Sunday, July 4, 2010


I am behind the times, way behind the times. That's partly because I don't watch TV, and partly because I just don't care. I have enough challenges keeping up with what's already in my head and on my to-do list. Time is a fine filter for pop culture; by the time I get around to paying attention, the 95% I didn't need to know has already had its fifteen minutes of fame, and gone to its justifiable reward.

So I was suitably surprised to read an article about circle lenses in today's NY Times. Apparently the big-eyed anime look is popular among teens these days, and it's possible to buy illegal contacts that make you look like you just stepped out of a graphic novel. Huh. Why anyone would want to look like a doll is beyond me. In my mind doll=toy, and I don't grasp the logic of presenting oneself as something to be played with. Call me old-fashioned, but I grew up in an era where women wanted respect.

Fad- and wallet-wise, circle lenses are a big step up from Silly Bandz. One 16-year old girl quoted in the article owns 22 pairs, at $20-30 a pair. There were a few things I wanted to ask her parents (hey, I don't own 22 pairs of underwear!), but no email address was provided. I guess that's okay.

As I read on, the article traced the popularity of circle lenses in the U.S. to Lady Gaga's music video Bad Romance. This is how behind the times I am: I first heard of Lady Gaga about three months ago, when a friend mentioned that her daughters were planning to attend a concert here in town. I've vaguely had it in mind to find out something about Lady Gaga ever since. So this morning I loaded up the YouTube video of Bad Romance.

It was early and I didn't want to wake people up, so I watched it without the sound. Go try this. It's interesting to process the images separate from the music. The video is evocative of anything but love or romance. There's not an ounce of it that even hints that anyone has a clue about what goes into forming a healthy relationship. As a statement of what girls admire today, it's pretty appalling. But like I said, I'm an old crow who thinks human beings -- including women -- have dignity, and that people aren't art forms or forms of entertainment.

Maybe if you force your eyes open with circle lenses you end up with a different view of the matter. Maybe.


  1. Then again, maybe not.

    I pulled up the lyrics to that song, and, um, yuck.

  2. I've read that those lenses can deprive your eye of oxygen as well as make you look ridiculous.