying on the grass laughing uncontrollably. We’d love to have heard the joke his mum, Middleton, said to cause such a hilarious reaction just prior to taking his picture. Happy sixth birthday, Prince George!Click Here: toulon rugby shop melbourne

This past week I found myself in Stuttgart, an industrial city in southwest Germany. As I usually do in a European city I haven’t visited before, I went to the local history museum to see how the story of the Second World War is presented. Stuttgart’s museum opened just last year, and its handling of the Nazi era is more circumspect than that of older German memorials. The period from 1933 to 1945 comprises a small set of displays, perhaps ten per cent of the entire exhibition. The tone is neutral.

“After 1933, National Socialism pursued Hitler’s anti-Semitic, racist, and imperialistic ends in Shtuttgart, too,” a caption explains in English. “Despite their Social Democratic past, many citizens endorsed and profited from the new policies.” Only a third of Stuttgart’s residents voted for the Nationalist Socialists, but this was enough to make the party dominant in the city. “In 1933 began the marginalization, persecution, and murder of Jews, political opponents (social democrats and communists), and other groups,” another caption states, using an impersonal construction that makes marginalization, persecution, and murder sound like forces of nature rather than acts of man. Members of Hitler’s party defaced the entrances to Jewish shops and then rallied in the town square.

Other captions rehearse a familiar chronology, but I found myself noticing things I hadn’t paid attention to before. The Nuremberg Laws, passed in the name of “protecting German blood and honor,” prohibited sexual relations and marriage between Jews and Aryans and stripped Jews of an array of rights, including the right of Jewish women under the age of forty-five to be employed in a German home. The “marginalization, persecution, and murders” began in 1933, but the laws were passed two years later—by this time, many Germans had been convinced that they were necessary. But what jumped out at me was the age clause in the ban on Jewish domestic workers. It’s the kind of bureaucratic phrase that lends legitimacy to something abhorrent. After all, Jewish women past reproductive age were still allowed to be employed in German homes. In the same way, Russian authorities are forever pointing out that Russian law bans not all “homosexual propaganda” but only “homosexual propaganda to minors.” The Trump Administration presents its war on immigrants as a war on certain groups of immigrants only—only the asylum seekers who cross between points of entry, for example, or those who lied on their citizenship application. It’s the legalistic veneer of fascism.

There was a small display with three cut-crystal goblets. “Pogrom of November 9, 1938,” the caption said, using the Russian word in place of the more familiar Kristallnacht. “Victor Rosenfeld (1884-1966) was in Dachau after the pogrom but released a month later. In 1939, he emigrated. He gave his glassware to a neighbor.” This is the kind of story we never think about. Why was Rosenfeld released after a month in Dachau? How was he able to emigrate at that late date? How many people looked at him after his release and breathed a sigh of relief: Perhaps things weren’t so bad?

Another display informed me that the Second World War began in 1939 and that “Stuttgart underwent 52 air raids. About 4,600 residents lost their lives; 14,000 soldiers from Stuttgart died in the field.” I assume that neither figure includes Stuttgart Jews, who, according to one museum display, numbered forty-six hundred in 1933. I know from other sources that, while some of them managed to emigrate, a majority died at the hands of the Nazis. But they didn’t die here: they were transported to the ghetto and then the killing field in Riga or to concentration and then death camps elsewhere. By the time the war began, they had already been either physically removed or legally defined out of the city—so that, eighty years later, in de-Nazified Germany, Jews are not included in the death tally of the city where they lived. Once an absence has been created, a record is almost impossible to forge.

Like anyone who grew up as an outsider—in my case, a Jew in the Soviet Union—I have always been aware of the shifting definitions of belonging. In the nineteen-nineties, when I returned to live in Russia after ten years in exile, the country had liberalized laws on documents, granting citizens the right to define their own ethnicity. When I applied for my new internal passport (the Soviet Union had stripped my family of citizenship in 1981 and restored it in 1992), I decided to test that rule. The internal passport still contained “ethnicity” as one of the essential characteristics, along with name, surname, date and place of birth, and gender. I asked that my ethnicity be indicated as “citizen of Russia.” I still remember the heavy middle-aged woman bureaucrat who looked at my documents, back at me, and back at my documents in confusion, and finally said, “But it says here that your father is Jewish and your mother was Jewish—what kind of citizen of Russia are you?”

I have often told this anecdote, because it’s a perfect—and amusing—illustration of a disconnect between abstract definitions and visceral understanding. To the bureaucrat, the operative word in the phrase “Russian citizen” was “Russian,” and that, to her, referred exclusively to ethnic Russians. She was a kindly woman and she was even aware of the new law allowing people to self-define, but she couldn’t conceive of any definition of me that did not conform to her understanding of how ethnicity and belonging work.

The Russian bureaucrat’s barely articulated understanding is not that different from the understanding Donald Trump has been expressing with his tweets, his statements at the White House, and the rally chant he incited about Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and especially Ilhan Omar. He tweeted that the congresswomen should “go back” to “the places from which they came,” and his crowd chanted, of Omar, “Send her back,” because it is inconceivable to them that women of color, Muslim women, and especially a Muslim woman born outside this country could be citizens, and elected officials, of the United States.

This understanding is shared by Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway, who asked a reporter, “What’s your ethnicity?” A lot of things happened then. Conway identified herself as ethnically Italian and Irish. Media reports identified the reporter, Andrew Feinberg of Breakfast Media, as Jewish. Feinberg himself wrote an op-ed in which he identified his family as coming from a “mix of Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Russian stock.” I am pretty sure none of those countries would claim Feinberg’s relatives, who, to them, were Jews and therefore outsiders—like I was to that bureaucrat. On another level, Feinberg was trying to defend his right to be viewed as an American irrespective of his ethnic background (and in part because he is a journalist) while Conway was positioning herself as an American because of her background—because Italian and Irish are, at present, white-American categories (while journalists are the enemies of the people and Jews are, well, always suspect).

The categories of citizenship, ethnicity, and belonging are always in flux, hazy around the edges. If we have to have them at all—and I wish we didn’t, or at least consciously wanted to rid ourselves of them—then they should indeed be in flux. But this means that whoever screams the loudest can force and direct a drastic renegotiation.

Bizarrely, the Trump Administration is forcing a renegotiation of who is Jewish. In a recent piece, the Times columnist Michelle Goldberg documents a pattern of non-Jews accusing Jews of anti-Semitism for, basically, failing to support Trump. The logic is perfectly circular: Trump and congressional Republicans are using the smear of anti-Semitism to attack Omar and Tlaib, which makes Trump’s opponents the enemies of the enemies of anti-Semitism, which makes them anti-Semites. (I know how this one goes. As a secular Jew and opponent of the Israeli policies in Palestine, I have been accused of anti-Semitism. I also regularly get messages telling me to go back to Russia—a country I had to leave in part because, like many other opponents of Vladimir Putin, I was accused of being unpatriotic and “Russophobic.”)

By turning unspoken assumptions into hateful rally chants, Trump is not merely destroying the norms of political speech but weaponizing them. He is cashing in on the easy trick of saying out loud what others barely dare to think. But his supporters are also enforcing the prohibition on his opponents’ taking part in the conversation—as when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was reprimanded for calling Trump’s speech “racist” on the House floor. Trump has initiated a radical renegotiation of belonging in this country and then monopolized it. This is what happens first: a political force seizes the power to define themselves as insiders and certain others as intruders. This is done in the name of protection of the motherland, which the newly marginalized are said to hate. Everything else follows.

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One day not long ago, I met the photographer Jack Davison at a café in Brooklyn, during the slow hours of the afternoon. He had been beckoned Stateside from his home in London to do a commercial shoot for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s luxury fashion line, the Row, but he had spent that day wandering the streets of Chinatown, where, he informed me, he took a lot of great pictures of hands. He clicked through some of the images on a palm-size point-and-shoot digital camera, which has been his instrument of choice lately. He told me that, because of the machine’s unobtrusiveness, the subjects he’s hired to photograph sometimes think he’s an assistant: “They are, like, ‘When is the actual photographer and the camera coming?’ ”

The misconception might also have something to do with Davison’s startling youth. Twenty-eight years old, baby-faced and affable, he has been shooting editorial work for the likes of the Times Magazine, British Vogue, and various cultish brands (Craig Green, Margaret Howell) since he was barely out of college; his first monograph, titled simply “Photographs,” was released in May. And his work, with its moody chiaroscuro, vintage Kodachrome palette, and Mannerist emotionality, seems to have been ripped out of the pages of glossy magazines from an era when Irving Penn and Richard Avedon were still huddled underneath their dark cloths, and Ralph Gibson and Saul Leiter still prowled the streets.

This anachronistic flavor, Davison explained, is mostly due to his unorthodox photographic education. Raised in rural Essex, in the southeast of England, Davison began making pictures at the age of fifteen. “I just kind of co-opted the family camera, which was a tiny point-and-shoot, and was just, like, ‘I’ll be doing the family photos from now on,’ ” he said. He honed his eye by following his taste, wicking vintage images off of the Internet and into file folders that he keeps on his desktop to this day. They include the canonical photographers of the golden age of editorial photography, though their famous names meant nothing to him at the time. “I would love all those pictures, and I’d look for them in new magazines and not find them anywhere,” he said.

Critics often make a point of the fact that Davison is self-taught—in college, he studied English literature. But he noted that the characterization is not strictly true. As a teen-ager, through the image-sharing site Flickr, he found a mentor, a street photographer named Brett Walker, who ran a ragtag salon out of his London apartment. “I went down and I started to get my ass kicked,” Davison recalled. “Because he was, like, ‘This is shit, this is wrong.’ ” Walker, too, had been a precociously successful professional, and he also gravitated to the work of old-school picture-makers, such as Man Ray. He has been Davison’s lodestar for the past decade, and receives an effusive dedication in the back of his book.

But, whereas Walker’s work skews toward hard-edged realism, Davison’s has drifted into the realm of dreams. A man’s rain-spattered back becomes a looming edifice that we seem beckoned to scale. A hovering dot painted on an alley wall appears transformed into a luminous moon, propped up by a rusted wire trellis and cradled by a shadow hand, and a wild-eyed dog, all Tic Tac white teeth and blurred fur, is a living incarnation of our rapacious anxieties. But, just as in dreams, things are not always what they seem. “This one, which looks terrifying,” Davison said, of the dog picture, “is just a Labrador trying to eat ham.”

On Tuesday, in a region of Arizona once known for its Neolithic settlements, a prominent archeology team made a historic discovery when it unearthed a frequently referenced and formerly elusive racist bone (ulnis bigotris).

The bone has long been a topic of debate in the scientific community. And, despite its previous unattainability, experts have insisted on its existence for centuries, due to voluminous evidence of racism, both in personal and institutional forms.

“Basically, we know that racism is real, because of documented history, and also because of things that are currently happening and being said. Every day. Still,” Dr. Scott Crenshaw, the head of archeology at New College University, said. “People who continue to deny the pervasiveness of racism usually are akin to flat-Earther types—willfully ignorant of facts—or, you know, just, um . . . old and white.”

The discovery of the bone has been heralded as a victory for people who continue to report instances of racist behavior socially, in the workplace, and in the United States government, notwithstanding the assertion of its absence from the body of every single man in power who’s ever made a public statement with thinly veiled bias against races other than his own.

Requests from the archeology community to continue the search for racist bones were rejected by the current White House Administration, on the grounds that it had already checked and didn’t find anything.

“This Administration has a system in place for seeking out and identifying racist bones, and the public simply has to trust that, as of now, despite footage being disseminated by the leftist media, and actual written statements posted by the President himself, we have not been able to find any racist bones in the White House to date,” the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said at a briefing this week.

The excavated ulnis bigotris is currently being prepared for display at the American Museum of Natural History, where the racist-bone exhibit is expected to rival the museum’s Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in popularity. An adjacent vitrine has been set aside for related skeletal specimens that the museum hopes will be provided by Senate members in the next few decades.

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How Iran Wages War and Seeks Peace

July 21, 2019 | News | No Comments

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Military tensions between Iran and the United States have been escalating since the spring, and rose further still this week. Robin Wright joins Dorothy Wickenden to talk about Iran’s long-standing eye-for-an-eye strategy, and whether a new diplomatic solution with the U.S. is possible.

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18th Jul 2019

Sophie Turner and Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, the incredible actors who also happen to be the wives of Joe Jonas and Nick Jonas respectively, have really embraced their newfound sister(-in-law)hood. The latest instance of this? The pair were both snapped separately on the streets wearing the exact same outfit.

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Thanks to fashion icon Victoria Beckham, who posted about the incident on her own account, we were alerted to the fact that both sisters-in-law wore the same Victoria Beckham pyjama suit recently. Beckham posted the below picture, which shows Turner in the fabulous ivory printed pyjama set, and then when you toggle across to the next photo, you also get to see Chopra-Jonas having a turn.

“@sophiet and @priyankachopra in my favourite pyjama set from #VBPreAW19 x VB,” wrote Beckham on Instagram, even adding the appropriate hashtag – #jsisters.

The pyjama set is certainly fabulous, featuring a loose trouser and matching, billowy shirt, printed with a simple gold polka dot design. As the sisters proved, the suit is the perfect go-anywhere outfit, with Turner, 23, wearing it to a Roc Nation brunch event, and Chopra-Jonas, 37, dressing it down, untucked, for the street. As Beckham puts it, the suit is “perfect for the plane, the party and the bedroom.”

We’d love to think the pair, who have become good friends since wedding a Jonas brother each, are now also sharing wardrobes. Chopra-Jonas married Nick Jonas, 26, in a multi-event wedding back in December 2018; Turner wed Joe, 29, in a Las Vegas elopement in May and then again this month in France. 

As for the pyjama set, the pieces are from the Victoria Beckham pre-fall 2019 collection and we have to admit, the “J sisters” certainly have us adding the items to our wish-lists. Add to that Beckham, who looks incredible in her own design, and also Vogue Australia’s own August 2019 cover star, Elle Macpherson, who happens to be wearing the very same suit in our shoot (below), and you’ve got yourself a verifiable must-have look. 

Photographed by Nicole Bentley, styled by Kate Darvill, Vogue Australia, August 2019.

Watching the Moon Landing

July 20, 2019 | News | No Comments

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Some people have always believed that the moon landing was a government hoax, and, in the age of the Internet, that conspiracy theory continues to thrive. Andrew Marantz explores the value of skepticism, and the point at which disbelief leads to a totalitarian breakdown. We went to the archives for three real-time accounts of what it was like to watch the moon landing on television. And the staff writer Jelani Cobb visits the artist Fahamu Pecou, whose works are complex and sometimes funny explorations of black male identity in America.


Who Believes in the Moon Landing?

A significant percentage of Americans believe the moon landing was a government hoax. How does the conspiracy theory continue to thrive?


Watching the Moon Landing in Real Time

Three accounts from a 1969 issue of The New Yorker describe what it was really like to watch the “giant leap for mankind.”


Jelani Cobb Talks with the Artist Fahamu Pecou

The Atlanta artist launched a poster campaign titled “Fahamu Pecou Is the Shit.” But his works about black male identity are as serious as they are sometimes funny.

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Tom Hanks Reads His Tale of Going to the Moon

The actor reads “Alan Bean Plus Four,” his short story about a D.I.Y. journey into space.