I can't wait until I am a grouchy old man. I want to sit on my front porch, grizzled and world weary, shaking my fist at the whipper snappers that stray across my lawn or drive by too quickly. I could also write bitter screeds against denim like George Will.
Long ago, when James Dean and Marlon Brando wore it, denim was, Akst says, "a symbol of youthful defiance." Today, Silicon Valley billionaires are rebels without causes beyond poses, wearing jeans when introducing new products. Akst's summa contra denim is grand as far as it goes, but it only scratches the surface of this blight on Americans' surfaces. Denim is the infantile uniform of a nation in which entertainment frequently features childlike adults ("Seinfeld," "Two and a Half Men") and cartoons for adults ("King of the Hill"). Seventy-five percent of American "gamers" -- people who play video games -- are older than 18 and nevertheless are allowed to vote. In their undifferentiated dress, children and their childish parents become undifferentiated audiences for juvenilized movies (the six -- so far -- "Batman" adventures and "Indiana Jones and the Credit-Default Swaps," coming soon to a cineplex near you). Denim is the clerical vestment for the priesthood of all believers in democracy's catechism of leveling -- thou shalt not dress better than society's most slovenly. To do so would be to commit the sin of lookism -- of believing that appearance matters. That heresy leads to denying the universal appropriateness of everything, and then to the elitist assertion that there is good and bad taste.You know, I read something like this, shake my head, read it again, and think, "Really?" All of the things in our country that he could make valid complaints about and he goes off on people who wear jeans (not to mention people who play video games or enjoy action/adventure movies). How does someone like this get a column? How does someone write this and then other people read it, nod sagely, and say, "By gum, that George fella's right! If only people didn't wear jeans, then we wouldn't have hunger, poverty, disease, or death! Let's have a Jeans Party and throw all of the denim we can find into the sea! Death to Denim!"
I can see the angry mobs now, torches and pitchforks in hand, chasing down the rogues who refuse to give up their favorite denim attire. "Give me denim or give me death!" they cry. The mob, George Will, at the head chants "Death!" in unison while Will charges forth and skewers the poor bastard. Then, with a sharp tug, he pulls his pitchfork out of the corpse. Neatly adjusting his bow tie, he smoothes out his smartly pressed pants, and begins scanning his surroundings, looking for his next denim-clad target.
This sort of rant has been going on since the dawn of time. I'm sure that back in the mythical Cave Days, some dumb bastard ranted about "Kids these days and their damn wheels!" or "The sun isn't good enough for you, eh? You have to make your own little fire? Well, when I was a strapping young lad..." Blah. Blah. Blah. For all of you in older generations who just can't stand what the next generations are doing, well, tough. You had your time. The only constant is change whether you like it or not.
And, really, if this is the only thing you can get worked up over, either the world has become a utopia or you just aren't thinking clearly.