Monday, February 2, 2009
There's a new blog on the Auckland scene and it's taking the Dr Phil approach – telling it like it is. Declasse and Delisted is like an NZ Gossip Girl – anonymously keeping track of everything going on in this little village of ours (their words). Their manifesto is simple:
"We cover them, rate them, rank odds and curate them. The tastemakers and tastebreakers. The monied and bankrupt. The socialites and fauxcialites. The influencers and playmakers."
D&D first popped up on my radar just before New Year's when they blogged a post entitled 11 Questions for 2009. In it, they asked among other things:
All bullsh*t aside, who really are the play-makers, ’socials’, tastemakers of our village and its global tentacles? We’ll culturally curate, uncover them, debate their odds and chances judiciously until we ultimately determine the top fauxcialites and influencers of 2009.
I sent Declasse and Delisted an email with some questions and received the following answers in reply.
What is your main field of interest?
Our interest primarily revolves around the interesting and the ranking thereof. We will follow, rank and rate the interesting, the beautiful the stylish, the inspiring. We will trash and berate the crimes against fashion, good sense, good taste and behaviour. As it says on our site; The tastemakers and tastebreakers. The monied and bankrupt. The socialites and fauxcialites. The influencers and playmakers.
We will rank them based on odds and release these on a regular basis. Anyone is able to contribute their thoughts and ideas to us via email, we will accept all communication and correspondence in our thinking. And because we want this to be as digital as possible, we will post as real time as we get good content...so send away.
Our secondary field of interest revolves around a reality check. We are New Zealand. We have (almost) no celebrities, we have almost no money, we aren't lineaged like the British, we aren't insanely wealthy like the Americans or Russians, we have almost nothing in the way of true 'stars' like Australia or Hollywood. We are currently, 'pretenders'. So let's accept our role, set goals to improve, and let's get moving, make something of ourselves and most importantly: raise the bar.
Are you planning on staying anonymous?
Yes, for now. It gives us and our sources freedom to live their lives as well as contribute to the curation of the greater fabric of society. One of the many problems with the current incumbent social commentary is that the two prominent figures 'about town', are publicly known and therefore fawned upon, and courted, which results in a loss of integrity in their coverage. Aside from the fact one of them supposedly owns and operates a Public Relations firm, which is a direct conflict of interest to both be creating and covering content.
Also the reality is I am not an I, we are a we. A collection of well connected and well qualified individuals in fashion, publicity, celebrity and business - and well schooled people versed in what we will write about. We will remain anonymous as a collection, until such time we think there is any benefit in revealing who we are but as at today we can think of none.
The only way to keep people true-to-form and to observe in a truly impartial way is for people not to know when they're being judged, and who is judging them. We will be that judge, jury and executioner.
Will you name and shame people?
"Name and shame" connotes the negative. We are more about the positive, but sometimes to get to the positive there needs to be a level of 'cleansing'. We will do our fair share of cleansing for the greater good.
That there is more to aspire to than to being an Auckland fauxcialite, that as New Zealanders our myopic obsession with 'home' is destructive and weak and the lense through which we look must be enlarged. That there is a small but more powerful and connected New Zealand society at large doing great things around the world. Those are the people that should be looked up to, covered, featured and inspire. Not the trashy promo girl with the fake nails, fake tan who came third in Ms Universe New Zealand, was on pg 47 of Brass Magazine and gets her cleavage in front of the lense at every opportunity.
How ruthless do you think you'll get?
We didn't come here to be ruthless, we came her to tell it like it is and to resist the over-glamourising of the unglamourous and uninteresting. We came to rank our world around us with a globally benchmarked barometer, to inspire 'do better'. Auckland is a great city, New Zealand a great country but our standards are far too low and our opinions of ourselves far too high, very much like a highschool playground. We are currently a D-. We need to get to a C, then we can aspire to maybe a B-grade.
Having said that, without breaking any laws, when something is an F, we'll give it an F - have no fear, we will call them as we see them.
But there are laws of defamation and libel which we'll steer clear of crossing.
Is Declasse more similar to Bridget Saunders and Rachel Glucina or Gossip Girl?
Gossip Girl is an interesting analogy actually. But re: Bridget Saunders and Rachel Glucina, I think we are offended - no actually, I know we are. But we're equally offended by the amateur nature of the status quo, and the totally unqualified commentary which is doing our society, its tastes, fashion sense and class no good at all. When you have judges who are unqualified to judge, it creates an incredibly dangerous pool of contestants and sends a very poor message, and all the wrong signals about what should be celebrated and encouraged in order to move up the ladder.
It's been well noted by reputable bloggers that both of them manufacture a significant amount of material. The real issue is their connection to the community they cover is so tenuous. Without the power of their pens certain people would never be seen associating with or invited to any of, or asked their opinion on, any of the events, people or topics they cover. Because they are simply so 'wrong' and out of touch - the 'Hottest Singles' and other bs recently released are testament to this...
Do you feel like you can get away with more stuff since you're on the internet?
No, not at all. The internet is the public domain much as newspapers and magazines are, the point though is that this type of material belongs on the internet - *not* on paper. That's what our generation is about, New Zealand is just about 5 years behind that's all. And that's another part of the current issue is how far out of touch most of these people are with the way the world works today. We are not here to defame anybody in libel, we're just here to keep them honest.