September 2, 2007

At the junk shop.

I love a good junk shop, with items expressively arranged. This one, found in Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, expressed something unsettling:

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Disturbing:

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Much of the store was full of furniture that looked like the things that seemed elegant to my mother-in-law in the 1970s. I had to try to imagine someone who didn't have those associations putting this items in a hip, ironic context, and yet... maybe that was more depressing.

But I got extremely absorbed by a stack of Life magazines from 1960. Each issue plunged me into an amazing, weird world that I'm old enough to remember as real and normal. I found it endlessly entertaining. This -- comparing "old" and "new" creamed corn -- made me laugh hysterically:

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(Enlarge.)

I bought two old issues, one with a cover photo of John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey campaigning in Wisconsin and another with a smoldering closeup of Sal Mineo staring into the eyes of his "Exodus" co-star. Of course, Kennedy in Wisconsin appealed to me, but why the Sal Mineo? What tipped me toward the Sal Mineo issue was that there was an entire illustrated article about the guiche. And don't Google that word to find out what it means, because that's not what it meant in 1960.

ADDED: From the December 12, 1960 issue:
The Guiche

NOT A DANCE OR A DISH, IT'S THE NEWEST FRENCH CURL

Being on top of the new fashions this winter, at least in Paris, means literally starting at the top. The latest in hairdos is the guiche -- which means "curl" -- a sharp twist of hair curving forward over the cheek. Usually worn with smooth, short hair, sometimes so sort it is a shingle, the new style completely outdates last season's full, big-headed look....

The guiche must be set securely and separately from the rest of the hair... Clear nail polish is sometimes used to keep its razor edge and cellophane tape will keep it in place overnight. For those whose hair won't behave, false guiches cost only $6 a pair.
There was a shortage of hair products then. Nail polish... cellophane tape.... You know there is special hair tape now, but back then, we really did stick plain, shiny Scotch tape on our face to hold the piece of hair out over the cheek.

14 comments:

peter hoh said...

So what did "guiche" mean back in the 1960s?

Kevin said...

Ann,

Careful, you could stray into Lileks turf. Next thing you know, you're posting screen caps of film noir classics and naming your abode after a pet. :)

Jeff said...

"Much of the store was full of furniture that looked like the things that seemed elegant to my mother-in-law in the 1970s. I had to try to imagine someone who didn't have those associations putting this items in a hip, ironic context, and yet... maybe that was more depressing."

That stuff has been poplar with hipsters since the 80's. The really bad ornate patterns and wood-verneer stuff of the late 60's-70's has only been hip for the last decade or so.

I recommend the store "Future Perfect" on N. 6th in Williamsburg- I would love to read your thoughts about it all.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
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Bob said...

I have to agree with Kevin that this is an obvious Lileks-style post; I wonder if anyone has done a study on the style of various famous bloggers, or even done parlor psychoanalysis based on what they choose to post on? Probably some college student is even now writing one up as a thesis, or will once he reads this reply...

Ann Althouse said...

When I wrote this post, I realized the last picture was the sort of thing that Lileks would say hilarious things about. To me, the original is already hilarious, but I know the Lileks approach makes it even funnier. But exactly how?

Let's see. The ad says: "The pallid look and the soupiness of cream style corn are gone forever." I'm so grossed out by that frank concession about creamed corn that I don't care that they've improved creamed corn. So it's less pallid and soupy, but it's still somewhat pallid and soupy. It's creamed corn! That's what creamed corn is. It's no use coloring it up and rejiggering the liquid/solid proportions. You've conceded creamed corn is pallid and soupy. As long as it's creamed corn, I'm going to think "pallid look and soupiness." And the fact that you've dragged in the U.S. government and acquired a patent for this brilliant diminishment of the two things that make creamed corn creamed corn is not going to work. It's still creamed corn.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
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hdhouse said...

in the "oh brother i should have known that" department...note that green giant (in the ad text) refers to le sueur, minnesota and all this time i thought le sueur peas (silver can) were french...

as many will agree, sometimes i'm so dense it freightens me.

Trooper York said...

Yes they do Ruth Ann...yes they do....it’s the one way to guarantee a return engagement.

Kev said...

I've alerted Lileks to the presence of this post over in the buzz.mn comments, so hopefully he'll stop by once he's finished editing his video report of the day. (And this Kevin agrees that this post has some similarities to his work.)

reader_iam said...

Well, I came in here to make a comment about the juxtaposition of the Jesus panel, the animal figure, and the doll (and not in terms of how I just expressed that), but I can see that's out of place in the conversation at this point.

Never mind.

MadisonMan said...

Am I the only one who sees Le Sueur and thinks Who wants to eat peas from a sewer?

Bob said...

The addendum is interesting, Ann. I'm sure there's a whole world of products that women used in earlier times that would go entirely over Lileks' head, since he lacked the fundamental qualification.

*grins*

Ruth Anne Adams said...
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