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Do you wear denim? George Will thinks you are a immature slob


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#1 of 58 OFFLINE   Danny Tse

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Posted April 20 2009 - 07:52 AM

I think George's rug may be on a little too tight. As expressed in his op-ed in the Washington Post....

George Will hates denim

Quote:
On any American street, or in any airport or mall, you see the same sad tableau: A 10-year-old boy is walking with his father, whose development was evidently arrested when he was that age, judging by his clothes. Father and son are dressed identically -- running shoes, T-shirts. And jeans, always jeans. If mother is there, she, too, is draped in denim.

Writer Daniel Akst has noticed and has had a constructive conniption. He should be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has earned it by identifying an obnoxious misuse of freedom. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he has denounced denim, summoning Americans to soul-searching and repentance about the plague of that ubiquitous fabric, which is symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche.

It is, he says, a manifestation of "the modern trend toward undifferentiated dressing, in which we all strive to look equally shabby." Denim reflects "our most nostalgic and destructive agrarian longings -- the ones that prompted all those exurban McMansions now sliding off their manicured lawns and into foreclosure." Jeans come prewashed and acid-treated to make them look like what they are not -- authentic work clothes for horny-handed sons of toil and the soil. Denim on the bourgeoisie is, Akst says, the wardrobe equivalent of driving a Hummer to a Whole Foods store -- discordant.

Long ago, when James Dean and Marlon Brando wore it, denim was, Akst says, "a symbol of youthful defiance." Today, Silicon Valley billionaires are rebels without causes beyond poses, wearing jeans when introducing new products. Akst's summa contra denim is grand as far as it goes, but it only scratches the surface of this blight on Americans' surfaces. Denim is the infantile uniform of a nation in which entertainment frequently features childlike adults ("Seinfeld," "Two and a Half Men") and cartoons for adults ("King of the Hill"). Seventy-five percent of American "gamers" -- people who play video games -- are older than 18 and nevertheless are allowed to vote. In their undifferentiated dress, children and their childish parents become undifferentiated audiences for juvenilized movies (the six -- so far -- "Batman" adventures and "Indiana Jones and the Credit-Default Swaps," coming soon to a cineplex near you). 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.

Do not blame Levi Strauss for the misuse of Levi's. When the Gold Rush began, Strauss moved to San Francisco planning to sell strong fabric for the 49ers' tents and wagon covers. Eventually, however, he made tough pants, reinforced by copper rivets, for the tough men who knelt on the muddy, stony banks of Northern California creeks, panning for gold. Today it is silly for Americans whose closest approximation of physical labor consists of loading their bags of clubs into golf carts to go around in public dressed for driving steers up the Chisholm Trail to the railhead in Abilene.

This is not complicated. For men, sartorial good taste can be reduced to one rule: If Fred Astaire would not have worn it, don't wear it. For women, substitute Grace Kelly.

Edmund Burke -- what he would have thought of the denimization of America can be inferred from his lament that the French Revolution assaulted "the decent drapery of life"; it is a straight line from the fall of the Bastille to the rise of denim -- said: "To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely." Ours would be much more so if supposed grown-ups would heed St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, and St. Barack's inaugural sermon to the Americans, by putting away childish things, starting with denim.

(A confession: The author owns one pair of jeans. Wore them once. Had to. Such was the dress code for former senator Jack Danforth's 70th birthday party, where Jerry Jeff Walker sang his classic "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother." Music for a jeans-wearing crowd.)

SACD not listed at sa-cd.net (updated 8/26/2009)

#2 of 58 OFFLINE   Bob McLaughlin

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Posted April 20 2009 - 08:44 AM

Actually that is a pretty funny article.
Aside from work and weddings, all I have ever worn is jeans, by the way.
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#3 of 58 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted April 20 2009 - 08:48 AM

That's an oddly asinine article that ignores the obvious: denim pants are comfortable. More comfortable, in general, than typical khakis or dress pants. Denin is affordable, often less than dress pants. And denim goes with almost everything, so the unfashionable male doesn't have to worry (and get wrong) whether to to wear light brown, dark brown, or black pants; denim serves all purpose.

That said, I cringe at times at the slobification of the workplace. Posted Image

#4 of 58 OFFLINE   Jeff Brooks

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Posted April 20 2009 - 08:57 AM

This from a guy who wears a bow tie!

#5 of 58 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted April 20 2009 - 09:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob McLaughlin
Actually that is a pretty funny article.
Aside from work and weddings, all I have ever worn is jeans, by the way.
If I could wear jeans to a wedding, I would! LOL

I love this part of the article:
Quote:
Eventually, however, he made tough pants, reinforced by copper rivets, for the tough men who knelt on the muddy, stony banks of Northern California creeks, panning for gold. Today it is silly for Americans whose closest approximation of physical labor consists of loading their bags of clubs into golf carts to go around in public dressed for driving steers up the Chisholm Trail to the railhead in Abilene.
Does this guy think that most Americans are yuppie golfers that never get their knees dirty?? Posted Image We sit in our mansions while our maids, butlers, and gardeners handle our chores??

The last time I checked, I could get my jeans dirty/muddy (from the harsh New England winter mess) and a quick wash in the washing machine would solve the case. Ever try to get encrusted road salt/grit out of a pair of Dockers, George? Posted Image

Although, I guess one wouldn't know anything about road salt when you get picked up, curbside by your stretch limo. LMAO!

#6 of 58 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted April 20 2009 - 10:58 AM

So basically George Will would never vote for a guy like this? Posted Image

Posted Image
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#7 of 58 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted April 20 2009 - 11:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Brooks
This from a guy who wears a bow tie!
Posted Image
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#8 of 58 OFFLINE   Patrick_S

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Posted April 20 2009 - 11:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
So basically George Will would never vote for a guy like this? Posted Image

Posted Image
The funny thing is that guy only put on jeans to sell a false image of himself.

There is a great story of an interview he gave on his ranch. His handlers showed up first and to their horror found him decked out in full English riding gear. If I remember correctly they had to provide him with the western attire.

That makes sense considering the he came from a time in Hollywood when actors were always nicely attired when in public.

As for Will’s article, I would agree that jeans are often worn in situations in which they are inappropriate attire but there is no accounting for taste.

#9 of 58 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted April 20 2009 - 11:46 AM

I know the dress code out here on the West Coast is much more casual than on the East Coast. A Polo shirt and Khaki's is the norm out here. And I've seen guys walking down the halls at Palm in Sunnyvale wearing a tank top, shorts and thongs. Doesn't bother me a bit if they do their job well (I know, Palm isn't doing too well right now but who is?).

As for denim, I wear it all the time. As long as it's neat and clean and not too in-appropriate, who cares what it is? I know George Will is a well respected journalist, but in this case, f*%#'em.

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#10 of 58 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted April 20 2009 - 11:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gene c
I know George Will is a well respected journalist
Not so much lately. Posted Image

(I won't get into detail; a Google search should bring it up.)
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#11 of 58 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted April 20 2009 - 12:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gene c
Sorry, I'm having a lousy day Posted Image .
No reason to appologize. If some out-of-touch old man wants to express his ignorant mind, then you don't need to be having a lousy day to tell that geezer off. Posted Image

George Will sounds like one of those old dudes who doesn't adapt very well to change. He mentions why denim was first invented then doesn't expect it to find it's way into modern fashion?? Hey George, I hate to tell you but fashion DOES change. People wear baseball hats without being on a baseball team; People wear jogging pants to go shopping; Strraight women wear men's clothing; Guys (who've never been in an airplane) wear bomber jackets.

Get a clue. Fasion didn't stop in the 1900's.
Quote:
I know the dress code out here on the West Coast is much more casual than on the East Coast.
Besides maybe the business areas of Manhatten, we're just as casual.

#12 of 58 OFFLINE   troy evans

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Posted April 20 2009 - 12:38 PM

What's so wrong with denim jeans? That's what I wear and my friends and so on. This guys a trip. However, I will say that sweat pants are sloppy looking on most people and I can't imagine why people wear them casually in public. People who wear sweat pants in public have given up on life.
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#13 of 58 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted April 20 2009 - 12:59 PM

And then there's always this guy. Posted Image

Posted Image

I'll bet every president since FDR has worn jeans.

EDIT Well maybe not Harry Truman...he was a haberdasher previously. But how about FDR's smarter cousin?

Posted Image

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#14 of 58 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted April 20 2009 - 01:37 PM

Quote:
Today it is silly for Americans whose closest approximation of physical labor consists of loading their bags of clubs into golf carts to go around in public dressed for driving steers up the Chisholm Trail to the railhead in Abilene.

I have degrees in physics, math, and a doctorate in law. Summers in college I got a job cleaning the printing press at the San Jose Merc after the night's run was over, and came home looking like a coal miner. When working as a defense contractor I had to install and debug prototype systems on ships and submarines worldwide, and it was a tough and dirty job on occasion. I restored old British sportscars as a hobby, and still do all my own work on my cars. When money was tight I re-roofed my own home. In retirement I keep a rake in my pickup since I volunteered to run the irrigation system for our HOA, and have to pull debris out of the irrigation canal so the water runs right. I also hike distances in the Sawtooth Wilderness area with a pack on my back, a pistol in my holster, and jeans on my legs.

Somehow Will comes across as some Nancy-boy who coasted through J-school and never did an honest day's work in his life. I'm far better educated than him and never shirked honest work. IMHO that's what made America a great country: her educated classes would do what it took to get the job done.
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#15 of 58 OFFLINE   Michael Warner

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Posted April 20 2009 - 02:22 PM

I had a similar conversation with an old friend of my father-in-law about 15 years ago. He railed against everyone wearing jeans on a holiday (Thanksgiving) while he was decked out in dark brown Sansabelt slacks, a baby blue golf shirt, black socks, and white shoes. Thanks but I'll stick with the denim.
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#16 of 58 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted April 20 2009 - 02:42 PM

Maybe Will is experiencing AndyRooneyization -- the unfortunate transition of journalist into ranting about stupid, obvious things in their twilight years.

When George Will observes that there are not, in fact, any pebbles in "Fruity Pebbles", we'll know he's fully there.

#17 of 58 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted April 20 2009 - 11:11 PM

How un-American!! Posted Image Blue jeans are right up there with baseball and apple pie. Reminds me of the time I had to sit outside during a school dance because I wore blue jeans. The principal thought they contributed to bad behavior. Jeans were all I owned.

#18 of 58 OFFLINE   RyanAn

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Posted April 20 2009 - 11:20 PM

I don't see anything wrong with jeans except:

If it's a jean-jacket, GROOOOOOSSSSS!
If it's too dark.
If it's too light.
If it's acid washed

#19 of 58 OFFLINE   Lucia Duran

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Posted April 20 2009 - 11:40 PM

I work in a warehouse and do a lot of loading, lifting, pulling, pushing and cleaning..... jeans are pretty much the required uniform! I love my denim! Infact if I could I would wear it every day.... oh wait I do!

I personally do not want to have to be dressed to the nines every day like women use to back in the day. If I had to put on a dress and heals every day and make sure my hair was curled just so and that my makeup was on right, I would be miserable. I enjoy getting dressed up for special occasions, but an every day thing is just too much for me.

Besides, I can look just as nice in my denim as I would in dress. Hell, Brooke Shields made denim sexy with her white buttoned down shirt and her Calvins!
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#20 of 58 OFFLINE   Todd H

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Posted April 21 2009 - 12:00 AM

Why does George Will hate America?


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