Saturday, 1 October 2011

M/M Issue: October 2011

Manner of Man Magazine
Issue: October 2011

Table of Contents

Guest Editorial: The West and The Loss of Primacy

The Brand: Manner of Man

Interview with Tom Murray

Angelo Nardelli Menswear by Uli Weber

Interview with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele

Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum

Michel Roux at La Gavroche

M/M Guest Editorial: The West and the Loss of Primacy

Guest Editorial by Nathan Lauer

            I am not an economist, nor am I a statistician or a political analyst.  In a world where being called an expert of some narrowly focused field of study holds the highest intellectual value, I am an anachronism.  I am an unrepentant generalist.

            As a generalist, on rare occasions I feel the need to spout off my perspective in some public forum.  The last time was in the ‘90s, at a liberal arts conference where I presented my much belated undergraduate thesis, which was titled something along the lines of, “The Internal Political Dynamics of the Qing Dynasty During The Opium Wars.”.  As boring as this sounds, I made a great effort to make it more interesting by using the core analysis of that specific period to connect China’s early history to the present.  I will not go through the whole thing here, but to sum it briefly, I compared the unification of China under Qing Shi Huang Di (3rd century B.C., simultaneously one of the most reviled yet respected figures in Chinese history) to the political reunification of Mao.  In the conclusion, I told my peers and professors that the overall politics of China had not truly changed.  That it was still an empire, and it that it would behave as such. Specifically, I warned them that China would be looking to perpetuate its 3000-year pattern of dominance.  The difference would be that in the current global climate, they would do it economically.

            Today, this sort of concept is old hat, in spite of the fact that the details of it continue to be ignored by popular media.  At the time, when it should have been taken seriously, it fell upon deaf ears.  The charts, video displays, and intellectual flim-flam depicting how the fall of the Third Reich was largely due to female factory workers in Eastern Europe was deemed to be of far greater import.

            So, once again, I feel the need to spout off my statistically un-analyzed observations, without the benefit of charts, graphs, or video.  If I bore you, feel free to stop reading.  Go and watch an even more unsubstantiated but certainly more visually stimulating piece by Michael Moore, or another glorious oratory by one of our illustrious elected representatives.

            For the past 50-100 years (depending on which country you are from), the West has had the wonderful combination of democracy and economic wealth.  The freedom to speak our minds, and to spend our money.  Truly, this is wonderful state of being, which every society should aspire to.

            Unfortunately, without the need to sacrifice to attain these things, we have become spoiled.  First, we wanted to be able to earn more: more money, more equality, and more rights.  Then, we expected to earn more money, more equality, and more rights.  Now, we simply demand more, ignoring the fact that these are finite resources.

            As the middle class grew to historic levels, many of those in the “have” category began to feel guilty that others did not have.  Therefore, we gave.  We gave money, we gave jobs, and we gave rights.  We gave to this benighted group and that.  Initially this altruism was beneficial, and in good cause.  However, it is human nature to take what is always given for granted.  We learned to expect to be given, and then to demand to be given “equality” in spite of not earning it.  In addition, as more groups arose to display their neediness, more of us felt needy.  As a result, our culture has devolved into entitled groups and an infectious, pervasive sense of entitlement.

            This could have been nipped in the bud, if the altruistic were truly so.  Like dealing with a spoiled child, if we had cut off the gifting and required earning instead, things eventually would have righted themselves.  Unfortunately, spoiling a culture, like spoiling a child, has little to do with true altruism. 

            Instead, the spoiling parents have been motivated by guilt.  As they perceive themselves as having the most to feel guilty for, guilt dominates the elite.  They pander and they preach, trying to wash away the sins of a world where most people are not amongst the elite.  As the pulpits of society are dominated by them, their congregation is almost universal.  Young minds have been and are being taught that they too should feel guilty, that they too are entitled. The reality of existence has taken second seat behind some pseudo-utopian faith in what should be the reality of existence.

            What started as an intellectual and political movement has become instead a belief system.  Discourse has become impossible because contrary opinions are not just contrary, they contradict the faith. 

            The result is a state of un-treated Cultural Autism.  We focus on minutia and grand theory; we listen to the masters of minutia and the orators of grand theory.  When faced with a reality that does not match our belief system, we repetitively quote that minutia and grand theory, bobbing our collective heads in the corner.  The more that reality intrudes, the more we bob our heads, eventually beating them against a wall (look at Greece). 

          This is, at its heart, corruption.  Our society has fallen prey to the corruption of success.  Historically, this is the way of all great societies in one form or another.  Eventually, the sense of entitlement pervades, and while it manifests in different forms (our guilt is fairly unique), they are all in essence the same.  We learn to be comfortable, we learn to expect to be comfortable, we learn to demand comfort, and then we refuse to see that our comfort is threatened.  To cite a few obvious examples, the French Monarchy, both the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and every Chinese dynasty from the 3rd century B.C. onward fell prey to this.  Being ‘egalitarian’ is no protection from it, and in fact makes us more susceptible to it.  So, the real question is, will we survive it?  Will we maintain enough of our senses to paddle out of the whirlpool in time?

            I think so.  Oh, we will lose our primacy, I have little doubt of that.  In many ways, we have already given it away.  But we will survive and most likely be successful again.  After all, our little boat has a hidden 500 hp outboard motor on it.  The powers waiting in the wings to supplant us need us.  

M/M The Brand: Manner of Man

Image of this family estate provided by Miguel Ayres de Campos and cannot be reproduced without written authorisation. All rights reserved.

M/M Interview with Tom Murray

Image of Tom Murray supplied to Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed by Tom Murray for exclusive use and may not be reproduced without written authorisation.

This exclusive interview with renowned British photographer Tom Murray was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in London during June 2011.

Interview with Tom Murray

How would you describe you career as a photographer?

A lucky young man in the right place at the right time of history and photography.

You shot an iconic portrait of the late great Yves Saint Laurent, if you could select one photographer to take your portrait who would it be? And why?

It would have been my dear friend Eve Arnold one of Americas great photographers.

How did you approach your early work with The Beatles?

It was such a shock to know this was the group that I was photographing, I am very fortunate to have made some great images of the Fab Four; I have used their mages for charity and have raised in excess of $2, million for great and good causes.

You had the privilege to work with the English Royal family on a number of occasions, what stands out the most now about that time?

How nice and kind they were to me, a young photographer being with the Royal Family, especially my relationship with HRH Princess Margaret.

Describe what it was like being in the centre of the Swinging Sixties London.

London was great fun in the 60's you could walk down the Kings Road and see the Rolling Stones, the Beatles on the other side of the road with Vidal Sassoon and his great haircuts, Leonard of London, John Freida was Leonard’s assistant, Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, all the great rock and roll groups, London really was swinging in the 60’s.

Is there anyone you haven’t worked with who you would like very much to photographer now?

Yes I would love to photograph those folks who are now in their older years whose names we know so well, entertainers, politicians, artists, actors, film directors, painters, etc. as well as top fashion designers. We knew them when they were young and struggling, now let’s see them now they are like me getting on a bit.

You must have enormous archives of rare unseen photographic negatives. If so, so you have any specific plans for them?

I am currently scanning 50 years of my work to release as a book and a photographic retrospective; it may take some time as I am not great with modern technology.

The above interview with Tom Murray 2011 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission.

Angelo Nardelli Menswear by Uli Weber

M/M Interview with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele

Image of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele supplied to Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed by Karl Friedrich Scheufele for exclusive use and may not be reproduced without written authorisation. All rights reserved. 

This exclusive interview with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Geneve, Switzerland.

Interview with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele

What does Chopard mean to you?

Chopard stands for: creativity, innovation, craftsmanship, family company, tradition, long term approach, independence and social commitment.

How would you describe your management style?

Chopard is a family owned and run company. Apart from an overall, shared responsibility as board members, Scheufele family members each have specific areas, which they manage directly, based on their expertise, on a day to day basis. In my case, this is for example Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier, our movement factory in the Jura. My management style can be described as team oriented, trying to bring out everyone’s talent.

If you could give one word of advice regarding marketing a luxury brand today what would it be?

Stay true to your claim, in other words: keep your promises, pay attention to quality in every sense of the word and respect your tradition. Always consider the long-term value of your brand when taking marketing decision.

You select one piece from the history of Chopard as a prized personal item. What is it? And why?

This would certainly be the first Chopard L.U.C watch, launched in 1997, animated by the first in-house movement or calibre, the L.U.C 1.96. This L.U.C 1860 model initiated a major development, the renaissance of Chopard Manufacture, a major step towards further independence of our group. Since then we have introduced 9 base calibres with a total of 50 different variations all the way to the most complicated L.U.C made so far – the L.U.C All in One!

What is a good description of the Chopard man?

The Chopard “man” is not a follower; he is more of a discerning, genuine connoisseur with his own opinion who truly appreciates quality, design and craftsmanship in its own right.

The above interview with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele 2011 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.

M/M Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum

Images provided to Manner of Man Magazine and Welldressed for use by the copyright holder Eduard Dressler and cannot be reproduced without written authorisation. All rights reserved.

Michel Roux at Le Gavroche