Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mr. Gorbachev, throw out that bag!

I always look at the front cover of The New Yorker. I never look at the back cover.

Well, never say never.

The other day I happened to look. No, it was actually more of a glance. And what I noticed in that glance was a man seated in the back of a limo, with a big old Vuitton duffle bag opened next to him.

And I said to myself, 'Gee, that man looks an awful lot like Mikhail Gorbachev. But that can't possibly be.'

Well, never say can't possibly be.

Gorbachev is shilling for Louis Vuitton.

Say what?

Gorbachev is shilling for Louis Vuitton.

Okay, Vuitton is making a donation to something called Green Cross International, which is Gorbachev's organization with a charter to do environmental good. But I'd still rather not see Mr. Gorbachev sitting (looking decided uncomfortable, I might add) in the back of a limo, with a big old Vuitton duffle bag opened next to him.

First, there's the hilarious conjunction of a former head of the USSR and what before, during, and after the fall of communism has served as at least a minor league symbol of wretched capitalistic excess (not to mention dopey brand snobbery and shopaholism).

Second, couldn't a leader of Gorbachev's stature - a Nobel Prize winner - have just gotten the donation out of Vuitton without having to pretend that he totes Green Cross International do-gooder documents around in a Vuitton bag? (In the ad, Mr. G. is riding by the "Berlin Wall. Returning from a conference." Maybe he's got a few more chipped out pieces of The Wall in that bag. I'm down to my last piece, so if Gorbie's got some to spare...)

Third, without sounding like a complete sexist, I have never seen a man with a real or knock-off Vuitton bag. Maybe it's a European thang, but I know it wouldn't have seemed as odd to me if the ad showed Raisa Gorbachev. Other than the fact that she's dead, of course.

The copy - which is sparse - reads "A journey brings us face to face with ourselves."

Maybe that's true for Mr. Gorbachev, but I've taken all kinds of journeys - which I actually refer to as trips - and I have not once come face to face with myself. Maybe that's my problem. Maybe I need to get me a Vuitton bag. Or at least a knock-off. Too bad I'm not wild about the color brown.

I never thought I'd utter or write the words "where's Ronald Reagan when we need him?"

Never say never, I always say.


Mary Schmidt said...

I did a classic spit take when I saw the ad.

Of course, this isn't nearly as bad as Bob Dole (and his dog) drooling over Brittany in those Pepsi commercials (that was just plain creepy.)

Capitalism isn't's just incredibly goofy.

ann said...

However, what is worth highliting Green Cross International has a new chairman - Polish - Jan Kulczyk