Saturday, December 13, 2014

Fad, Fun, Fashion, Irony and Taste.

Yesterday morning I spent a pleasant half hour, chuckling, as I read this piece at Lawyers Guns & Money: Lumbersexuality and a Crisis of Masculinity by Erik Loomis, and its thread of fun comments. That piece had been inspired by an article by Willa Brown in The Atlantic.

In nutshell mode, what it's all about is some current male fad to grow beards and wear flannel plaid, lumberjack style  (plaid being the American term for any old check-pattern, not proper Scottish plaid as in kilt).

As I see it, such a fad, assuming it is actually a fad and not just a practical avoidance of the regular need to shave, whilst keeping warm in winter temperatures,  may be just another way of trying to "belong" or conform to a group who think of themselves as "hipsters".  That'd be somewhat ironic though, because hipsters proper are not supposed to conform to anything.  Or, as the article's title suggests,  is this an indication that more males are feeling the need to crank up their masculine side?

Living as I do, close to the Oklahoma-Texas border, the sight of men in beards and plaid shirts is an everyday experience when out and about (not around the house though; husband will not, under any circumstance, wear a checked flannel shirt. Why this is I haven't yet discovered.) In Texoma the sight of beards and plaid definitely does not indicate an influx of hipsters to the region, nor, I suspect does it mean that Okie males need  ways of proving their cojones.

If so-called hipsters in more north-eastern urban areas find amusement in aping rural or working-class garb, while embracing "indie" music and movies, along with anything else but "the norm", then I have to feel a little sorry for them. The fact that they are conforming anyway, to a group, seems to have flown over the tops of their deliberately unkempt heads.

I don't like the "ironic" in its fashion translation. One of the nastiest  examples was/is the sight of multi-millionaire "celebrities" wearing designer jeans bought already torn and frayed, and designer teeshirts created with "moth-eaten" holes and worn edgings. I don't call that ironic, I call it bad taste - especially as said garments probably cost far more than a year's food ration for a person who is forced to wear naturally tattered clothing from necessity.

Still on the topic of taste - of the bad variety, how about Seth Rogen's new movie, The Interview, due out this weekend? The film's theme is assassination of Kim Jong-un - this described as "humorous". Really? Nobody in the West has much time for Kim J-u, but murder is murder. It's no use wringing one's hands about the murder of black men by American police if you're going to laud and enjoy a depiction of murder of some, admittedly nasty, person in North Korea - and for fun. The ticket price will ensure that multi-millionaires make even more multi-millions of $$$$$$$$ from it! And - by the by - how funny would it be if the target of this schoolboy-type humour were to arrange for a weaponised drone or two to be aimed in this direction?


Sonny G said...

Me and my daughter were saying the same thing last night, about , how would we feel about movie makers in other countries making a movie about killing our president, or any leader of any country.. of course , we'd probably just ignore it. The less energy we gave it the less important it would be to others.
I too don't find that brand of humor the least bit funny.
What passes for comedy here or anywhere usually just annoys me and I stay away from it.
as far as I'm concerned 95% of the movies made are not worth watching.

mike said...

There was mass conformity in the USA prior to the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in the mid 1960s. I remember the beatniks of the late 1950s were probably the first to develop their own separate, yet conforming-to-their-group style: jeans, black turtleneck sweater, coffee & cigarettes & low-grade marijuana, bongo drums, beat poetry. Their conforming nonconformity was considered very off-putting and arrogant.

All the way through my schooling, we had STRICT dress codes. "Rebel Without a Cause" and "West Side Story" (ohhhh...the song, "Spanish Harlem"!) brought the jeans and T-shirt gang persona, but it was considered a bad look.

Freedom of clothing choice caught-on in the mid to late 1960s and I praise the social acceptance of clothing tailored to one's personality and choice, or image one wishes to project. The flannel, jeans, and scruffy appearance of the "new" look for some men is simply a going-around-the-circle-again style from the late 1960s and 70s hippie look. I don't wear flannel shirts, but they are mighty comfortable and warm. I prefer athletic pants...stretchy, elastic waist and ankle, and loose legs...perfect for my bicycling and working in the yard. I'm certainly not concerned about my "appearance"...way too late for that...LOL. I don't dress to impress.

Re "The Interview"...assassination of KJU has probably been a REAL topic for many, mostly his own subservient citizenry. This movie would be a hit in his own country, I'm sure, specially if it were shown in one of his gulags.

American movies and particularly TV programs now-a-day show all sorts of perversity, definitely of the murderous genre. I am a bit taken-back when I hear the advertisement, "Nobody does death like Revenge"! I can't understand the American fascination with murder, rape, abuse, and assassination portrayals in our regular, every night TV viewing. UGH!

mike (again) said...

P.S. - The previous trendy-ization of flannel was in the early 1990s, with the American hit TV show, "Northern Exposure" [ ]. The program helped in the demise of the disco-era type of clothing...LOL. Also, Momma Grizzly herself, S Palin, was often seen wearing flannel on one of her many moose hunts, so maybe the current flannel trend has Palin to thank for the revival.

A friend of mine calls any accoutrement that accentuates a man's manhood a "penis extension", eg such things as a ginormous truck.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ 95% might be a bit high for me, but I agree in general - for TV shows too. It's a great pity because one of the USA's plus points has always been its film industry's achievements, but early on, and to around mid-20th century.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I've never quite understood that thing about wanting to appear non-conformist, yet being willing to rigid conform to a group's signs and symbols. There must be something of a parrot gene within humans. ;-)

I've always enjoyed keeping an eye on fashion and its sublime versus ridiculous aspects - but more as an art-form than as something to wear myself. I do enjoy clothes, but only if I feel they enjoy me - and can become a comfortable part of me.

I'm always tickled by reading men's comments on matters of fashion, which is why I enjoyed the thread of comment mentioned at the top of the post so much. Husband, and previous men in my life (excluding first husband) have been totally oblivious to fashion, yet oddly adamant about what they would or wouldn't wear. LOL!

Flannel was something reserved for pyjamas and nighties in my young days in the UK. I don't remember any flannel shirts at all - even worn by farmers. The custom of checked flannel shirts must have originated here in the USA, via certain immigrant groups in northern areas maybe.

mike (again) said...

It comes from your original side of the duck pond:

"Flannel can be traced back to 17th century Wales, where farmers wore flannel shirts to protect themselves from the elements. This tradition would continue for other blue collar workers as the prevalence of flannel grew. The word 'flannel' most likely comes from the Welsh word gwlanen, meaning 'woolen article.'

One man who is often credited for popularizing the flannel shirt in the United States is Hamilton Carhartt. He founded his namesake company in 1889. Wanting his clothes to be specially made for the working class, he visited railroad workers all over the country to determine the best tactics for creating top-notch utility products, including flannel shirts. He sought to set a standard of excellence, which he believed was reflected in every article he produced."

mike (again) said...

FYI from Raymond Merriman

"... But more important in understanding the longer-term picture is the Saturn-Pluto cycle. On November 27, 2014, Saturn began the “balsamic phase” of its cycle to Pluto, which is the last 1/8 of its entire 32-37 year cycle. The balsamic phase is the ‘dark phase” of each cycle, when the matters pertaining to that cycle are torn down and new foundations are built. Saturn-Pluto is an important economic and political cycle.
The current Saturn-Pluto cycle began with the conjunction of these two planets in November 1982. It will end on January 12, 2020. These last 4-5 years are the final 1/8 of the cycle, when Saturn and Pluto enter into a waning semi-square to one another (the last 45° of their 360° cycle). The days of experimentation with economic models will end, for they will be seen to have either seen to have either served their purpose, or failed. New models will be applied which are a combination of both original thought and time-tested policies.
In the last balsamic phase of Saturn and Pluto (1978-1982), inflation became a problem, which only became solved when easy money policies ended and much higher interest rates were applied. It hurt. The economies of the world suffered greatly in that Balsamic phase. But after the medicine was swallowed, the economy began to grow again. In fact, free market economies of the world entered a great economic boom cycle that lasted into 2000.
The 4-5 year balsamic phase before that was equally impressive. That was 1942-1947. It was the end of World War II and many nations of the world were in huge debt due to the war. However, the war ended, people and nations came together and bean rebuilding, and from great debt, another worldwide economic book began that lasted until 1966.
This is how I see the next 4-5 years. The easy money policies of 2008-2015 will soon end. Right now, the fear is deflation, and central banks want to inflate world economies. I think they will success in accomplishing this in the next two years, faster than they (or anyone) expects. They will not see it coming until it is well underway. In fact, they have already accomplished major inflation of assets as seen by the stock markets of the world racing to new all-time or multi-year highs, while currency values go down. That will likely reverse by the middle of this balsamic phase of Saturn and Pluto, which is just now getting underway.
I am optimistic about the future once we get to (and slightly past) the end of the Saturn-Pluto cycle, and the start of the next one, after January 2020. It is just getting there that has me a bit concerned.",-2014/

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Oh! Okay then! As the original flannel was made from wool rather than cotton, Wales would have a plentiful supply, as sheep-farming was one of Wales' specialities. Welsh lamb, for meat eaters was always considered "the best".

Carhartt - yes I've seen the website. I think we got anyjazz a hoodie jacket there one winter. Quality is good, but prices higher than average if I remember correctly.

Anyjazz does wear what I guess pass as flannel shirts in winter - but always plain, no checks, usually from Eddie Bauer.

I remember, long ago, that my grandmother, and my mother, both insisted on "flanelette" sheets and pillowcases during the winter months.
That was in the days before central heating, in the cold north-east of England. :-)

Twilight said...

mike (again) (re Raymond Merriman's article)~

Interesting! Thank you. Around 2020 will be when Uranus staggers out of wild and woolly Aries and into a more sedate Taurus too.