Thursday, February 9, 2012

Miscellaneous Musings, Thursday, February 9, 2012

English: Man and woman in formal wearImage via Wikipedia
A quote from a column in the latest New Oxford Review by Frederick W. Marks, TheRush to Radical Informality.  Marks points out the connection between some of the worst of today’s cultural deviations, including, even, the break up of the family to this incessant wearing of jeans and t-shirts, no matter how inappropriate.   You might also include the case of the Missouri teenage girl who killed a 9 year old, “just to see what it felt like.”    Marks writes:

“In the final analysis, radical informality, intended or not, is an assault on form, and by “form” I refer not only to the kind of structure that governs a Shakes­pearean sonnet or a Haydn quartet, but to anything that sets limits. The censorship that shaped the classics and fostered the golden age of film (1937-1957), the glorious symmetry that we associate with Mother Nature — all of this is form and, clearly, it is something to be treasured.

Proper dress is not a matter of appearing “better” than another. There is such a thing as false humility. Was it not the insidious Uriah Heap, in Dickens’s David Cop­per­field, who claimed to be “an ’umble man”? But when one has to decide between casual and formal wear, whether it be sneakers vs. dress shoes at work or jeans and a T-shirt vs. a coat and tie at church, the choice is important. We are combatants in a culture war, and externals count in the battle for men’s minds.”
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