Wednesday, May 14, 2008
America's Next Top Model (Cycle 10) - 10x12 "Ready For My Closeup"
For such an easy target of gender identity ridicule and as the primary source of so much ironic amusement this cycle, Dominique eventually developed into a pitiable if not quite sympathetic character over the course of this cycle, which just amounts to the death of postmodernity.
ANTM originally designated her as the receptacle for our derision, though honestly, Dominique probably didn't need the help of a tv show for her absurdity to become world famous. But she's plastered over our tv screens anyway, so like the good little ironists we are, we ate up every fiercely drag queen gesture of hers, every act of arrogance, every broke down face she gave, all in the name of reveling in her unfathomable ridiculousness.
But underneath the fun and games lies pathos and sadness. I've never been able to put out of mind how she's been the victim of domestic abuse and a single mom, which only scratches the surface of my disquietude. Sure, her isolation was self-wrought, and whenever the karmic wheel meted out punishment to her, she had brought it down on herself because she didn't realize her own limitations and/or she didn't know any better. That sort of ignorance hardly justifies the level of vitriol she gets, and while the show tried to position her as the villain-clown ne plus ultra (well, at least since Jade), she constantly sought validation the only way a tooth-missing single-parent tranny knew how: by obsequiously undressing her ego in front of the judges -- e.g. if they thought her CoverGirl ad was a hoot, by golly, it was side-splitting to her! She gave the show what little she had to offer while ANTM in turn pushed her to her inevitable elimination while it simultaneously exploited every last bit of ridicule she could provide. With such tactics that underpin how the show presents her, I'd rather throw my lot in with Dominique than give the producers a free pass at such imbalanced exploitation, which possibly explains why her dragginess now appeals to me in a visual way. It's sort of breathtaking:
Well, I feel more masculine now.
Like the disproportionate punishment for her misguided hubris, she paid for the benefit of getting exploited as a source of ironic amusement which subsequently collapses on itself and turns into genuine pity. I say all this not to excuse her per se, but to explain why someone like her provoked such an honest response out of me, which is why postmodernism is dead. Or else postmodernism is alive and well, and I'm merely regressing back into sincerity, in which case:
Anya should've won the photography challenge since she had a leg up on everyone else on account of her previous experience behind the lens. (Even if she didn't demand that Paulina growl for her, I mentally squeed when Anya unleashed her tiger schtick again.)
Seriously though, even though she was behind the camera while a bona fide supermodel spazzed around, my attention never left the bleached elfin albino. But she's a preternaturally considerate creature, she gave us a peek at of what she'd look like behind the camera -- if she held...
That said, I'm not terribly optimistic about Anya's chances heading into the final week, as the last time a platinum blonde who had become my favorite reached the top three, she got hosed over in maddening fashion. We've yet to hear the judges subject anyone to the insipid "plateau" criticism (which has always been an inordinately subjective fallacy), so I guess that means Anya is due (as I don't see them painting Fat and Fatter with that particular brush). Of course, the judges would be demonstrably wrong because Anya has absolutely progressed, if not as a model, then as a person who can get off a bus without incident.
Indie rating: A Silver Mt. Zion – "Sow Some Lonesome Corners So Many Flowers Bloom"