Thursday, April 16, 2009

George Will Puts Down Brandy Snifter, Pens Stern Condemnation of Populist Cotton Weave

Photo: random tourist desecrates Fred Astaire's memory.

Like Phil the groundhog on a decades-long cycle, George Will popped his head out of his hole, looked around, and noticed that all these people –young and old alike!– were wearing some kind of inelegant blue cotton fabric. He asked around and found that it was called "Denim." And then he decided to do something about it. So he wrote a column. About the blue jeans. And then we all took a hard look at ourselves. Ha, ha, just kidding about that last part.

It is astounding that this column was written in 2009 and not, say, 1959. Even in 1969 Will's diatribe would have sounded embarrassing and dated.*

But anyway, all the denim: it's really only appropriate for children and laborers, so stop wearing it, because it is a blight upon our land.

His prescription:

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.

Really? George?

Hey, you're not going to get me to disagree that most people dress like slobs, but there's something... something about this column that says something about conservatives and elitism, but I just can't put my finger on it.

So anyway, if you notice a lot more people than usual in top hats and white ties today, you'll know that George Will has Made a Difference™.

*My theory: the column actually was written in 1969 and rejected by Will's then editor. On deadline and unwilling to write about teabagging, he simply brushed it off, updated the cultural references ("Ed Norton" became "Jerry Seinfeld," "Skeeball" became "video games," etc.), and was good to go.

EDIT: I decided that today is Levi's 'n' bow tie day in honor of George Will.


FranIAm said...

Ok, ok... Then it wasn't me waking up from a dream.

This explains my neighbors, all done up in she in a gown and heels, bow-tie, hat and tails, dancing their way down my sleepy suburban street with their dog(an afghan no less!) a short while ago.

I always thought they were Republicans. What a curious way for me to gain confirmation of this!

BTW, the dog is very graceful, with its long coat swaying along with the music. Lovely really. Thanks George!

Lulu Maude said...

Will must have done some demographics on his audience. The younger whippersnappers would have to Google Fred n' Grace.

Definitely a denim day.

Anonymous said...

Oooh! Show us the picture princess!
Lulu Maude is right. Grace Who???


Genevieve said...

Sigh. The fact that this is the one day of the week I *can't* wear jeans has become even more depressing. I'd hate for George Will to think I was wearing a suit because He Made A Difference.

justlovely said...

Here's an idea. Have some women dress as Fred and some guys dress as Grace (I'm thinking that delicious number from the seduction scene in To Catch a Thief) and have them parade up and down in front of his office window. Then wait for his next column.

Matty Boy said...

I haven't read George Will in ages. It's comforting to see that some things never change.

I also loved the little side bar at the bottom of the piece that let you click on links that would explain some of his arcane references, like Edmund Burke and Indiana Jones. So thoughtful!

Note: I wear jeans in public on a very regular basis. I switched to khakis for a while, but I switched back. For me, poverty is not an affectation, though I don't live in extreme poverty. I'm sorry that it offends the Princess but thrilled that it annoys George Will.

Osgon said...

I'm sorry, but when did pleated Dockers become more apropos than a perfectly proportioned pair of Lucky jeans?

Pooh on George.

puravida said...

Years ago, National Lampoon, uh, lampooned him as George Fwill. Since then I've always lovingly thought of him that way although I'm sure he'd take umbrage at his new name ("I'm George F. Will, goshdarnit!")

Me, I'll be wearing a puffy shirt and playing donkeykong today.

dguzman said...

And this guy is STILL getting paid to write?

samael7 said...

Jeans are as American as apple pie! From the cowboy on a horse, to the fieldworkers on the farm. Why does George Will hate America?P.S. He probably wanted to write this in 2001, but couldn't because of our faux-Cowboy-in-Chief. So he dragged it out now.

Anonymous said...

Corbis nicely obliges with a picture of Grace Kelly in jeans:
HereWhatever am I to think now?

Cynica said...

George and I truly don't agree on anything. For me, it's don't wear anything Audrey Hepburn wouldn't wear. (This does not include capri pants, which IMHO do not look good on any adult other than Ms Hepburn.)

Anonymous said...

Ah, but Fwill does sneak in an exceedingly oblique reference to teabagging, that makes the Fred and Grace reference look practically contemporary:
"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.'"

Edmund Burke was an 18th century British MoP, father of modern conservatism, against the tax on tea in the colonies, for the American Revolution, and against the French Revolution.

And while he was also apparently a political fashion critic too, I can't imagine that a pudgy, pasty Irishman in a powdered wig and smelly, tight-fitting wool struck a particularly lovely image.

Anonymous said...

Denim is a sturdy fabric that survives many wearings and washings. It's not wise to wear "nice" clothes running everyday errands. I grew up on a farm, and the minute we got home from school or town, Mom said, "Get out of your good clothes right away."

Anonymous said...

Does this mean I have to wear a bandanna and dance with a coat rack?

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

LOVE the photo of Grace Kelly in jeans. And there I was, foolishly Googling Astaire this morning.

g said...

Well, one wonders what's next from George. A column denouncing the wearing of velour color-matched track-suits by elderly women? Or decrying grandmas wearing Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts when visiting their grandkids? They should wear day-dresses and oxford shoes and little pancake hats with veils instead, as proper old ladies in Tweetie Bird and Sylvester cartoons. And gloves, don't forget the gloves. You oldsters should know your place.

Now, if Will wants to write a column criticizing overweight 30ish men who wear tank tops, baggy basketball shorts (and no underwear!) and shower shoes at Costco, I'd forgive him.

Correct me if I'm not remembering properly - he IS a serious political columnist, is he not?

desertwind said...

I DEMAND to have that shirt Grace is wearing in the Corbis shot RIGHT NOW.

I'm going to sit here holding my breath until it materializes before me.

PS - Fwill! Perfect.

Anonymous said...

If Grace can shimmy up a drainpipe in a wasp-waisted Christian Dior gown, so can we!

Bartman said...

"...the minute we got home from school or town, Mom said, "Get out of your good clothes right away."

Oh, Mama!

Fabulana said...

Andy Rooney, watch your back!

BlueGirl said...

Grace Kelly also wore jeans in the last scene of "Rear Window." She wore them very elegantly, of course.