Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Function . . . Fashion

I bought a used copy of John Wesley Powell's 1875 The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons and quickly perused all pages before sending it to my history-buff brother. Speaking of buff, the image of the "Navajo Ready for a Journey" looked as fit as—but less fierce than—Kate Hudson as snapped by a Life photographer at the recent Met Museum Costume Institute Gala. The late 19th century engraving was intended to show customs, not costumes. However, over a century after the book's original publication, my first (incorrect-fascinated-by-fashion) reaction is that the Navajo is Vogue-ing like Ms. Hudson (apologies for mixed metaphors and rivers).

While I'm superficially commenting on changes in interpretation, I've got to note that meaning of the word "journey" has evolved from traveling across challenging land masses to a Hollywood-style trek across "challenging" terrain—often more mental as physical.

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