"I mean, they seemed like such a nice, normal family ..."
It's often said that timing is everything. What then are we to make of Anna Wintour's recent public statement regarding the glowing profile of Syria's glamourous and articulate "first lady" Asma Al-Assad published fifteen months ago in the March 2011 issue of US Vogue?
It took US Vogue editor fifteen long months to formulate that statement. During those fifteen months, the bloody crack down of Syria's opposition movement has escalated into civil war, both the Arab League and the United Nations have essentially thrown in the towel and the Assad regime has made a mockery of international public order. Vogue has done its best of course to bury that unfortunate article from public consciousness scrubbing it from its website and pretending like it was all just an unfortunate misunderstanding. The piece's author, former editor of Paris Vogue Joan Juliette Buck, has been left to defend her profile of a woman she dubbed "the rose of the desert" as best she could.
Are we to believe that Ms. Buck simply woke up one fine day, packed her bags and headed to Syria to interview Asma Al-Assad all on her own? Until recently, the Conde Nast brass had been perfectly content to leave Ms. Buck squirming uncomfortably under the glare of the CNN lights without even a statement of support. Why wasn't Ms. Wintour who commissioned the article or Mr. Newhouse who owns the magazine and underwrites the budgets sitting next to her on the set of CNN to answer for this blunder? Perhaps Ms. Wintour has been simply too busy building Vogue's "Fashion Night Out" franchise across the globe and fundraising for President Obama's reelection campaign to turn her attention to a pesky little thing like Syria.
Whether Ms. Wintour and Mr. Newhouse like it or not, US Vogue played a role in helping paint the Assad regime as socially acceptable to Western audiences. An insipid public statement issued fifteen months after the fact will not change that nor will it erase the ugly mark left on the Vogue franchise as a result. Ironically, had the timing of its publication not been so inopportune, the public's short attention span might have enabled the magazine to sweep it under the carpet. As it would happen, the article was published just as the Assad regime's tanks were rolling across Syria ready to crush anything or anyone in their way. Timing may not be everything per se but it still counts for an awful lot.
The Luxe Chronicles