Well, this is disgusting: A fashion photoshoot of suicidal authors

Vice magazine

Sexy lady galleries: We don’t like them. Or rather, we don’t like when they’re abused as a quick way of getting websites hits and eyeballs because they have so much integrity, oh yes.

I remember a few months back some “women in tech” themed gallery popped up where instead of emphasizing their brilliant minds, the article showcased their “hot” bodies. Because clearly they’ve made it in tech because they look good.

Now the same thing is happening again (and always, forever) except this time, it’s taking models and making them pose as female authors who were on the brink of suicide — writers like Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. That’s oh-so-sexy and dignified. Let’s talk about their sexy poetry and novels and the words coming off those blue lips of theirs. We can call it “Last Words” and pretend it’s classy.

Vice magazine has pulled the photoshoot from its website — but not before the entire Internet told it that it was stupid.

“It’s almost breathtakingly tasteless,” said former fashion model Jenna Sauers, writing on feminist site Jezebel. “Suicide is not a fashion statement.”

She continued, “Making light of suicide and underlying mental health problems is sick, sick stuff. And while time doesn’t necessarily lessen the grief of suicide, it’s perhaps especially distressing that some of the people Vice depicts died very recently — Chang in just 2004 — leaving still-living loved ones behind.

“These weren’t fictional characters; these were real women, who lived and struggled and died, and to treat their lowest moments as fodder for a silly fashion spread is shameful and sad.”

For the witchy fashionistas: a review of Secondhand Spirits

Too giddy and stunned from our triumph to go to bed right away, we popped popcorn and brewed nothing more magical than hot chocolate.

Secondhand Spirits by Juliet BlackwellConfession: I usually consider the mystery section one of the “passable” parts of my bookstore browsing. That might have to change.

A couple weeks ago, when shopping with a friend, I decided to venture into the unloved rows, only to spot a colorful and fun book by Juliet Blackwell. Secondhand Spirits won me over with its gorgeous cover — an inviting blend of blues, yellows, greens, and pinks with a smoky wisp of glitter around the illustrated girl with long, wavy black hair. “Love the vintage, not the ghosts,” the tagline reads.

I was charmed.

This 325-page paperback — a great breather from the near-1000 page A Clash of Kings, which I had trouble fitting around my hectic schedule — is quickly addictive. I went in not expecting much and found myself loving every page. Blackwell knows how to keep the reader going with a cliffhanger at the end of nearly every chapter.

If you like Harry Potter, then you’ll probably like Blackwell’s first book in her Witchcraft Mystery series — not that it is anywhere near a ripoff of Rowling’s books, but Blackwell does share a few tools of the witchy trade. The main character’s familiar reminds me a lot of Dobby the house elf, and one of the plotlines deals with a screaming mandrake and how to pull it out without going insane (remember that part in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?). Blackwell invents her own rules, too, and I adored her every time she compared real witchcraft to superstition and stereotyping within the fiction she creates. The book also explores the paranormal, and the combination gives the book so much potential and room for expansion.

I can’t recommend it enough. And not to mention, the hunky mythbusting character is named Max Carmichael. :)

The story isn’t anything particularly amazing: Lily Ivory is a witch who recently moved to San Francisco, and little by little she assimilates into a nice circle of friends and wiccans as she opens up and helps the community. She also puts others in touch with their inner fashionistas by tapping into the auras and vibes that clothes give off to a witch of her caliber, and that’s a talent that any girl knows can’t be undervalued. But what’s great about Secondhand Spirits is that there is a lot of emphasis on community, both culturally and in terms of companionship, and it’s just a heartwarming book. The quote at the top comes from the beginning of the last chapter, and it really made me smile. That’s how well Blackwell will have you invested.

Bottom line: A quick, endearing mystery for beginners or those who love to shop and dabble in magics on the side.