Thursday, June 16, 2005
Dress Sense
I've said before that I subscribe to Newsweek. Mostly I just do it to spite William F. Buckley and the goddamn US News and World Report commercials he used to do with Tom Selleck. If there's anything in the world I'm committed to, it's stopping the Buckley-Selleck coupling from conquering the world of wonkdom one person at a time until such a time as they feel strong enough to announce their real (and obvious) intention of total world dominance. Either that or a Magnum PI movie, I'm not 100% sure. Either way, insidious and evil and must-be-stopped. I have done my part. Can you say the same?

Anyways, in the short-attention-span section of Newsweek between the front cover and the actual stories where I find out (in 350 words or less!) everything I need to know about who died and what not to wear and just what that scamp Kim Jong-Il might be up to, they have his one-sheet section called "The Technologist". Usually it's this totally boring story about the next great thing in technology that either never, ever comes to be or is about three Next Great Things late (any week now they're totally going to catch on to this iPod thing). At the bottom of this page, though, is a colorful little info-blob that always catches my mynabird eye.

It's the section called "Blogwatch". I'm interested for obvious reasons. Every week they almost totally pimp my blog, they just can't seem to get the first word of the URL right. It's ways Some day it will happen, I just know it.

This week they came closest. They went out of their way to mention Go Fug Yourself. Hey, I've totally been there! Plus I read blogs that link to that one, so that's like two degrees of separation. That Kevin Bacon can suck it, I'm this much closer to world blog superstardom. It's like the time when that Hale-Bopp comet came really really close to earth, just near enough to see in all its splendor but too far to hitch a ride. I'm not really at the stage in my blog life where I'm ready for the black-Nikes-purple-shroud-cyanide-applesauce approach in the off chance that that might get me where I want to go. I'm just going to be happy in the knowledge that mainstream press acknowledgement is circling closer and closer to me specifically. And when it comes, look out. You think I'm an insufferable prick now...


OK. So I'm 31 years old now, which means I'm a little bit past the pop-culture curve. I think the last video I watched on MTV blink-182 was running through the streets of some city naked. The 18-25 demographic is something I've left thoroughly in the past by now. I'm finally reaching an age where I can drive by a high school, look at what everyone is wearing and say shit like "what the fuck is wrong with these kids?" I do that a lot, drive by high schools just as they're letting out, cruising reeeeeaaaallly slooooowly up and down the street, windows down, making loud but constructive critiques of the fashion sense of America's youth. I'd like to talk to one of them a little more in depth--preferably a young lady, because they seem so much more in tune with these sorts of things--so I might understand their influences and motivations behind the choices they make, but I haven't been able to talk one into my car yet. If I ever do, I'm sure the encounter will yield all kinds of invaluable sociological insight that I'll only be too happy to share with you all in graphic detail, complete with pictures. Tell your friends.

Here's a larger question I have, one a nubile young female high schooler in low-slung jeans and a midriff top wouldn't have the perspective to answer: isn't the Iron Cross a Nazi symbol?

I keep seeing them everywhere and I'm confused. I'm sure part of the problem is that I'm a huge dork and the association of iron crosses and Nazis comes from many hours playing Axis & Allies in sunless rooms in marathon sessions with other pasty virgins in the dark days before the existence of the History Channel.

Be that as it may, every time I see a belt buckle, a T-shirt, a nose-ring, anything with the iron-cross motif, I automatically wonder: am I morally obligated to punch this person in the face?

Here's a test. Let's see if I'm crazy. Look at every single thing on sale at this website.

Now look at this:
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Yes, I know, it's a simplistic design that could just as easily be some kind of stealth cool-kid acknowledgement of their hard-core Christianity (sorry, Xtianity) with a stylized cross, but come on. Compare again. Go ahead, I'll wait here.

See what I mean? Face-punching, right?

It's the same kind of culturally retarded non-fashion-sense that leads to disasters like this:
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It's not 100% clear, but that's a Confederate flag dress (thanks to Virtual Pus for bringing that to the attention of the world lo these many months ago). That girl didn't get punched in the face as far as I know, but she was barred from wearing that monstrosity to some damned school function or other.

I know not everyone gets that it is more than vaguely threatening to actively celebrate the ethnicity of the power-wielding majority. "But Pops, they celebrate black pride, Mexican pride, gay pride... what's wrong with showing some white pride?" Theoretically I guess nothing, but you just have to get the symbology right if you want to celebrate your lack of skin pigmentation. The Irish know this. They do it with leprechauns and green beer. Confederate battle flags, I think you'll agree Hypothetical Devil's Advocate Hillbilly, are--better or worse--a somewhat divisive reminder of a somewhat divisive historical period with some resultantly quite specific associations.

I would think that the same could be said for the iron cross, but apparenlty I'm wrong. I grant it's just possible that I'm completely out of touch. It's not just a California thing, is it? They're everywhere. I really really want to start punching faces, but I need your guys' help. If I'm going to violate my parole, I want to be sure I'm doing it for the right reasons.

In the mean time, I'm thinking of getting a tattoo finally. Something to counteract all my violent urges, something to symbolize peace and good fortune. Maybe something from really really ancient and meaningful from one of the eastern religions that nobody will really understand but me, which would make it all the more meaningful and even a conversation piece when I'm wearing my dragon muscle shirt.

I think I've finally gotten it narrowed down.
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What do you guys think? It's Hindu. Or Buddhist. I don't know, something. But it's totally original and not weighted down by any western cultural preconceptions. Juan at the tattoo parlor seems excited. He says he's got a "special needle" for jobs just like this one.

Wish me luck.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.1


PS- Tomorrow: the last fresh post for ONE WHOLE WEEK. Wake the kids, call the neighbors, set your TiVos. It's going to be one overhyped, disappointing pile of shit. I can hardly wait.


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