The Guardian Australia
We’ve all suffered Khloé Kardashian’s fate, even if we’re not as famous
It has been quite the fortnight for the Streisand effect, the cultural phenomenon of attracting far more attention to a photograph by trying to suppress it than if it had been left to exist without comment. Named after the singer, who sued a photographer for $10m in 2003 for posting pictures of her house online, which few knew was Streisand’s house until she sued him, it has really come into its own in the age of social media, particularly if you are part of one of the most curated, carefully lit families in the celebrity world.
There was a recent precedent for the current drama. On a podcast, former The OC star Rachel Bilson discussed the time she posted a picture to Instagram of her with an old classmate, the actor Rami Malek, during their school days. She admitted that it was “dorky”. He messaged her and unceremoniously asked her to take it down as he is “a private person”; Bilson said that she was “a little bummed at how it was handled”. A picture that might have gone unnoticed has now done the rounds, particularly since Bilson shared the anecdote. Maybe that is a Streisandby-proxy.
The Malek/Bilson saga was just the opening act for the dissemination of a photograph of Khloé Kardashian last week, seemingly without makeup, by a pool, unfiltered. Kardashian quickly attempted to get it removed from the internet, which, as the internet has a tendency to behave like a toddler who finds it hilarious to copy everything you say, led to it being posted everywhere. It was photographic whack-a-mole and the mole appeared to be winning.
People wrote that she looked gorgeous, even “better”, unfiltered and unlit, thus getting involved in the circus of scrutiny that led to Kardashian posting her reasons for trying to get it taken down: “The pressure, constant ridicule and judgment my entire life to be perfect and meet others’ standards of how I should look.” Some might argue that the beast the Kardashians reared and sold is coming back to bite them, others that she is brave for opening up about her body image issues. The saga is sad, a cautionary tale about image and control. Kardashian made it sound as if her situation were hard to relate to for anyone not being scrutinised by millions of people. She has clearly not been on the receiving end of my mother’s blanket approach to posting family pictures to Facebook, which include every blink, triple chin and open mouth, as if she has put a filter only on the word “flattering”.
JonOne: enough to give him art failure
Anyone who has heard that familiar grumble of “I could do that” lobbed in the direction of modern or abstract art will enjoy the story of what happened in Seoul recently, when a poor couple went to see a piece of art by the US artist JonOne.
The untitled painting, estimated to be worth up to $500,000is a vast graffiti work, created by JonOne in front of an audience in South Korea in 2016. The paint cans and brushes from the performance are considered to be part of the piece and are therefore displayed along with it, at the bottom, on the floor.
You may be able to guess what happened next. The unfortunate couple mistook the painting for “participatory art”, according to head of exhibition, Kang Wook, and were captured on CCTV adding their own special touches to it, in the form of three black daubs. They later explained that they had made a genuine mistake, but they may still be at least partially liable for any restoration fees. In its unrestored form, it has been a magnet for visitors, who are taking selfies in front of it. I could do that? They could and they did.
Robert Mapplethorpe: all his life is here, thanks to a canny recut
When Mapplethorpe, the biopic of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, came out in 2018, it passed me by. Directed by Ondi Timoner and starring a pre-Crown, post-Doctor Matt Smith, the reviews weren’t great and still hover at around a 33% splatter on Rotten Tomatoes. But it has now been rereleased with a new director’s cut. “This is my original, complete version,” Timoner explained.
There is a growing movement of do-overs. Ever since 2017, fans had been calling for original director Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League to be released, rather than the Joss Whedon version that appeared in cinemas, which even the screenwriter Chris Terrio last week called “an act of vandalism”. The #SnyderCut was released in colour and then, for good measure, in black and white too and it restored the film’s reputation. I wonder if that’s what Game of Thrones was aiming for with a brand new trailer for its muchmaligned final season, released to mark the “Iron Anniversary” of the show’s debut 10 years ago.
Predictably, pop’s headgirl, Taylor Swift, is proving to be the master of the redo, slowly rerecording and releasing new versions of her older albums, in order to regain control over songs that had been sold in their original masters. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) came out last week. It is not exactly a reimagining, more a clever business move, but the idea that nothing is fixed any more, or finished, is an intriguing one: imagine a new, reworked Game of Thrones finale. A Taylor’s Version, if you will.