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A few days ago, as I was watching Claude Chabrol’s newest offering, the more-good-than-bad A Girl Cut in Two, something occurred to me. Its star, the gorgeous and talented Ludivine Sagnier (who you may know from Swimming Pool), looks strangely like… Gossip Girl‘s Blake Lively.

Here’s Sagnier:

Here’s Lively:

Any thought?

I was browsing Facebook the other day–something I do a bit too often–when I saw that a friend had posted a YouTube video of a teenage girl performing Neutral Milk Hotel’s “King of the Carrot Flowers, Part 1” and “King of the Carrot Flowers, Parts 2 and 3.” A quite competent guitar player and a talented singer to boot, she gave a charismatic, heartfelt, and emotionally realistic performance. While I don’t like the idea of people covering Jeff Mangum’s songs (I’m protective of my reclusive geniuses), this girl was so earnest and seems to understand what she’s singing about so well that I’d like to think he would approve.

Here’s the video:

What I didn’t realize was how popular homemade YouTube covers of Neutral Milk Hotel have become. Most are bad–somewhere between pathetic and unfortunate–but I’d keep an eye on this girl.

Once I started clicking links, I couldn’t stop. Eventually, I was tempted to watch a video of the cabaret-goth duo Dresden Dolls doing a live cover of “Two-Headed Boy.” I don’t know why I do these things to myself, because the last thing I needed to see was the band’s drama-club front girl hamming it up in frilly boy shorts and pasty multi-instrumental dude putting his shirtless stink on the classic:

After that, I needed to redeem myself with some actual NMH live videos. I like this one because it’s a weird, intimate, profile close up, with absolutely no context:

And this one, because of Mangum’s chunky, moth-eaten Fair Isle sweater and the utter chaos that’s happening onstage:

Earlier this year, when Miuccia Prada showed a men’s line full of mini tutus and flyless pants, the fashion world flipped out a little bit. Though there is certainly no lack of gender renegades among the business’ elite, clothing that feminizes men may be fashion’s final taboo. But according to New York Magazine, we may see more men wearing traditionally female garments in the near future. Men’s skirts are all over spring 2009 collections including Etro, John Galliano, and Comme des Garçons. And because they’re always a few years ahead of us style-wise, a few European men are already wearing them.

New York’s Amy Odell is ambivalent about the phenomenon, writing, “We can’t get past the fact that they’re men wearing skirts, and something about that trend catching on just doesn’t look or feel right. Don’t get us wrong — we’re all for equality of the sexes, and if Yves Saint Laurent can put women in pantsuits, there’s no reason other designers can’t put men in skirts. We expect to see them on the men’s runways from time to time. And we find it delightful when we do, but in a non-serious way. But now that it may be getting serious, we’re a bit unsettled.” I understand what she’s saying, but it makes me a little bit sad that women dress like men to be taken more seriously while men wearing skirts is automatically funny.

This isn’t to say that I have no reservations about men in skirts. For one thing, the designs pictured in the New York piece leave a bit to be desired. John Galliano’s knee-length black skirt, topped with an explosion of purple feathers and what looks like someone’s grandmother’s ’70s Chanel suit jacket and layered over magenta leggings, would be equally ridiculous on either gender. And if Comme des Garçons’ long, gray skirt ever showed up on Project Runway, Michael Kors would likely have called it “farty.” Etro’s shiny, elaborately wrapped and sensibly belted skirt is the only look I find remotely attractive.

I also wonder how comfortable skirts are for men. Though I, and many women I know, find them more comfortable than pants, we don’t have several inches of skin swinging between our legs. I’d imagine chafing and support could be problems, though perhaps that could be solved by the right pair of underwear. But since my knowledge of the issue is purely theoretical, I’m hoping some men will weigh in on this one. What do you think, guys–love the skirts or hate ’em?

[Photo via Flickr]

It’s like someone took the crappy paper that some grizzled, 50-something Socialist guy tries to sell you at the farmer’s market and gave it an absurdly high design budget. Except whoever writes for it is, depressingly, part of my generation instead of an acid-fried, aging hippie. And, of course, what this person chooses to complain about is… the emptiness of hipsterdom, as though that tiny piece of upper-middle-class paraculture somehow speaks for all of us.

Quoth Adbusters:

“We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.”

If I had a penny for every time someone called something “the end of Western civilization”…