There is nothing particularly fiery about Tory Burch. Shortly after the 2004 debut of the fashion company that bears her name, Ms. Burch was profiled in The New York Times, with the reporter noting that if reserve could be bottled, Ms. Burch would probably “have a blockbuster fragrance.”First, to answer the dumb question, ambition is not a dirty word, certainly not in America. I am actually hard put to think of anything else we have in such a surfeit as ambition. Well, maybe opiates, guns, and sullen dissatisfaction with the state of the world.
So it may come as something of a surprise that the campaign she was promoting on Tuesday morning by phone from her office in the Flatiron district does not have a couple of starlet models photographed by the ubiquitous Mario Testino, but is instead a stark, black-and-white video, a public service announcement that takes on a thorny issue that dominated the last presidential campaign and has divided people on the right and left.
Making its debut next Wednesday, on International Women’s Day, the campaign, called “Embrace Ambition,” features Julianne Moore, Melinda Gates, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jamie Lee Curtis, Anna Wintour, Reese Witherspoon and other famous people (both male and female) talking in front of a scrim about reclaiming a word that has often been used to vilify women.
“We embrace ambition,” Ms. Paltrow says.
“I can think of a lot of dirty words,” Ms. Witherspoon says. “Ambition is not one of them.”
All the proceeds from the sale of accompanying bracelets and T-shirts will go toward a foundation Ms. Burch started in 2009 to help female entrepreneurs.
But the notion that what we lack in America is ambition is so ridiculous to me that I don't even know where to start criticizing it. As for things we actually need more of, I could make a very long list, starting with friendship, neighborly kindness, calm reflection, serious thought, mutual understanding, and the ability to be happy with what we have instead of always needing more.