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March 30, 2005


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chris robinson

This is really interesting stuff. I can't believe it was published in an A&F catalogue! What led them to want to pair a political theorist and Slavoj Zizek to promote their product? This has to be a fascinating story.


I wonder what he thought about The Secretary.


Here's the story of the interview (it's not all that interesting, unforunately...) Anyway, a former student of mine, Savas Abasidis, was an editor at the Abercrombie magalogue. And, in keeping with their efforts to attract/attach college students and present a whole story or life or image, they wanted more content in the catalogue, content that would go well with the Bruce Weber photography, content that would make people want to keep the catalogues out on their coffee tables. One of the first things they did was a back to school issue that had weird of cool or off beat professors. Savas remembered that I had a book on alien abduction, so they interviewed me (along with a math professor from Williams and someone else). They were happy with that and then wanted more academic stuff (they also had interviews with writers--Chuck Palanauik, for example--and musicians and actors) and I said I could probably interview Z since I know him a bit. That was it--we did it over the radio.

Postscript--Paul and I wrote a piece for them on the wonder years film that contextualized the film in light of the class and racial dimension of the university today. I interviewed Michael Hardt for it. And Paul and I wrote something on 9/11 that they used on their website. The last thing we wrote for them was on child soldiers and activism. That was too radical they said so they pulled it.

chris robinson

Sounds pretty interesting to me. I'm guessing that even if it is not the audience you are used to reaching, it is much larger. Too bad they got cold feet on the child soldiers and activism piece. I'm really enjoying the you and Paul edited on Empire. Some brilliant stuff there.


Thanks, Chris! All around. Yeah, we were hesitant about doing A&F (it wasn't easy to convince Hardt, either, but Z ended up writing copy for them for an elaborate series of Bruce Weber nudes). But, we thought it would be good to try to reach another audience and were happy as long as they didn't edit us. Once they wanted changes, we said no. I think we got really lucky with the Empire collection. There are some really marvelous pieces--I particularly like the one by Weldes and Laffey alot and the one that says Empire is good to eat but not good to think. And, the big name pieces are also valuable--especially Laclau's (again, in my view; law people, on the other hand, are partial to some of the other ones....)

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