The Reign Or Ruin Of The Blue Jeans??

What are blue jeans doing in the old royal courts of Europe…? Glad you asked!

Films like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and the countless tales of the elegant-speaking Elizabethan and Victorian eras are attended today by droves of blue-jeaned popcorn-munchers who couldn’t tell you the difference between a split infinitive and banana split. What’s more they don’t care. You see, for most of them (us?) watching the sophisticated form and formality on the screen is like visiting an art museum. Nice to look at….not to look like.

There once was form and formality in 20th C America too. Dad always dressed in three-piece suits; gave his seat to a lady; and in age of properly starched white shirts, his idea of casual was the white shirt without a tie. But not so much after the 1960s. In that raucous re-energizing decade, America started to become something different. Youth challenged Age. Change challenged continuity. The chant was: “You can’t trust anyone over 30.”

Nothing wrong with relaxing the rules. The question now 50 years later is, what are the rules? Or are there many rules left?

The answer that roars back from the rock-concert, buddy-film, pot-smoking, motor-cycle legions echoes the 60’s: “If it feels right, how can it be wrong?” A question — actually a challenge — few today are willing to take on, lest they be dismissed as silly anachronisms.

Speaking as a walking anachronism, I can accept being dismissed. What I wonder, though, is why casual grungy America remains so fascinated with Elizabethan/ Victorian form and formality. When you look back you can’t help noticing how those sterner & staid worlds, even with all their faults, helped make possible our own amazing & aspiring world. Could that mean….? No, no, that’s a silly thought…! But still…?

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  • "couldn't tell you the difference between a split infinitive and banana split. What's more they don't care." ..... Yes that is it in a nutshell Jack .... all for want of education and 'rearing' ....

    I think that if society idolized our scientists and academics more than professional athletes and movie stars watched while popcorn munching … then education standards might see improvement... a country that pays its professional sports figures and entertainment/media ‘personalities’ millions and often sees their drug & sex scandals and yet still gives them and their like press & credence is certainly headed down the wrong track. Should children be taught enmasse to worship ‘heroes’ who earn millions and contribute naught but amusement to society while enjoying a bacchanalian lifestyle.

    If homemakers, caregivers, educators, scientists and mathematicians earned better wages and hence enjoyed a more abundant lifestyle then perhaps children would use them as positive role models and heroes rather than the ‘Duh’ sports professionals or the self-promoting ‘media stars’ ...

    There are intelligent, educated and thoughtful/compassionate people in all walks of life and hundreds of occupations who work everyday to make a living and in the course of that work improve peoples lives … it seems to millions of youth/children that those peoples years of hard work do not necessarily pay off as ‘working’ people are seldom given a nod by the media as relevant compared to professional athletes and media ‘stars’ ….

    We unfortunately are in a time when illiterates who cannot put a sentence together properly but have athletic dexterity or are ‘eye’ candy, are lauded with daily news coverage and are “idolized” ….. and what is worse, they are paid disproportionately huge sums compared to those who perform real work …. They are the ‘heroes’ that so many children have presented to them ... the results cannot but be foretold …

    What hope is there for the future of such societies?

  • In reply to Geezer:

    Well said...! Many of the ChicagoNow readers & bloggers may be too young and/or too much in-the-flow to hear what you're grieving. But I do. Taught for 40 years and there's little doubt that we are now seeing a smarter-dumber generation. Smarter in knowledge...dumber I'm afraid in values. Well, at least that's two opinions!

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