Moleskine Pinup Girl


Is that a Moleskine in your pocket…?

[via OPIO]

3.11.05 V wrote:


First of all THANKS for the site and all the good work that goes into it. But I am very dismayed to see the pin up girl there this morning. I would think most of us in such a community would leave this kind of junk off moleskinerie.

Come on guys (I use that term as many of us do as a generic term for Come on folks/people)!!! In the interest of FAIRNESS IN EXPLOITATION you better throw some equally cheesy beefcake on there soon. I would prefer not to see either on such a cool site. It’s bad enough seeing thistype of image on mudflaps and on the windows of Chevy trucks decked out with a full gun rack.

Sorry my first communication is a complaint since I otherwise enjoy the site.

Otherwise a fan,

25 thoughts on “Moleskine Pinup Girl

  1. Gotta say I hate this junk, even though most may think it a “mild” form of exploitation. Iam deeply dismayed to see it here on this otherwise terrific site that has, before now, presented thought-provoking, humorous, intelligent “stuff”. In the interest of fairness why don’t you throw up some equally cheesy approaching-soft-porn beefcake? And yes, I would have been just as dismayed if the beefcake had appeared first.

  2. I liked it and thought it amusing, but would like to see a beefcake one, too. LMK if you ever see one, since it seems more people were dismayed, than amused.

  3. Have to say I’m a bit dismayed at the censorship being proposed with the excuse that it’s exploitive. It’s Art (like it or not … no, I’m not going to allow whether you agree or not, it is Art period). Are we to drape David next? Pop a t-shirt and bra onto Botticelli’s Birth of Venus?

    Moleskine’s come in formats for text and for graphics to express both the word and the visual. Let’s not silence anyone especially out of ignorance.

  4. My opinion does not come “out of ignorance” Anthony. I did not say that pinups are not art, I merely exercised my free speech to post my displeasure with this type of art…for many reasons I choose not to go into here.

    A differet opinion than yours, regarding art or what I hope will be posted on this great site, does not constitue ignorance.

  5. Boy, trying to be a censor on an artist- and writer-oriented site… that takes a lot of balls. Or guts, if you prefer.

    If the picture were a photograph of a young model holding up a journal suggestively, or even a more modern illustration, I *might* see a problem. But this is in a historical mode that is hardly exploitative, especially nowadays.

    My suggestion is the same for any would-be censors who want to make sure no one else sees what they don’t like: have your say, then turn the channel, put down the book, close the browser window, and leave the adults alone.

  6. I find it very interesting how some people are interpreting my expression of my opinion as a cry for censorship. I do not believe in censorship, HOWEVER, I do believe I have the right to express my displeasure in an open forum such as this with editorial choices made on a site I otherwise admire, applaud, etc.

    I have to admit I like the idea that it sparks other strong opinions…that’s what it is all about. And for those of you who think art is benign…..well, I disagree, vehemently.

  7. Well, zephyr, it might have something to do with the sentence “But I am very dismayed to see the pin up girl there this morning. I would think most of us in such a community would leave this kind of junk off moleskinerie.” Shaming and an appeal to “such a community” are attempted censorship.

    I can’t speak for the others here, but I don’t think art in general or this picture in particular are benign. That’s rather the point. The fact that censorship attempts to make art benign (or bend it to its own agenda) is part of what makes it so bad. That and the silencing of human voices, whether literal or figurative. And as I said in my original post, I’m glad you had your say, even if I am surprised and a bit dismayed by it. 😉 I would not want your voice silenced, either.

    The picture that has spawned this lively discussion could be thought of as just a cute picture of a girl holding up a journal. It might also be thought of as an exploitative picture that is degrading to women or not fit for a family site.

    But both of those are superficial interpretations, stuck on the surface representation. As usual, there might be more going on.

    When I first saw it, I was struck by the pseudo-historical, retro quality of the artwork, which ties in with the quasi-historical nature of Moleskine journals. Very clever, I thought.

    It next occurred to me that it might also be a wry (or not so wry) commentary on the perceived “sexiness” of Moleskines, making an over-the-top joke about the Moleskinophiles running around nowadays. Also clever.

    Or maybe it’s just a funny picture.

    There are many different ways to interpret the thing, but I think sometimes when one has such a strong reaction to something, especially when it makes one want to keep others from seeing it, the best thing to do is not to try shaming others into agreeing with you, but maybe ask instead two quick, important questions:

    1. Why do I not want others to see this?

    2. Is there some other way of seeing this that I’m not seeing?

    If you answer both of those to your satisfaction, have your say and change the channel.

    And I agree with you on another thing — a raucous debate is always fun. 🙂

  8. So its not ok to post a vintage style picture of a fully clothed woman, but its ok to submit articles full of masturbatory phrases about a stupid notebook? “my pen glides smoothly across the creamy pages” blah blah blah. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it. Simple.

  9. Wow… I never imagined that something so relatively harmless would cause such an uproar on both sides. While I don’t agree for a moment with zephyr, saying “I don’t like that” is far from censorship. There’s lots of things that I don’t like and would rather not see, and I’m happy to express my opinion, but let’s not get all up in arms about.

    Nothing to see here, folks, let’s move along to the next overly-obsessive post about a freaking notebook.

  10. I like it. I’m not going to go into the possible levels of meaning, or debate the censorship issue. I’d better save the picture to my hard drive along with my other harmless ‘pin-up girls riding bicycles’ pictures.

  11. I must say I was shocked and disappointed too. Yes, it’s art, but that doesn’t make it right! Let’s be honest, folks, the image is designed to titillate. It depicts half a dozen or so stereotypical turn-ons, which I won’t list since I’m sure most people can identify them for themselves. To say it’s a cute girl holding a book is to avoid talking about the elephant in the room. It’s porn, people, very soft obviously, but it has the same purpose. If people want to look for deeper meaning, how about wondering how and why our sexual responses are so easily conditioned and manipulated by the media, to the point that we don’t even notice it or want to deny it?

  12. Michael Jackson’s face on the front page of every US newspaper is pornography. It’s meant to titillate. It shocks us and yet we cannot stop (well, I can) from reading the grusome details.

    This is a site about artwork. Artwork serves very many purposes and the titillating artwork of the 14th century hangs in museums all over the world today.

    Armond is free to do what he wishes with this site. If he wishes not to offend the overly sensative viewers who call a girl in her knickers “pornography”, that is his choice. It’s also his choice to show far far worse if he wishes. That is his freedom. No one can tell him what to do with his site.

    We are surrounded with advertisement, TV shows, news reports, magazines, and newspapers that glorify sex and violence often at the same tim). Only in a world this fucked up is it ok to show a female US soldier holding a naked prisoner on a leash on the front page of USA Today but only if they censor his penis.

    CNN is pronography. USA Today is pornography. Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson, 50 Cent, and Paris Hilton – pointless bullshit meant to sedate us, desensatize us, lie to us, and sell us food that will kill us before we’re 50.

    I am shocked and appalled every time I turn on network television. I am personally offended every time I see the front page of a newspaper. The last thing in the world I would worry about is a picture from 1950 of a girl with her legs exposed.

  13. Excellent comments, Robert, and some of the rest as well…I agree with a lot of what has been said in response and I’m tempted to say more…..lots more about the “harmlessness of soft-porn”, even artistic and stylish soft porn, but I just through swimming laps at the Y and I’m starving and my stomach is winning out over the desire to debate the power of images.

    I think the last thing I will say is this: I like the people on this site and the fact that I can be blunt and no one has made what I would call an inappropriate post–well, I do take strong exception to the one inference that I’m ignorant. You folks–and especially Armand–are a class act, debating in an intelligent, humane manner…I’ve stopped visiting other sites for the very reason that people think free speech means the freedom to be cruel. While I don’t like it inferred that I’m ignorant, I have to say that so far, whenever I’ve taken the time to read comments–today as well as in the past–no one has been unkind or abusive to me or each other…If it has or ever does happen, I hope I miss that day. Thanks guys, for making this a great community!

  14. Mike is completely right, and I personally applaud Armand for NOT taking the post off. He just proved to all of us the kind of integrity this site and its author both have and that we could all learn from.

    And I didn’t know that titilation was wrong, if it’s a physical/emotional/sexual titilation and not the usual intellectual titilation (assuming a cartoonish pin-up is supposed to stir us all up, which I doubt) we find on this great site. No offense, but how Puritanical are we really willing to be? There are links in the archives of this very site to things that some people get offended by (like my own dirty mouth). What are we going to do, start a list of everything that might offend someone, regardless of whether it’s art, soul-baring, or ranting or politically-charged?

    I mean, it is different to look out for peace and human brother/sisterhood and all that and to strike out at what offends us all — like cruelty, war and hate. It’s another thing to dismiss what might be offensive to some or a regular basis (like the word “fuck” or getting turned on by notebooks and pens, etc.) and to pick out ONE thing to raise hell about because we want everyone to think like us because they use the same notebook as we do. I was not offended by that picture or anything else I have ever seen on this site, and I find it inappropriate to have it implied that we should all be offended.

    And if that’s not the implication, if offense is on a person by person basis, why talk about it at all, since it is then all relative? If it’s not meant to be implied that we should all be offended, what’s the point in expressing said offense?

    Besides, as someone else has already said, no one is forcing anyone to read this site and look at all of its softcore porn [sic].

  15. From the original post:

    “Iam deeply dismayed to see it here on this otherwise terrific site that has, before now, presented thought-provoking, humorous, intelligent “stuff”.”

    If anything, the display of this image has been very thought provoking to both sides and I’m seeing a lot of intelligent discussion (besides my own friday afternoon coffee-induced rant). Isn’t that what art is all about?

  16. “what’s the point in expressing said offense?”

    Does there have to be a point? We have the right to express our opinions, whether they are agreeable or not. Get used to it, it’s in the Constitution (for the moment, anyway).

    Interestingly none of the objectors have suggested that Armand does not have the right to post whatever he wants, or even requested that he remove the post. Nevertheless we have been accused of censorship and trying to tell Armand what to do with his site. We have also been called “overly sensitive” “ignorant” etc., which seems entirely uncalled for, especially considering none of us have said anything against Armand, only against the picture. So while we have merely expressed our opinions about a single picture, we have been personally slighted and accused of saying things we haven’t said. It’s strikingly similar to what happens when someone objects to some government policy and gets accused of being unpatriotic and encouraged to leave the country. The parallels are fascinating.

    Who knew a smutty little picture could reveal so much about the state of American discourse?

  17. Sylvia wrote:
    Who knew a smutty little picture could reveal so much about the state of American discourse?

    It doesn’t…unless you’re willing to ignore that this site draws participants from all over the world. It’s an international forum.


  18. Okay, I thought I was finished commenting, but I just can’t resist adding at least one more:

    All of you accusing/suggesting that I was requesting/demanding censorship I would like to point out that I did not demand removal and what I actually said was I HOPE NOT TO SEE and PREFER not seeing this type of thing on molesinerie.

  19. Just a thought, but maybe, just maybe, those opposing the post are just overreacting a tad bit. We all know that there was nothing about the image meant to cause harm in any sense, so why not forget about it and move on?

    Kyle said it best:
    “Nothing to see here, folks, let’s move along to the next overly-obsessive post about a freaking notebook.”

  20. Smutty? Might that not be stretching it just a little? If that’s smut, what do we call graphic or violent pornography that involves photos of real people or of real people actually causing physical harm to other people?

    I didn’t mean to speak out against anyone’s right to disagree with anything or to state that disagreement. Still, said disagreements might have been better served as a private email to this site’s author, rather than telling him what we individually feel is appropriate or inappropriate for him to put on HIS OWN website.

    This is not necessarily a free-speech forum, though Armand is kind enough to let us ramble on here and to not censor us. This is a nice website that Armand (and others) work hard on, pay for and GIVE to us all out of kindness. It’s not a place to tell them what we would prefer not to see anymore, since such a request would be better served as a private email. Asking a person quietly to desist from publishing something one finds offensive is entirely different from publically doing so. Of course it comes off as accusatory when one goes onto someone’s website and leaves comments about not liking something posted on that site. Given that people are getting offended by offense and offended by that offense at offense (etc), it seems that a nice email to Armand expressing offense or disappointment would have been less destructive than calling him out on something on his own site.

    It also would have kept boneheads like myself [really just me as the bonehead:)] out of it.

    I do not mean at all to state or to imply that anyone offended by such an image is wrong or that saying so is necessarily accusing the site’s author of anything at all. But it certainly will come off that way when one criticizes what a person puts on their own website on that very website.

  21. I don’t think censorship is the issue or not although there is a difference between government censorship and censorship by voice. It’s easy to see the damage caused by North Korean like censorship but the damage by voluntary censorship is far less easy to see or fight but just as damaging. The results from either are the same, the viewer or reader cannot see the result.

    Any time a vocal minority (like the movie rating censors over at the MPAA) controls the distribution of speech or artwork, its censorship in my book.

    I don’t think anyone’s claiming that there was a call for censorship, though the words spoken were strong enough to warrant the discussion.

    What seems a larger and more powerful issue to me, is what we as Americans (I pick on America because its the only country I know well) consider pornography, smut, art, literature, and entertainment.

    I read messages that a painting of a woman with her dress up is smut but then I go outside of my bosses and watch a CNN reporter on a 40 inch TV telling me about how the escaped murderer in Georgia wanted to rape his wife for three days. How the reporter’s eyes shined when he gave up this little detail. There are few more surrealistic experiences than talking to your boss at work with a giant TV behind him displaying the words “Aggrivated Sodomy”. The news media alone saturates us with smut and pornography and we seem to like it or they wouldn’t be able to sell advertising.

    I look at this vintage 1950s pinup and I don’t see much difference between it and the paintings of Toulouse Lautrec:

    We need to start reviewing our personal standards for what obscene and degrading really mean to us. I can’t think of anything more obscene than one guy with six-pack abs trying to get me to buy a hamburger and another guy with six-pack abs selling me a solo-flex in the same 4 minute commercial break.

  22. Let’s wrap up this lively exchange. I believe all sides have been heard and its time to move on. Though I admit I was a bit surprised by the reaction to this post, I never felt pressured or censored since the first complaints were lodged. As I always emphasize when the comment box fills up like this, Moleskinerie remains a personal blog and I will continue to post what I legally can, when I want to.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us and the emails you sent. Running Moleskinerie has been a joy (my godchild taking her mini M on an overseas trip), a revelation (“Sir, I confess I sleep with my Moleskine”), an expense ($9.00 for foreign parcel post! *hint*hint*) and shock (“Sir, I’m on a deadline, you must write for my Inspired Shrine to Moleskine”). Aficionados of these notebooks truly run the gamut, from the regular Jane and Joes, the contemplative, the hilarious, the übergeek and the plain nutcase. In the meantime I will remain at my desk, just off-center to record and report on this madness.

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