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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 1, 2014 / 3 Tammuz, 5774

American Apparel: Bad behavior, bad fashion

By Meghan Daum



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Of the countless ways to feel old in your 40s, perhaps none is quite as perplexing as seeing a young person trendily decked out in 1980s-style garb and saying to yourself, "I can't believe that look is back in style. It was bad enough the first time around!"

I'm sorry to say I have this thought every time I'm served a soy latte by a barista wearing eyeglass frames nearly identical to the oversize tortoise-shell horn rims I wore in high school. Usually, I assume those frames were purchased at the retailer that has essentially become the McDonald's of millennial fashion: AmericanApparel.

Originally known for making basic T-shirts in multiple colors, American Apparel is responsible for bringing many of the worst trends of the 1970s and '80s (think sweatbands, high-waisted pants and leotards worn outside of ballet class) into the 21st century and foisting them on impressionable young people. Last week, its founder and (as of now, former) CEO, Dov Charney, was fired by his board of directors over what the board characterized as "an ongoing investigation" into,among other things, allegations of misuse of company funds and — wait for it — refusing to take sexual harassment training.

Not that a deep investigation was perhaps necessary. Surely even the most casual reader of Gawker or consumer of billboard advertising can cite the evidence that indicates the 45-year-old Charney is his own special brand of sleazy lothario.

Over the years, it's been oft-reported that Charney walked around his office in his underwear. As far back as 2004, a magazine reporter wrote that he masturbated in front of her.

The lawsuits started in 2005 and have kept on coming. A number of his employees, some of whom served as models for the company's notoriously graphic advertisements, have sued Charney for harassment. The cases were settled or dismissed, but in at least one, according to an American Apparel annual report, the government found "reasonable cause" to believe harassment was going on. In 2012, a male store manager accused Charney of attempting to strangle him while rubbing dirt in his face and threatening him with sexual and ethnic slurs. The charges were denied.

Last week, American Apparel's board of directors attempted to spin Charney's ousting as a moral decision, but it was quickly reported that what was more likely at stake was money. The company has suffered losses. Investors had become wary of doing business with the company, and according to a leaked copy of the termination letter, thanks to Charney's behavior, employment liability insurance costs had risen exponentially.



The board noted in the letter that Charney had cost American Apparel "significant and unwarranted expenses." In other words, the company that had for years defended him against harassment "shakedowns" finally appeared to be acknowledging problems, but only as the bottom line dwindled. The directors should be ashamed that they took as long as they did.

They're not the only guilty ones, though. Similarly ashamed, or at least mildly embarrassed, should be the consumers who bought into the company's mythos as a bulwark of progressive politics — for its Made in America, anti-sweatshop stance — and transgressive, and to some even transcendent, sexuality, if using transgender and other atypical models qualifies as transcendent.

For years, even as Charney's "eccentricities" became common knowledge, American Apparel asked its customers to overlook not only its CEO's misogyny but to actually celebrate the perverse political correctness of its brand. It asked them to view the near-naked, often pubescent-looking bodies in its starkly lighted, minimally Photoshopped ads not as a winking reference to pornography but as some kind of uber-hip expression of realness.

American Apparel put pubic hair on mannequins and sold it as feminist commentary. It constantly reminded the public that its factories did not exploit workers overseas but paid them fairly in downtown Los Angeles. All the while, it peppered Sunset Boulevard with billboards depicting models looking not unlike sex workers in the developing world.

And even though some people complained, others continued to shop there. American Apparel's profits may be waning, but it still operates 260 stores in 19 countries. Charney may be gone (he is fighting his ouster), but many pairs of high-waisted pants and eyeglasses like my 1980s tortoise-shell horn rims remain.

Because apparently they weren't bad enough the first time around. Like their creator, they'll only go away when the money goes away too.


Previously:

It's a hair-trigger world: Colleges institute warnings for potentially upsetting subject matter

Humbletalk --- it's just another way to say 'smug'

Zeitgeist-o-meter, 2013

The Oxford English Dictionary's literal problem

Inglorious Twitter hoax should impart lesson

A chilling lack of grown-ups

The danger of banning laptops or iPads during takeoff and landing

Real beauty, Dove, really?

I 'like' me, I really 'like' me

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Meghan Daum is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.


© 2013,the Los Angeles Times

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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