Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Matters of style...
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Matters of style 4/11/11

Robert Downes - April 11th, 2011
Matters of Style
Someone once said that “style is a form of limitation.” By this, I
take it to mean that Lady Gaga probably wouldn’t do well on a
camping trip in her raw meat dress or one of her spacegirl suits
because her “style” has placed limits on what she can do in a
practical sense - like canoeing or pitching a tent.
Similarly, the goth duo of Kynt Cothron and Vyxsin Fiala featured on
this season’s Amazing Race made for great TV. But in practical terms,
they were given second chances and unfair opportunities to catch up
over and over again because they’ve opted for a dumb & dumberer
lifestyle that works well in the tightly confined, suburban cocoon of
the “goth” world, but doesn’t take you very far in the real one.
Most of us probably don’t think much about our sense of style. We
hammered out our fashion sense during our late teens-early 20s and
stuck with it, tweaking our hair or clothing as we grew up (another
term for “got more boring”).
Yet style is a force that makes the world spin round, and this being our
annual Spring Style issue, we’re here to pay tribute.
Style matters. When there’s a drop-off in retail, the bad news sends
the stock market plummeting and people lose their jobs -- not just here
but all around the world. On the other hand, a gritty new underdog
style is helping to lift Chrysler -- and hopefully Detroit -- out of
its doldrums. The payoff is more jobs.
Style fills the 400-800 pages of Vogue each month with whimsical
outfits that few women seem to wear outside of teenage proms. But the
prom dress industry rakes in more than $1 billion per year, selling
frocks ranging from $150 to $3,000.
One‘s personal style can lead to stereotyping: If you see a guy in
leathers with a bandanna doo-rag tied around his head at a rock bar,
you might imagine that he’s into metal and has the Best of Iron Maiden
on his iPod. Meanwhile, the guy with the “Life is Good” t-shirt was
probably dressed by his girlfriend and digs the jam-band scene. But
experience shows that neither may be the case... Maybe they‘re both
rocket scientists and classical pianists.
On the other hand, style has been called “the dress of thoughts”
because we use it to make statements about who we are. A person with
lots of tattoos and piercings seems to be saying, “I’ve given up on
trying to establish a career in an office or as a professional, but I
can still ‘be somebody’ by drawing lots of edgy designs on myself.”
When I see a man tricked out in full biker regalia with all of the
skulls, chains and demon iconography, I don’t see a tough guy; I see:
a.) a fun-loving guy who‘s playing dress-up, like a kid playing pirate;
or b.) a deeply frightened individual who is wearing a fetish outfit in
hopes of keeping what he perceives to be a scary world at bay. A person
who needs to belong to a gang to feel safe.
Yet even innocuous styles can be controversial. A New York Times
article, “Why Can‘t Middle Aged Women Have Long Hair?“ lit up the blogs
last fall by calling attention to what women say about the sensual side
of themselves when they opt for short hair cuts in middle age. Movie
stars and models almost universally opt for shoulder length hair or
You can’t hide your style. Here in Northern Michigan, we can spot a
tourist walking down the street by subtle cues: the pastel shorts, the
too-nice shirt, the new sneakers.
On the other hand, not having any style at all is a style unto itself
and can be a form of camouflage. The “glass of water“ style. Why is it
that John Hinckley types and captured serial killers often look like
clean-cut choirboys in the Dexter mode? Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo
gained entry to his victims’ homes by looking like a regular ‘nice’ guy.
Speaking of camouflage, some of the meanest men I ever met affected a
preppy, well-groomed style that concealed a hatred for women. They
were highly attractive individuals in the Ken doll mode who’d be the
‘first choice’ in any eHarmony dating lineup until their unfortunate
partners got to know them beyond the depths of skin deep.
Personally, I wear my hair long even though it tends to look like hell.
I grew it to honor my sister who died young in order to make a “Locks
of Love” contribution. Then I had some fanciful idea of being in the
same hair club as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Lately, I
keep it long because my wife likes it that way and because I enjoy
getting a haircut about as much as a cat likes a cold bath.
Other guys like to shave their heads. Great. Vive la difference, sez
I. If everyone looked like a hippie, a skinhead or a Ken or Barbie
doll, we’d have the makings of fascism. Variations in style remind us
that it’s ‘good to be different’ and to be respectful of others.
So, study our Spring Styles insert and indulge yourself. Go out and buy
yourself a new outfit, hairdo or tattoo. You deserve it, and you’ll be
doing the heroic work of keeping our economy afloat.

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