It’s Monday morning, tax day, crummy weather, and lots of work to do, so I’m not going to make things worse by posting here the photo that the New York Times splayed across the front of its Sunday Styles section yesterday, and that made me (and probably many of you) go ICK! EWWWW! EWWWW EWWWW EWWWW! At the very least, the photo, which depicts disgraced “fashion designer” Anand Jon in the company of two very, very young-looking models somewhere out on the party circuit, is the kind of woozy tableau that reminds you that the lower rungs of the fashion and celebrity world are saturated in vulgarity and creepiness whether or not actual crimes are committed. Of course, given the multiplying legal charges of rape and molestation that Jon now faces, the photo’s prominent placement, beneath the headline “The Designer Who Liked Models” and accompanying a spare-no-tawdry-detail article by Hollywood correspondent Sharon Waxman, makes for quite the indictment in the court of public opinion. It does so, in fact, to an extent that made me uncomfortable, though I’ll go out on a limb and say that this brother is clearly a grade-A, bona fide creep and I’d be highly surprised, given what’s coming out, if he was cleared of all charges.
Meanwhile the article has raised hackles in other quarters, as I discovered while checking our news page to see if anyone had posted it. Indeed: an anonymous tipster linked the story as “NY times ignorant report,” quoting this line from the piece: “Mr. Jon is well known in his native India, and national newspapers like The Hindustan Times and Calcutta Times follow every development with interest,” and commenting in response:
Actually he is unknown in India.The is no newspaper called Calcutta Times. And this Jon story has never appeared in The Telegraph. Indian media has not any given attention to Anand Jon.
Now the “Calcutta Times” thing tripped me up too; I chalked it up to shoddy Googling by Waxman to make a point that, while tangential to the story, might give it some extra oomph. I maintain that view, especially upon finding that “Calcutta Times” is the name of the Times of India’s Calcutta supplement (similar to those it runs in other cities); Waxman must have just grabbed something that ran there to support her claim.
But of course, the tipster had to go and assert that the Jon story has not even despoiled the virginal eyes of the Indian newspaper reading public, and that, of course, is a load of bollocks. In fact, the very Telegraph, which the tipster claims has never run a story on Jon, did exactly that on March 14, with a piece by K. P. Nayar that begins as follows:
Washington, March 14: Anand Jon, whose Indian-American success story is the stuff of dreams, is in a Los Angeles jail, arrested on rape charges.
So even if Waxman’s technique was shoddy, you can hardly fault her for claiming that Indians are paying attention to the case given this kind of treatment.
Anyway, this is inside baseball, and I would like to explain for the benefit of any mainstream media or bloggers coming here to find the “official” desi reaction to the latest developments in the Jon case, that the point I’ve just raised is totally tangential to the case itself, and that as far as I know, reaction among American desis remains the same combination of “innocent until proven guilty… I guess” and “EEEEWWWW ICK ICK ICK” that it’s been from the beginning. Continue reading