Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fashion class

Here's a post from 2009 by inside-the-beltway conservative pundit George Will that was just brought to my attention:
'Denim is the infantile uniform of a nation in which entertainment frequently features childlike adults... Seventy-five percent of American "gamers" -- people who play video games -- are older than 18 and nevertheless are allowed to vote... Denim is the clerical vestment for the priesthood of all believers in democracy's catechism of leveling -- thou shalt not dress better than society's most slovenly. To do so would be to commit the sin of lookism -- of believing that appearance matters. That heresy leads to denying the universal appropriateness of everything, and then to the elitist assertion that there is good and bad taste.
Denim is the carefully calculated costume of people eager to communicate indifference to appearances. 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.'
Update: here's the link to the entire daft editorial (why doesn't anyone point stuff like this out?)

Washington Post

Oh dear. Old man Grumpy stopped yelling at the kids to get off his lawn and went inside and watched "King O' The Mountain Of Debt" or "Narcissistic Women Who Have Too Much Money, Failing Looks And No Fucking Brains At All" on cable TV channel #13013.

Mr. Will's Sunday-Morning-Insider-Roundtable opinions are comically out of touch. Ever since the the rise of the "Middle" Class a few centuries back there has been a steady market for ersatz luxury goods.  The Industrial Revolution made it possible for everyone with increasingly abundant money to ape their "betters" with increasingly cheaper imitations. The trend continues although the only real difference today seems to be how far the masses will go into debt to maintain their kids' hi-tech lifestyle and how grandiosely the wealthy overspend all the cash they have. But now this state of affairs has taken a disastrous turn as shabby-chic has now afflicted the Upper Class.

Why are people wearing jeans? Why do middle-aged men buy Harleys? Because they have the cachet of a Bad Boy past that has become acceptable and chic, their edginess worn down by years of desensitization and the onset of rose-colored amnesia. Motorcycle gangs are selling meth while mid-life-crisis men with money to burn are cruising the Interstates on two wheels. What was once openly rebellious or uncouth is now simply "cool" (and the Hells Angels just another drug cartel). So it is with denim, along with the other minor little point that jeans also happen to be comfortable and low-maintenance. For those wishing to actually make a statement there are $1000 jeans at upscale shoppes which have a superficial gloss of class and the same degree of comfort when you squeeze your ass into them.

Will is right about one thing: jeans (and the state of contemporary dress in general) are class-leveling (in both directions) and that's what's really eating this Goldwater conservative. "Beauty before comfort" is now a nostalgic by-gone; today well-to-do women shop at Food Lion in spandex and crocs while bedecked with bling. The old notion of "dressing one's class" is laughably archaic. Today's moneyed interests, staunchly backed by old-school players like Will, are fed by a consumer culture that steamrollers over "appearances". This unfortunate side-effect of the current state of capitalism must be absolutely galling to a man who is still desperately clinging to the last visible vestige of being "above" almost everyone else, his fucking precious uniform.


ssslack said...

Every day these asshats confirm my suspicions from decades before, that they are so obsessed with caste and conformity they stifle all human potential. Just imagine having your destiny placed in the hands of one of these maroons ... you wouldn't get far.

metasonix said...

Heh. "Goldwater conservative"....

I daresay that Barry Goldwater, despite being a classic commie-hating John Birch conservative, would very likely not have a place in today's Republican Party.

Because Barry was more of a social libertarian than people remember--he didn't care what gays did, believed in truly free speech and full separation of church and state, and felt that women were entitled to abortions if desired.

In fact, if Barry were here today, he'd probably punch the effete East Coast twit George Will in his pinched little nose. The fucking bizarre paranoid Jesus-freak show called the 21st-century GOP could use some more crusty old bastards like Goldwater.