Maybe the baggy pants aren't worth the hassle


Joanna pointed me to a kind of nifty clothing store online; I’m gonna get me some baggy pants and a snazzy tunic, and really wish I had the moxie to wear this suit, because, damn, that’s a snazzy suit.

But the thing is, it’s a clothing store for western Muslims. Which means their customer service page includes stuff like this:

[A]s Muslims living in the West, much as we would like to express our Islamic identity, we have to take into account the way our dress will be interpreted and received by those around us… There are serious issues of safety to consider, as well as more subtle points about how one’s dress will affect other people’s perception of Islam, Muslims, and oneself.

Which, yeah, they’re probably right. And I caught myself thinking things like “Well, I’ll buy the tunic, but I probably shouldn’t wear it into an airport, because that’ll just cause trouble and delays.”

And that’s pathetic. I miss all that crap they taught us in grade school, the melting pot and the land of the free and tolerance and civil rights and - basically - we’re supposed to be the good guys. Not the place where clothing needs safety warnings.

I’ve tried to cut politics out of my life. I stopped writing my congressman, stopped reading the newspaper or listening to the news or paying more than the vaguest attention even to the (incredible, laudable, important) work some of my friends are doing; I know I should do more, should try to help make the world more sane again — but it’s nothing but a source of impotent rage anymore, and I can’t live like that, so I try to shut it off. But it’s unavoidable; I still keep running across little things like this, that make me a little more sad and a little more disappointed and a little less idealistic.

Today it’s the clothing store. Yesterday it was the op-ed on NPR, the author of which was upset that history textbooks were paying too much attention to America in the context of the world at large. He felt they should focus more on “American exceptionalism” to instill a greater sense of nationalism and patriotism in our kids. That he apparently felt that actual comparison between America and other nations wouldn’t instill a sense of nationalism and patriotism, went unsaid. And this was on NPR. Liberal, tote-bag-carrying, blue-state NPR. All I wanted was to listen to the Car Talk guys chuckle at each other for a while.

Sigh. I told myself I wouldn’t talk politics on this site. This is why.