Thursday, August 11, 2005

Just The Way You Look Tonight.

In today's Morning File (MF), Peter Leo affirmed his role as the PG's resident cynic with the topic of inconsiderate neighbors. NeighborsFromHell.com, Leo offers, gives advice, voice and support to an entire sub-group of Americans suffering from their close proximity to the likes of Junker the Iron Maiden Roadie or Judge David Wecht. Addressing the existential question of wicked neighbors, the site ventures into the historical, social and philosophical raison d'etre of the Jerkus Inconsideratae. It blames close proximity of housing in an urban society, no-so-soundproof Ryan Homes, the steady decline of respectibility in our culture, and the strong presence of jerks in pop-culture.

Sitting in Mardi-Gras, the smartest saloon (or salon... 'ching) in Shadyside, The Capitol Man decried the decline in men's fashion. The Spirit gushing forth from the depths of his whisky sour, Brad ardently prayed for the resurrection of the sharp-dressed man in a 3 piece suit. Describing Frank Sinatra's crisp lapels with the passion of an envious Queen gawking at the feathers and frills of a mummers parade, Bradley defended his right to play dress up. As a proud wearer of unfashionable hats, I know the feeling well.

Beyond the sharp appearances of the bygone 1940's, I think what Brad, Leo, and myself truly wax nostalgic for is a sense of respect and responsibility. When a clutch of girls from Northwestern showed their toes to the President, people reaffirmed their mental connection between respect and dress with an outpouring of indignation. Pinstripes and Fedoras, theoretically, were expensive ways to show someone you think they matter. The Jerk, whose life-purpose extends little beyond selling gas, eating and shitting, thinks nothing of spending an afternoon on the front lawn drinking malt liquor in his smiley-face boxers. As if to accentuate his presence, the radio blares Thag-Death's latest record, "F**k her in the Eye Socket." Unfortunately for those of us wishing to transform our shitty culture via a crisp button-down and a little mellow Jazz, our mission will fail. The inward self bubbles forth in the outward apparel, and we are a casual culture: Casual in dress, relationships, responsibility and in respect towards eachother.

In short: You can dress the Jerk up, but you can't take him out.

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