by John Hawkins | April 20, 2009 11:16 am
I don’t know how I missed it last week, but George Will wrote what may have been the single most unintentionally funny conservative column that I’ve seen since I started blogging.
It was called Demon denim, a name that he probably lifted from the 1920s campaign against “Demon rum.”
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.
…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.
…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.
How exactly did George Will come to the conclusion that jeans are an “obnoxious misuse of freedom,” a “plague,” & “symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche,” as opposed to say, cheap, easy to match, and considered to be completely appropriate for most casual occasions?
Maybe George Will has to restrain himself to keep from vomiting with rage every time he looks out the window of a swanky Washington dinner party and sees some ruffian wearing jeans or worse yet, some sort of pro-Sarah Palin attire, but I’m not sure that many other people feel that way or even understand where he’s coming from. He might as well be railing against the existence of “the innertubes” or how loud those new fangled auto-mo-biles are compared to horses for all the sense he’s making.
Now of course, the best line in Will’s whole piece was, “If Fred Astaire would not have worn it, don’t wear it. For women, substitute Grace Kelly.”
Here’s an idea that would make for the best reality series of all-time: a network should hire George Will to give Fred Astaire and Grace Kelly makeovers to 18 year-old college students. It’s a guaranteed hit!
PS: Here’s some more bad news for George Will: even Fred Astaire’s acolytes have been corrupted by “demon denim!”
From the blog for the Fred Astaire Dance Studios,
From October 2-6, students and staff of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Upper Montclair, NJ raised more than $500 in donations for the Women’s Cancer Programs of EIF to support the fight against breast cancer. Since 1996, Lee National Denim Day has raised more than $70 million for the fight against breast cancer…$5 at a time.
For Denim Day, staff and students who wore jeans were asked to contribute $5.
PS #2: Yes, I do remember inside-the-beltway pundit George Will’s snobby condemnation of Sarah Palin and his staunch support for amnesty. Why do you ask?
Update #1: From the comments section,
“Maybe in his next column Will can explain that we can fix everything wrong with the US government by having politicians and judges start wearing wigs again.” — Mike_M
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