Conservatively dressed columnist, George Will wrote a column last week stating that our love for denim clothes is "symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche." Will was responding to an article by Daniel Akst who wrote that denim is "insidiously effective at undermining national discipline." Will's lauding adulation over Akst was like that of a giggling bobby-soxer drooling on a photo of James Dean in tight jeans (I use that analogy as one that could be understood by a man of Will's age - which, I believe, is Pleistocene.)
I would like to have a few minutes with Mr. Will to ponder the troubles in the world; I mean the really bad troubles in the world. Let's start with the financial crisis. We don't even have to be partisan about this. Let's say it started with Reagan and deregulation or Clinton and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac or George Bush or Wall Street or Goldman Sachs. The one thing all those people have in common is that, when they gunned down the world economy, they were wearing suits of fine silk or wool.
Oh, when George Bush was off cutting brush for six weeks at a time and leaving the country unattended, his crime of neglect was committed in denim. But in D.C., he and the remaining architects of doom: Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and the other henchmen, were clad in ties and jackets when they launched the shock and awe inspiring destruction of our reputation and our moral values - oh, and people's lives - through a mismanaged war, a policy of torture and the deconstruction of personal freedoms and the Constitution.
Perhaps George Will's tongue was in the vicinity of his cheek when he wrote that column, but he absolutely has missed the real joke, the dark humor in his words. He quotes Akst's statement that "Denim reflects 'our most nostalgic and destructive agrarian longings -- the ones that prompted all those exurban McMansions now sliding off their manicured lawns and into foreclosure.'" They look at the financial meltdown and see the source of it as people wearing jeans and wanting to own houses. Not the slick, sartorial slimeballs who ran the financial scams - it's the common people who are the problem.
Will calls on us to put away childish things, starting with denim. I think it is Will who has deep disorders in his psyche and should be put away.