This morning as I watched a report on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Pentagon Papers and all the associated nefarious political antics of 1972, I wondered what was the overall driving force behind so many accomplished white men going off the deep end — breaking a long list of federal crimes, including the kidnapping of your own wife? *** They had to know that they couldn’t get away with so many examples of stupid behavior but, they did it anyway! Why?
As I watched the videos of the actual events it dawned on me, the light went on —-
A plague of obnoxious men’s fashion had been sweeping the country for several years reaching its pinnacle just before the ’72 elections. So-called business suits with lapels about a foot wide — neck-ties just as wide, white belts, white shoes.
These were the darkest days for men’s fashion since the Nehru jacket. We were coerced by the media — yes, I blame the media with their constant barrage of ostensibly “hip” fashion tips and endless commercials. The wives fell prey to the media and constantly badgered their spouse urging us to dress stylishly. I remember explicitly being badgered/coerced by my spouse.
John Travolta has to share some of the blame . Myself, and the men I knew then, secretly wanted to know how to “Disco” in our bell-bottomed corduroys.
But, in real life, we, the men, looked like clowns in the corduroy flaired\bell bottom pants, white belt, white shoes and gaudy floral print shirts, with exposed chest hair (if you had any), topped off by the gold necklace, and, we most certainly couldn’t dance.
A good friend of mine, John R., succumbed to the trend by paying money for a baby blue leisure suit.
As embarrassing as it is, I admit to participating, albeit briefly, in the clown show.
The cumulative effect, nationally, of this assault on men’s personal appearance created a nation-wide crisis of low self-esteem, especially among white males, which precipitated an avalanche of poor judgment and reckless behavior.
“The apparel oft proclaims the man.” (Shakespeare, Hamlet 1, 3)
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