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OMG Demon Denim!!! - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

Apr. 16th, 2009

01:40 pm - OMG Demon Denim!!!

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Hey guys, better stay off Crotchety Old Man George Will's lawn; he's at it again! His latest column is about scourge of... DENIM.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/6375695.html

In this column, he calls denim "the infantile uniform for a juvenilized nation", "an obnoxious misuse of freedom", and a "plague" which is "symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche". Wow! And here I thought they were just, y'know, pants. I wondered at first if this column was a reprint from the '50s, but it makes reference to stuff like "Two and a Half Men" and the Indiana Jones movies. Oh, and check out his snide asides directed at grownups who play video games and watch cartoons!

Still, don't worry, George, maybe this whole jeans thing is a trend that won't last, just like that telly-vision contraption or that newfangled ee-lec-tronic calculator. In my day, all we had was an *abacus* and we liked it *fine*!

While reading the column, I kept thinking of an LJ entry that the Gneech wrote one time, stating his own preference for three-piece suits and other fancy duds. But the Gneech didn't make the same mistake George Will is making here; he basically said "I like to dress up, and it would be nice if more people did too," whereas Will is saying "People should stop wearing jeans because it's wrong!"

Screw you, George Will. Oh, sorry, how infantile of me! I meant to say "piffle" or something like that.

Comments:

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From:tilton
Date:April 16th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
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Wow.

Just... wow.

1952 called, they want their outrage back!
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From:orv
Date:April 16th, 2009 07:13 pm (UTC)
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That was my first reaction, too. It sounds like the narration for a 1950s mental hygiene film.
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From:the_gneech
Date:April 16th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
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Um.

Jeans are perfectly good in the right context, and as a casual pant material they're unparalleled.

The idea that they're somehow "infantilized" clothing is just bizarre.

Please don't associate me with this kind of moonbattery! ^.^'

-The Gneech
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:April 16th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
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Which brings up another question:

How many batteries does the moon run on?

And what size are they? They must be, like, D^1000000!
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From:aatheus
Date:April 16th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
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I believe an appropriate comeback would be "Have at you, scurvy ruffian that thou art! What ho!"
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:April 16th, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
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Actually I think the most appropriate comeback would be to challenge his assertion that people who wear jeans don't take pride in their appearance. When I go out, sure I'm wearing jeans and a T-shirt, but they're clean and in good condition. (Well, OK, some of my jeans are a bit frayed at the ankle, but that's it.) I'm not some trailer trash redneck wearing dirty torn worn-out old pants from Wal-Mart with big holes in the knee and one leg missing, and a dirty torn worn-out old sleeveless undershirt.

Another appropriate comeback: "What's the matter? You guys running out of things to write about President Obama?"
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From:megadog
Date:April 16th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
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I would love to read his opinions on the sartorial merits (or otherwise) of Plaid.
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From:dv_girl
Date:April 16th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
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I agree that jeans and a tee-shirt are a somewhat lackluster combination, but they're cheap and affordable to all and fairly durable.

Tailored clothing will always look better than off-the-shelf, but I wonder if he'd really approve of my modes of dress. I work at an awesome place. I have rainbow colored hair and I make my own clothes. I frequently wear knee-pants and 16th century drop-sleeve shirts with a broad belt and high boots. Or I wear pants that are furry with raised designs stitched into them, Jackets with lots of weird layers and bizarre hoods and collars. All of it specifically tailored to me, color coordinated to match my hair, and I get tons of compliments on it... And yet, I get the feeling he'd be somehow dissatisfied with this woman who makes her own clothing. Go figure.

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From:kinkyturtle
Date:April 16th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
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Nooo, you're not evil, you're just *infantile*.

And yet George Will, who says essentially "Everybody stop wearing jeans! I hate them!" is somehow mature.
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From:nefaria
Date:April 16th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
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He's an old-fashioned guy. In the old days, you dressed to please others, and failing to dress with appropriate decorum meant that you didn't like the people around you.

These days, people wear what they like and are comfortable with.

I hardly ever wear jeans now, but I watch cartoons and play video games, so I'm still a juvenile in his eyes. Oh well, times change, and there won't be too many people who think like him around when I'm his age.
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From:dv_girl
Date:April 16th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
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Insisting that everyone else in the world should behave like they do in your fantasy world is a fair bit more juvenile than playing video games IMO.
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From:neuracnu
Date:April 16th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)

Ground rules:

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Anyone who has ever been offended by or sneered at someone else for wearing pajama bottoms or crocs out in public has no business scoffing at one iota of this article.
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From:deckardcanine
Date:April 16th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)

Re: Ground rules:

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I dunno. Jeans were always made to be worn in public. The worst statement they convey is "I prefer comfort to formality." Pajamas, OTOH, may suggest "I just got up and haven't bothered fully preparing myself for the outside world." They also, in my experience, tend to mismatch whatever else they're wearing.

Not that I'd sneer. Fashion means very little to me.
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From:discopanda
Date:April 16th, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC)
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I tend to wear either denim jeans or denim jean shorts (regular shorts have the wrong sort of pocket and things fall out) all the time, although all of mine are black instead of blue.

Actually, almost all of my clothes are either black, gray, or in a few cases white. (I even have a couple grayscale tie-dye shirts, one light and one dark.) Which comes with the added bonus that I don't have to worry about whether or not the colors go together or not, black/white/gray *always* goes with black/white/gray. :-)
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From:deckardcanine
Date:April 16th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
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Admittedly, people today do tend to act less grown up than their parents did at the same age, sometimes to the detriment of society. But denim is a poor focal point, and cartoons and video games are marginally better at most.
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From:dv_girl
Date:April 16th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
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are you sure of that, or do we only have other people's word for it?

Actually. Back up a step further. Define 'behaving like an adult'.

Most of the time I knew them, my grandparents spent their time shouting at each other, talking about people they liked/didn't like, and playing board games. They were in frequent debt on their farm and wanted things they didn't really need and couldn't ever afford.

That general set of behavior seems to describes nearly everyone I've ever known over the age of ten. So how exactly were they 'more adult'?
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From:baxil
Date:April 16th, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
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Conservativism descended into self-parody earlier this decade and hasn't once poked its head up out into reality yet. I mean, OK, jeans and teabagging, but seriously Sarah Palin?

Anyway, George doesn't deserve the electrons but I'll write it anyway:

> It is, he says, a manifestation of “the modern trend toward undifferentiated dressing, in which we all strive to look equally shabby.”

He is of course absolutely right*, and we should return to the glorious days of the Victorians, where you could instantly tell the moral turpitude of a gentleman by the amount of money he spent on his overcoat and the righteousness of a woman by her 37 layers of corset-laced petticoats. Humanity works so much more efficiently when everyone spends eight hours per day getting dressed and undressed, and when the middle class impoverishes themselves by keeping up with appearances rather than by improving their actual quality of life.

--
* It is an interesting and little-known fact that the phrase "completely right" actually is Neo-Lojban for "a retarded asshole."
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From:dv_girl
Date:April 16th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
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Nah. Not good enough. The bible has very specific instructions for how men are supposed to dress. Something about a loincloth and a blue something or other with a certain number of gold tassels. Clearly that's what he meant. All men should wear a lampshade and a loincloth.

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From:penh
Date:April 16th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
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Herb: The whole world is in revolution, and not just here, but everywhere. And you know who's at war?
Les: No.
Herb: It's the dungarees versus the suits, Les. The whole world is in two armed camps - over here, we have the dungarees, and over here the suits. Remember the riots from the sixties? It was the dungarees versus the suits. And then Watergate. Those guys arrested were wearing dungarees, and who suffered for it?
Les: The suits!
Herb: Exactly!
Les: But there were issues, Herb.
Herb: The issues, issues, were a smokescreen. Now listen. When a son disobeys his father, what's he wearing?
Les: The son? Uh... dungarees!
Herb: And what's the father got on?
Les: Probably a suit!
Herb: D'ya see what I mean, Les?
Les: Yeah!
Herb: And do you know what's worse?
Les: What?
Herb: The fathers are beginning to wear dungarees too!
Les: That's right!
Herb: And so are the mothers!
Les: It's just like "The Bodysnatchers"!!
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:April 16th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
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I remember that scene!
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From:orv
Date:April 16th, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC)
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George Will's main argument here strikes me as essentially a classist one. Denim — durable, inexpensive, easy to clean, and requiring no ironing — has always been the fabric of choice for manual laborers. What appears to offend Will is that people he sees as elites are dressing the same as people in the lower class.

The rest of the rant — about video games and cartoons — seems mostly the rantings of a bitter old man who doesn't like that tastes in entertainment have changed during his lifetime. Will seems especially derisive of adult video gamers, but what makes video games any less appropriate for adults than golf or bridge? It's not exactly a new thing. When the first Pong arcade machine was installed in a bar in Sunnyvale I doubt many children were playing it. I just find it puzzling, but I find all complaints about the "infantilization" of our culture pretty puzzling.



Edited at 2009-04-16 11:12 pm (UTC)
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:April 16th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, exactly. Just another example of a guy looking like a fool by vilifying something harmless.
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From:lcremeans
Date:April 29th, 2009 09:24 am (UTC)
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Egads! He gave us poor saps what for! We should all go steal fresh jam not wear jeans now!
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:April 29th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
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Yeeees. We must, in lieu of same, go marching around in gold pants!
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