Friday, April 17, 2009

A Vow

I vow to never, ever, bother reading George Will again. For a long time he seemed like a quasi-reasonable commentator.  Then he writes this screed regarding the cultural evils of .........jeans.  I'm shocked that he did not refer to them as "dungarees" to truly illustrate his desire to climb back into the white-washed womb of 1954.

Will says: "But the appearances that people choose to present in public are cues from which we make inferences about their maturity and respect for those to whom they are presenting themselves."

Let's ignore the fact that making inferences from appearances is intellectually lazy.  The sartorial code of what constitutes maturity and respect *changes* over time along with, oh, everything else. (George Will's bow-tie, I'm sure, is supposed to indicate his maturity and worthiness of respect. Mostly, of course, it screams "I'm an arrogant douchebag", but let's let that slide for the moment).  In the 40's, the uniform of the mature male was a three-piece suit and a hat. In the mid 1800's the uniform was a black suit and top hat. In 1700 the most respected and powerful man in Europe, Louis XIV, looked like this:

So why doesn't George Will write an article about the cultural evils of top hats, bowler hats, and black suits?  I mean, obviously, the most appropriate mature and respectful uniform for a male involves a) panty-hose, b) chunky heels, c) an Austin Powers cravatte, and d) a bedspread draped over your shoulders.

George Will despairs over jeans because the world is not identical to the world he grew up in.  And he, like all of us, have a hard time dealing with that kind of dissonance.  The difference is that most of us realize that its our problem, not a problem with the rest of the world.  And it certainly is not an indication of cultural decay.  George, shit changes. Cinch up the bow tie and get over it.

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