White Hot, the Rise and Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch is a documentary running on Netflix that tells the story about the retailer whose popularity peaked in the early 2000s. I would recommend this film if you are interested in fashion, marketing, pop culture, labor and civil rights or late nineties and early 2000s nostalgia. It covers all of that. It’s fairly short and I thought it was an interesting movie.
A & F was a very successful retailer that was a staple in every American shopping mall in the 2000s. I was aware of A & F but I was never impressed by their style. If my memory serves correctly they sold jeans, tees and button downs. Nothing special. I also recall that they were known for the clothes running very small. A & F didn’t really pull my trigger.
The company was notorious for being racist so there was no love loss between me and Abercrombie and Fitch. I’ve been in an A & F store one time. I browsed around one of their stores in the Kansas City area that has closed. I bought a pair of skinny jeans on clearance for about $10. There was nothing noteworthy or memorable about the experience.
White Hot discusses the marketing strategy of the company that made them very successful. The ads featured young, White, fit, natural looking men and women. Youth culture of today criticize A & F for promoting a specific beauty standard.
A & F was sued by some of their former store employees and some of them were interviewed for the documentary. I have worked several retail jobs. The practices described in the documentary are typical of retail companies. Retail is a very racist industry. The discrimination is evident if you’re familiar with the retail industry.
The difference between Abercrombie and other retailers is that they were very direct and brazen about their practices. A & F had manuals about who they saw fit to hire. They didn’t hire and recruit based on experience. They based on looks and were not customer service oriented at all.
They didn’t say they only wanted to hire White people but they discriminated against employees that didn’t fit their standard of attractiveness which is clearly White. Non White employees were written off the schedule or only allowed to work in the stock room if they were hired at all. Abercrombie and Fitch settled with former employees that sued them but the company never admitted wrong doing.
White Hot, the Rise and Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch is OK. You might enjoy it if you’re interested in the subject matter it covered. The film follows in the Netflix tradition of making documentaries of pop culture trends of the early 2000s. They have the benefit of hindsight and people who were directly involved have the opportunity to tell their story. I think they’re pretty fun but it’s not ground breaking film making.
I watched the three part documentary Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez which is about the late New England Patriots tight end and convicted murderer (well kind of) Aaron Hernandez. Aaron Hernandez is an interesting person to say the least. His story is almost Shakespearean. I remember Aaron Hernandez’s football career very well and I’ve seen several pieces about him in the media before watching the Netflix documentary. But Killer Inside offered some new information.
Family dynamics are interesting and Aaron’s family was full of complicated relationships. Aaron grew up a male dominant household. His father is Puerto Rican and seems to be very traditional. Aaron looked up to his father and was devastated by his death. He had a very close relationship with an older female cousin who loved Aaron like he was her own son. She was a mother of two children dying of cancer and served a prison sentence instead of testifying against Aaron.
The female cousin was married at one time and her husband left her for Aaron’s mother after Aaron’s father died. Aaron had animosity and resentment towards his mother because of her new significant other who sat next to her during Aaron’s trial. Aaron had a male lover who was featured in the documentary. Aaron also had a faithful fiance who was the mother of his daughter. Her support for Aaron never wavered.
I think it’s telling that Aaron allowed his cousin and fiance to suffer for him. He seems to be very self centered and without a conscious. We’ll never know if his sociopathic behavior is the result of nurture, CTE or celebrity privilege. The film implied that Aaron was driven to homicidal madness due to having to hide his same sex attraction while being immersed in the hyper masculine culture of sports.
Aaron was convicted of killing a man named Odin Lloyd in cold blood. Odin Lloyd was his fiancee’s sister’s significant other. Aaron appealed his sentence and later hanged himself while incarcerated and awaiting for the chance to appeal.
A Massachusetts law states that if a person dies while on trial there will be no conviction on the record books. Therefore, Aaron Hernandez is not a convicted murderer. He was also accused of killing two other men in Boston but was not convicted.
Aaron Hernandez was a brain damaged, bisexual, homicidal street thug, a football star who was a part of a sports dynasty with the undying loyalty of two women, a contemptuous relationship with his own mother and a father of a young girl who committed suicide at age twenty seven. His suicide may have outsmarted the Massachusetts legal justice system. Aaron Hernandez was not a sympathetic character but he was nonetheless compelling. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez was an interesting film even if you already know quite a bit about the man.
I learned of about the movie “Bird Box” because of Twitter. I was minding my business scrolling through tweets and I read all the buzz about “Bird Box”. In the following days I saw “Bird Box” memes all over social media. The movie was a sensation. I bought into the nonsense.
I don’t use Netflix so the movie is not available to me so I got a copy of the book when I saw it at the library. I finished reading “Bird Box” by Josh Malerman over the weekend. The book is pretty short but it took me a long time to get through it because it was boring.
I was waiting for the plot to build and live up to the social media hype but it never delivered. Perhaps this is one of those anomalies where the movie is better than the book (like “Divergent”). I’ll never know because I’ll never spend my time watching “Bird Box”. I don’t even know how to describe this film; suspense, horror, mystery, science fiction, family drama. I don’t know because nothing happens. Seriously nothing happens.
The story is flat the entire time. The book blindly meanders to an anti climatic ending that just added to the confusion. I rushed through the ending of the book because I was sick of it but I was tempted to reread it because I couldn’t quite figure out what happened.
It seems like the writer was trying to leave things open ended so he can write a sequel. However the sequel to watching grass grow would be watching paint dry. I promise you that no matter where you live you will be more entertained by putting a chair in front of a window at your house and looking outside.
The premise is ridiculous. I don’t understand what Twitter got so excited about. I only saw three bad reviews of “Bird Box” one of which came from Cardi B. Cardi was as confused as I was by the story. I’m glad I wasn’t alone.
Warning: This clip contains expletives, racial slurs and general vulgarity. But she’s not wrong.
I’m mad a Twitter too for getting me to read that. This is the third time that the media has sold me on a book and it was garbage. Actually, probably more than that but I digress: 1. “The Host” by Stephenie Meyer. (It was an unoriginal snoozefest.) 2. “50 Shades of Grey” by E.L. James (The protagonist made women look stupid because that relationship should have ended very soon after she met Christian. And the sex scenes in the book are over hyped. Harlequin romances are kinkier than “50 Shades of Grey” and I was reading those in middle school) and now this.
I wish I could say I’ll never fall for this type of media hype again but I take book and movie recommendations seriously. What can I say? I like to stay on top of the trends. This won’t be the last time I have egg on my face due to buying into hype. It’s just how I live.