[Bodymind] L’Wren Scott, JPE and Palparan

Alas, what the deceased wants is not always what happens

Perhaps it’s best to begin with undisputed facts: L’Wren Scott committed suicide in her Manhattan apartment on March 17, 2014.

The youngest of 3 children adopted by Ivan and Lula Bambrough of Utah, she was originally known as Luann Bambrough. After she turned 17, she left Utah to become first a fashion model in Paris, then a Hollywood stylist, and in 2006, a fashion designer.

Another undisputed fact is that her suicide caused a media frenzy. Different news agencies had different headlines and narratives, emphasized different aspects of, and putting forth different explanations for, Ms Scott’s life, her subsequent death, and what one could call her legacy.

And here is where the discord starts.

Some writers took exception to the fact that many news agencies – BBC, CNN, USA Today, and goodness gracious even our very own rappler.com – mentioned her relationship with Mick Jagger in the headlines announcing her death. I shall call these writers the naysayers.

If I were to describe them as feminists in any way, I would have to add the adjective rabid since real feminists think, they do not have knee-jerk reactions to everything someone has told them is politically incorrect. In my opinion, thinking, weighing the facts, exploring alternative explanations (other than the usual misogyny and sexism) is not what these naysayers did.

Mick Jagger’s girlfriend

Admittedly, some writers were definitely sexist, myopic and mean spirited. But it was not only this kind of news person that was criticized. There seemed to be a conspiracy among the naysayers rubbing their hands in glee as, sure enough, “traditional press” goofed once again – painting L’Wren first and foremost as Mick Jagger’s girlfriend.

It’s as if they had a meeting beforehand and decided, “Let’s be above the fray, so we can criticize our competitors for not being as high-minded as we.”

An example is Joan Smith’s article in the Independent ): “What is clear – and distasteful – is the way in which the circumstances of her (L’Wren Scott’s) death are being used in a series of narratives which undermine women.”

I, however, cannot help asking: “But what if her death and her life are really part of a narrative where her own decisions undermined her own career and thus her own life? Are columnists expected to stop thinking and telling the truth as they see it simply to toe the politically correct naysayer party line?

I sure hope not. Certainly, I too am worried that many will dislike this piece (but hopefully, will tell me so in the comments section). But I think it’s time we looked at all these accusations of misogyny and setting back feminism a hundred years and see if they have any basis.

EXAMPLE 1: from LA Times

Luiza Ch. Savage, Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Canada’s Maclean’s magazine wrote “I knew L’Wren Scott was a designer. Had no idea who her boyfriend was. RIP.”

If this were true, then Ms Savage has no right to be any magazine’s bureau chief. Since 2001 when she became recognized as Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, pictures and stories of their jet set life were constantly in the press. From 2001-2014, while Mick Jagger had stories written about him that made no mention of L’Wren Scott, I have yet to come across any story about her that did not include him.

L’ Wren claimed she didn’t want being his girlfriend to be her sole claim to fame, and yet she seemed to do all she could to publicize their relationship. She went on as many Rolling Stone tours as she could and missed their last tour only because Jagger specifically asked her not to come. She offered to create the band’s wardrobe on Rolling Stones’ tours but other members balked, so in the end only Jagger wore her designs.

When the London papers speculated about the two of them being engaged because of a diamond ring on her left hand, she certainly didn’t demur.

And let’s not forget things she said like: “Mick loves what I wear, and always has something to say about it!” which underscored her relationship.

Fashion designer

EXAMPLE 2: Again from LA Times:

Abbie Ruzicka, staffer for Boston public TV-radio station WGBH, wrote: “Before L’Wren Scott was known as ‘Mick Jagger’s girlfriend,’ she was known as a designer with a pretty damn successful career.”

But I question even that. The major reason people knew about her career was because news outlets constantly wrote about them, but only since she and Jagger became an item.

I doubt anyone remembers her modeling days the way one does those of Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Elle MacPherson.

DEBT AND LOSS. A file picture dated 02 December 2013 shows US model L'Wren Scott arriving at the annual British Fashion Awards in Central London. Photo by Daniel Deme/European Pressphoto Agency

Yes, she was a stylist and dressed Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Barkin and Julianne Moore but how big a deal was this really, in a country where countless stylists dress countless celebrities in one year alone? True, she was named the official stylist of the Oscars in 2000, but many others had been named the same both prior to and after 2000.

Scott was competent, no doubt about it. Perhaps she was even gifted at what she did. But, in the world she lived in, gifted people were a dime a dozen. What made her stand out was being Mick Jagger’s girlfriend – no ifs or buts. It’s even possible some people bought her designer clothes because of this one degree of separation from a rock and roll star.

Since she became Mick Jagger’s girlfriend in 2001, L’Wren Scott made exceptionally good copy. For anyone who doubts this, I suggest you do your own Google search and see how often L’Wren’s career was written about in practically all the major newspapers in the UK and the US shows. In fact, even the very naysayers who scolded traditional media for invariably including Mick Jagger’s name in the headline used a platform which itself had never published anything about Scott before her relationship with Mick Jagger. No one wrote about L’Wren Scott without mentioning Mick Jagger.

In fact, even as I shamefacedly admit that the following accusation is based on a rather cursory Google search, it is ironic that the very naysayers themselves had not written a single article about Scott without Jagger’s name was included.

Margaret Wappler excoriated news agencies BBC, CNN, USA Today among others, for using Mick Jagger in L’Wren’s suicide story. The title of her piece is L’Wren Scott Never Wanted to Be Identified As “Someone’s Girlfriend.”

As her ending line, Ms Wappler says: “It’s sad that even on her final day, the press didn’t recall how she once described herself: ‘I’m a fashion designer. I don’t want to be defined as someone’s girlfriend.’”

Truth vs spin

Alas, what the deceased wants is not always what happens.

And you know something, sometimes this is the way it should be.

I am also sure Juan Ponce Enrile would prefer to be known as the presiding judge at the Corona trial, rather than as the architect of Martial Law and the weasel who managed to use anyone and everyone – paid columnists, cronies, ex-soldiers, mistress, daughter, wife – simply to protect himself.

Just as Jovito Palparan would perhaps want to be known as a professional soldier rather than as an alleged berdugo (butcher) responsible for the death and disappearance of many.

Let’s hope that L’Wren will be remembered for her own accomplishments, based on her own merits, helped by media professional enough when reporting news. More importantly, let’s hope we readers are sufficiently astute to be able to separate truth from spin.

In the same context, let’s hope that the likes of Ponce Enrile, Palparan and other alleged villains are also judged objectively, hopefully in their lifetime, so they get their just desserts sooner rather than later. – Rappler.com

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