Why Fringe Will Save Us

Pink is coming back. But not in the same way it always has. Not in an innocent kind of way. Take one more step and spring will reach out. Soon we will notice how that pink forgives the street. How the city’s heart shows through. All things come back around. But this time with savagery, a sharp turn in a different direction setting all things off course, a clap of a transformation where all sides are seen at once, like a firework.

On the tail end of a 13-hour plane ride from Hanoi, Vietnam, with a sleepless night under my belt, I decided to put on the Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Great Gatsby from 1975 (the same year the Vietnam war ended, ironically). In a difficult time when the plane feels more like a stall than an ear of corn and everyone is slumped on their seats jolting in and out of sleep, my tired, dehydrated mind was reminded of warm pink and the colors of spring, and it was like a long drink of lemonade. Through the feverish heat of the Great Gatsby drama, the look and feel, indeed, the entire environment of the story is the ghostly image of a quite light woman who was named Daisy. She is the embodiment of those pastel colors of a sunrise; she is the subtle and overwhelming notion of spring. As it is translated many times in Odysseus, “dawn touches the sky with roses.” And so it is in Fitzgerald’s New York. But only intimately, and who’s same fingers lift the rotten underneath. And so I figured how appropriate The Great Gatsby was to American literature. How sentimental it was, yet gory or misshapen, like the work of Faulkner or Flannery O'Connor. 

But then again, it is more than just American, J.K. Rowing understood the feeling as she spoke through the lips of Dumbledore in the first book: “Don’t dwell on dreams and forget to live, Harry, remember that.” I was not a Harry Potter girl back in the day. I never stayed up all night reading because I am ferociously in love with sleep. But I have been as sentimental as they come, and thought this was just heartbreaking. "He is a sentimental man." Daisy says of Gatsby, for building his entire life on the anticipation of her return. Be wary of sentimentality I say: Death of a Salesman, the list goes on...

The risqué shots of women’s thighs beneath waving skirts was off-putting on the plane, and wouldn’t be shot in that way now, a loose vulnerability in a woman. Every woman in the film is either blithering and drunk or angry and drunk, and the tragedy of their existence is rendered unrealistic and pithy. So I think that The Great Gatsby is dried up. But I do think that we need a little party right now. I think we need a little light in the night. I think we need some soft light, not all of this inspecting light, to find a truth we always knew was there. We knew that shit was going to go down since the fateful November of 2016. We knew it in our hearts, and we got sad and then we got angry, and now the greatest pox of all: the threat of indifference, of melancholia looms: sentimentality.

The movie was just awful: a racist, sexist, unforgiving series of absolutely gorgeous sunsets, shimmering crystal, and dancing pink dresses. A mask with beautiful eyes. So, because all of this contemporary tragic American drama, to save ourselves from the ensuing sentimental art, I have come to this conclusion that we need to start wearing fringe.

From fringe earrings to the blue fringe Missoni dress, upcoming festivals in the desert, or just in the basement at someone’s apartment a la prohibition. Sentimentality is thrown out, and a playful dichotomy between classy and savage is underway. Fringe stands precariously between wildness and conformity, all maintained by the movement of the body. To wear fringe means one must be conscious of their gestures, that become a bird from a quite stoic statue in an instant. The pain of movement forward is made less by the beauty of the gesture. First the stationary and then the second, magnificent. Fringe is the embodiment of physical freedom because it breaks every time you move, and we need to become something more abstract than we had previously imagined.