By now we’ve all seen the picture of Lernert Engelberts and Sander Plug standing next to the thousand-plus dram samples of perfume—all released in 2012—that they dumped into a single flask and labeled “Everything.” It’s art, at least as currently defined.
It’s also troubling for anyone who loves perfume.
The New York Times, ever anxious to be seen as hip, gives this pair of Dutch putzes exactly the supportive exposure they’re after (fragrance advertisers be damned). The headline—“When Everything Smells Bad”—is a typically elephantine Timesian attempt to be cute. [“Everything,” get it?]
Even the photo caption—“The masks are to protect their noses, not their identities.”—is a gratuitous effort to play along with the stunt: the DPs are wearing dust masks which don’t do a bit of good protecting against smells.
As if the point of childishly mixing 1,400 perfume samples together isn’t clear enough, the Times hastens to spell it out for you:
“Our point is, why do you need nearly 1,400 new scents in one year?” Mr. Engelberts said, using a figure cited by Basenotes, an online fragrance forum.One can almost hear tongues clucking all over the Upper West Side: “So wasteful!” “Marketing run amuck!” “Greedy capitalists!” Really? Try it on with products favored on the UWS:
“Our point is, why do you need nearly ten new Volvos in one year?”My point is, why do we need another trivial Marxist cultural critique masquerading as art?
“Our point is, why do you need nearly 100 new artisanal organic goat cheeses in one year?”
“Our point is, why do you need nearly 350 new pinot noirs in one year?”