Hornswaggler | The culture, the humor, a bit of the sports, not so much the politics, and the workplace distraction

Hornswaggle is an alternate spelling of hornswoggle, an archaic word that means to bamboozle or hoodwink. I take my pronunciation from the late Harvey Korman in "Blazing Saddles" --

"I want rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, conmen, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers and Methodists!"

Culture, Humor, Sports
Workplace Distraction

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Fashion Police

I'm noticing more and more young men who are wearing the collars of their polo shirts up and at attention, a trend that was buried in the 1980's as being the stereotypical attire of the evil fraternity brothers from "Revenge of the Nerds."

The act of turning the collar up achieves a greater effect if a) the shirt is a light, pastel color, ideally pink or yellow and b) if the shirt in question is an actual Polo-brand polo shirt.

What kind of statement are these people trying to make? "I know that wearing a pink polo shirt with the collar up is associated with elitism, preppy entitlement, preening arrogance and effeminate vanity, yet I do it anyway, because ... "? I guess you could argue that these people should be applauded for their unself-consciousness, but I would counter that wearing the collar up is by its nature a self-conscious act, because of the attention it invariably draws to you. In my mind, it is undeniably an affectation.

If it weren't a fashion statement, then what would the purpose be? First of all, it looks stupid. Second, it serves no purpose. Never has the turning up of a polo collar led to an increase in body temperature on a chilly day. If I were on a hike in an equatorial country like Belize and I'd forgotten my sunscreen, and my neck was beginning to burn severely, and we were only half-way through our trek, such that I risked sun poisoning, perhaps then I would turn the collar up, as an emergency measure, but only then.

Two non-sequeter-ish points: 1) When girls wear their collars up, it doesn't have the same obnoxious effect, though it does look stupid.

2) If turning up the collar of a polo shirt is legitimate, then why not do the same with the oxford shirt?

Listen up, you idiots of Generation 911, or whatever the hell you are. Cut it out. You're embarassing the rest of us. Comprende, d@#*heads?

[UPDATE: In talking to a friend, I've decided that the most likely theory for why young guys are doing this, is that they're young enough not to have lived through the '80s. I.e., they know what "Revenge of the Nerds" is, but they haven't seen it. And seriously, why would they? It's a shitty movie (well, maybe it does have a few things to recommend it). Why go out of your way to locate a hard-to-find, not-so-great movie? (Although, Netflix baby. Netflix makes it so easy, so nice.) Really all you need to know about "Nerds" is what it is, what it signifies as a cultural signpost. Because like many phenomena, it's something whose only sustaining value is its representation of one of the features of a particular era. Then again, these kids obviously haven't absorbed the symbolic value of "Nerds" if they're wearing their collars up. Bottom line is, if you're 20 today, that means you might have two memories, if you're lucky, of the eighties, most of which you spent soiling your diapers. (Though, as VH1's intensely pleasurable "I love the '80s" and "I love the '90s" make abundantly clear, the '80s hangover lasted well into the '90s, probably expiring in '93.) These kids need to be Re-Neducated. In fact, I'm debating whether I'm just going to start walking up to people and interrogating them when I see a collar up, perhaps as part of a story on fashion trends.]

.: posted by hornswaggler 10:43 AM

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