Yesterday, for our 2010 Top Ten, we covered the best magazine, novel, Hollywood biography, TV show, and 2010’s best movie. Today, we round out our top ten list with some new and novel choices. Enjoy!
6. Best Film Blogger: Self-Styled Siren.
There are film critics and then there are devoted movie writers or film diarists. Long ago, I gave up reading movie reviews. I don’t enjoy the plot summaries, the thoughtless spoilers. The, um, expert opinions are, all too often, tediously elite voices crowing superior taste while displaying shocking ignorance of film production and movie history. But most of all, film critics shatter all sense of wonder, the feeling that the shadows on the screen are at the core of my life.
It is this sense of awe and devotion that informs Self-Styled Siren. A busy wife and mother to twins, Self-Styled Siren’s love of classic Hollywood movies runs deep with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Hollywood lives and movies. Her deepest celluloid connections are reserved for a genre that has been unfairly labeled “women’s movies,” or “weepies,” heart jolting melodramas where passionate women—Joan Fontaine, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, etc.—are gutted by bad men and a surfeit of pride. In these movies, Siren charts worlds within worlds. Her writing is elegant and clear. Never does she use the word semiotics. She loves movies way too much to reduce them to academic noise.
Death brings out the best in Self-Styled Siren; her memorial essays in honor of deceased stars and directors are models of sensitive career retrospectives leavened with just the right personal information so that a true and lovely portrait lingers. When I was a movie-mad kid growing up in Brooklyn in the 50’s and 60’s, the movies provided a sense of magic, a feeling that my life had the possibility of becoming a different narrative than that which was expected of me. It is this sense of majesty that Self-Styled Siren brings to her blog, a feeling that the magic and glamour of the silver screen still has the power to affect our lives.
7. Best Fashion Trend, Murmurs of Modesty:
As Seraphic Secret frequently points out, what you choose to wear in public identifies the community to which you belong and how you view yourself within that community.
In her classic work, Adorned in Dreams, Elizabeth Wilson suggests a psychoanalytic model for fashion:
…we may view the fashionable dress of the western world as one means whereby an always fragmentary self is glued together into the semblance of a unified identity.
From a religious perspective, clothes are not just a Freudian paradigm, but a narrative outlining the content of the soul. Thus, we were glad to see that quite a few 2010 collections rejected the slutwear that has figured so prominently on recent runways in favor of beautifully tailored outfits that are ladylike, demure, and quite fetching. Here are some of our favorites.
8. Best Electronic Gadget: Kindle.
Okay, you might favor the iPad, The Nook, or whatever electronic reading device is rolling off the line, but there’s no denying that electronic readers are sweeping the marketplace. Their share will only increase as publishers work out a business model that is profitable, and for the consumer, convenient and easy to use.
Look, I love the feel of books, the very smell of a new volume makes me dizzy. But let’s face it, books are heavy, they take up miles of shelf space, and don’t forget the weekly dusting—which I do forget, every week. On my Kindle I have Proust’s entire million word In Search of Lost Time, I’ve got the complete works of Jane Austen, Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda, and about a dozen Hollywood biographies. With the Kindle, the books you purchased are backed up on your Amazon account so there are no worries about losing your library.
When Karen and I flew to NY for the birth of Lielle Meital I was carrying acres of books in a light, wafer thin slab. In the old days—three months ago to be precise—I agonized over which books to carry when traveling. And then I’d end up with a backache because my pack weighed over 40lbs. I still buy books to read on Shabbat—observant Jews do not use electricity on the Sabbath—and not every book is published electronically. But just as Gutenberg’s press ushered in a new age of literacy, the Kindle and all related devices are sure to alter the reading landscape.
Here are my step-by-step directions for dressing your Kindle.
9. Best Footwear, Alexander McQueen’s Butterfly Shoe:
Tragically, designer Alexander McQueen committed suicide in February 2010. But his label lives. McQueen’s long time associate Sarah Burton has taken over as creative director and her designs, while maintaining McQueen’s flamboyant edge, are more down to earth and retail friendly.
And for men, the trend around Casa Avrech is definitely towards classic Americana. The two-tone saddle shoe, here in soft brown suede, conjurs visions of smiling girls in poodle skirts dancing the Lindy Hop.
Suede saddle shoes by Bass, great price with superior construction.
10. Best New Baby: