A Minor, But Telling Reason We Need A New Attorney General

OpinionJournal: Model Injustice What are Ashcroft’s trustbusters doing on New York’s catwalks?
A common defense of John Ashcroft is that he’s just enforcing the law. Not a very nuanced defense when you consider that the Justice Department has limited resources and can’t possibly enforce all of the laws on the books. How the Attorney General allocates these limited resources speaks volumes about his priorities.

For instance, on 9/11 FBI agents were spying on hookers in New Orleans. Prostitution is definitely a state issue, unless interstate commerce is involved. A bad allocation of resources in an area outside the federal government’s purview. Since then he’s misallocated resources against medical marijuana, assisted suicide for terminal patients, all issues favored by the states in question, yet Ashcroft pursued these initiatives when he should have focused on terrorism.

Now he’s after runway models. We need a new Attorney General. One with his priorities in order.

Despite how peerless a model looks wafting down Prince Street, Ford’s Web site offers a cookie-cutter checklist for a successful model: Between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11, and willowy. The agency is blunt: “Clothing for runway shows and magazine shoots tends to come in one size. If you can’t fit into a designer’s garments, you will face difficulty in finding work.” That said, the raw material is abundant; it even seeks you out. But models are highly perishable; agencies have only a short time to recoup their investment in turning awkward fillies into thoroughbreds for a discriminating and impatient clientele.

According to the suit, 95% of models at top agencies are charged the 20% cut. The ones who aren’t are those with faces known to the public. These are the golden girls who keep agencies solvent, who maintain the brand’s prestige and allow investment in the next crop of peaches. Those who don’t make the exalted grade would probably find fewer opportunities in the modeling business if the agencies couldn’t sustain a commission structure that made their investment in representing them profitable.

A final philosophical question: Whose business is it really what modeling agencies charge for their services? They don’t own an “essential facility” necessary for life and well-being. The investigators should think hard about what public purpose is served by chasing down people who’ve entered into voluntary contractual relationships in a business that is beyond the Justice Department (or anyone else) to make economic sense of.

“Those who create,” Coco Chanel said, “are rare. Those who cannot are numerous. Therefore, the latter are stronger.” That is the bureaucrat’s ode, illustrated again by the antitrust division’s attempt to force another industry into a facile economic mold.

That last quote by Coco Chanel is priceless

No comments yet.

Leave a Comment