Friday, September 30, 2011

[In defense of ] Scott Schuman

Image by Mirkin

Fashion media has worked itself into a tizzy over The Talks’ interview of Scott Schuman, creator of The Sartorialist. The partisan interviewer opened and conducted the interview with leading questions, hardly seeking answers but rather validation. Of course Schuman wasn’t required to agree with the interviewer’s perspective on teen bloggers, such as Tavi Gavinson of The Style Rookie, but it is important to note the interviewer’s approach. The interviewer asked questions which suggested answers he anticipated, hence the nature of the interview. And although the interviewer started the fire, Schuman received considerable criticism for adding the gas. Now, that isn’t to say Schuman shouldn’t be criticized for his comments rather, an observation that was made (by me) and largely overlooked by the media.  

This should go without saying but Schuman is entitled to his opinion(s), no matter how harsh. Although he came off as arrogant, his position on, for example, the disconnect between a teenager and someone in his/her mid-to-late 20s was accurate. On a basic level, there is a connection between the two age groups, that requires very little life experience such as, the appreciation of beautiful images and clothing. However, when it comes to certain life experiences, there is no substitute for them. All of the impressive writing in the world simply cannot replace adult situations such as student loans and unemployment. Schuman recognized the disconnect and discussed it. Perhaps that was what shocked readers the most, that the connection between a teenager and someone in his/her mid-to-late 20s was superficial at best.

The remainder of the hot topics in the interview should not come as a surprise. Schuman is a world-renowned street style photographer and blogger. Famous individuals tend to generate large sums of money; it’s the nature of the beast. And what boyfriend wouldn’t say that his girlfriend’s anything is the most amazing? 

Schuman is being crucified for injecting reality into the blogger fame machine: magazine sales are dwindling, some bloggers are merely puppets for various companies and “the business of blogging” is hard work. But those messages were lost due to his criticism of Gavinson and disclosure of his advertising income.  For those of you who are only interested in the fantasies that Schuman has to offer, don’t read anything he says and enjoy his images. They are beautiful. But remember, reality is out there and it includes things that you may not like, such as Schuman’s opinions. 


Roya said...

I have to say that I came from an uniformed view of the situation (ie. I read second hand news and quotes rather than going straight to the source - this interview).

I do think you make completely valid points - he doesn't have to please us and he's entitled to speak his mind as we all should be. My problems with Schuman lie more in the repetitiveness of his blog (which I've enjoyed less and less lately) and his arrogant tone. I think that you can still be harsh and truthful without coming off arrogant. Maybe I'm old school, but I kind of like to believe that the blog of the person I'm reading is a blog of a nice person and not a tool.

I agree that the reasons people got upset with him for are silly - he's right, a 12 year old and a 26 year old are worlds apart. They can both make significant contributions but they will likely be in very different ways. And people getting angry about his advertising revenue is just straight up stupid - it's all about supply and demand. If you don't like it, don't support him and go about your business.

"Schuman is being crucified for injecting reality into the blogger fame machine: magazine sales are dwindling, some bloggers are merely puppets for various companies and “the business of blogging” is hard work" - I agree 100% that people aren't talking about this nearly as much as they need to be an I respect him for speaking up about that.

In summary: I agree with his opinions but not the manner in which he states them. A little tact never hurt anyone. (My Canadian-ness is showing.)

Marisa said...

He comes off kind of annoying in this interview but it doesn't matter too much to me because I stopped looking at his blog a long time ago. In fact I practically forgot all about him until just now.

Adele said...

What an interesting post I am intrigued to find out more about it! Thanks for linking the interview!

Adèle Joanna

Chrissy Rutherford said...


simplychic said...

i'm in total agreement. i find candor refreshing, and when you are really good at what you do, you should own it and speak with confidence like he did.

Anonymous said...

I for the most part agree with roya. I read the interview and past interviews of his and he just comes off as a tool. Yes he has talent but a little humility never hurt anyone. Not that he'd care for my readership but I don't read his blog, I prefer blogs that are written by actual people. Like this blog. it's nice to look at pretty pictures but j need somethig of substance once and awhile!

Everyone shits on tavi because she's young, people seem to over look her potential. I mean not many people were born great, they developed their talent over time. Yes she's young and I would imagine as her life experiences increase so will her talent/ideas.

I was actually quite surprised to read your opinion on his interview. Not what I was expecting.

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