According to the season opener of “South Park,” which aired last month, political correctness is back with a vengeance. Its shelf life in the ’90s was about six years, says a character in the show, adding that we’ve got 5.9 more years to go before people start to chill out.
In the meantime, you can expect a boatload of harping on many of the things we celebrate here: such as wearing Top-Siders and Nantucket Reds while sailing the sea. Yesterday I tried explaining the Pitzer College yacht club story to a Japanese friend, and how the student government had deemed the word “yacht” offensive. “Huh?” she said. “Boat is boat.” Ah, if only it were that simple.
In an age of micoaggressions, triggering, and white privilege, when everything is being re-evaluated to see whether it’s up to current standards of sensitivity, I find myself pondering a very simple question: is trad clothing, as the kids on campus say these days, problematic?
On the one hand, Bernie Sanders wears blue buttondowns, and so does Rand Paul. Trad clothing is politically neutral, isn’t it?
Perhaps, but it’s not simply a matter of left and right anymore, is it? Political correctness is concerned with much more than mere politics of the red state/blue state variety. Trad clothing is loaded with all sorts of connotations about class and other messy stuff that fills the editorial pages and fuels campus protests. Ivy may be neither inherently liberal or conservative, but it still developed largely via the tastes and values of well-off white Protestant guys and those who hung out with them. In wearing it, you’re basically saying you’re cool with that, and is it still OK to be cool with that?
You get to cast your big vote next November. In the meantime, please mark your choice in this little poll:
In closing, I’d like to point out that in Ivy Style’s lifetime we’ve given equal attention to JFK, a Democrat, and George HW Bush, a Republican. We’ve also featured Hugh Hefner and William F. Buckley, Jr. We’ve regularly honored Black History Month, helped bring awareness to the contributions Jewish clothiers made in helping codify WASP taste, and showcased Japanese takes on Ivy and trad. We’ve even been so broad-minded as to include English working-class expressions of the Ivy League Look.
Columbus Day and the upcoming weekend’s Head Of The Charles form the perfect bracket for a PC Week. If you have something to get off your chest, you may query the editor.
Stay tuned, mind your manners, check your privilege, and shine your shoes. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD