A recent Vanity Fair piece by Buzz Bissinger (?!) looks at how John-Wayne’s legendary dom John Ford more or less made Utah’s Monument Valley an iconic backdrop: “The 1939 movie Stagecoach created three icons: John Wayne, John Ford, and the 30,000 acres of glory on the Utah-Arizona border known as Monument Valley. It was a pioneering rancher, Harry Goulding, who brought Hollywood to his home, and helped shape America’s vision of the West.”
Near the end, Bissinger writes, “They had both lived long enough to see the valley become a cliché—once Madison Avenue had decided it was the right icon for American ruggedness. As Richard Klinck wrote in 1995, “It’s been a long time since Monument Valley was more than just a gimmick—a readily identifiable backdrop.”
And then, just a couple pages after the one pictured, proof that mishaps in contextual advertising are not solely the province of ad-served websites.
Well,then again, at least Vanity Fair isn’t mocking itself, like Shape.