Declaration Of Independence

Unless you’re one of those blessed souls who can tune out the contemporary world and live for higher things like the contemplation of the universe and the late quartets of Beethoven, you probably noticed that our colorful new president has taken office amid a cacophony of cheers and jeers.

It made for a lively weekend in the news, as well as Ivy Style’s comments section and Facebook group. It also got me thinking that if we thought the campaign was polarizing, we ain’t seen nothing yet. We’re 48 hours into an administration with a radically different vision from the one before it, and we are seeing the dawn of what will no doubt be ceaseless demonstrations and calls for resistance. America is said to be more split than at any time since the Civil War, and I fear that a new Civil War is beginning. The cold one that used to be called the culture wars is about to blaze into an inferno of red heat versus blue flame.

I fear that people who’ve been able to tolerate opposing views from family members, friends, and coworkers are going to start drawing lines in the sand. Tolerance will no longer be tolerated, and people will declare a state of war with everyone around them, tearing families, friendships, and business alliances apart. I also fear that when faced with someone whose position is unknown, we will demand that he reveal his true colors, red or blue, left or right, friend or foe. You’re either with me or against me, pal, there’s no middle ground.

And so I’d like to take this moment to tell you what to expect for the next four years at Ivy Style by reminding you of the past eight, as the site was founded a month before the 2008 election.

From my e-pulpit I’d like to declare Ivy Style’s independence.

As editor-in-chief, I will continue to play the role of Switzerland. Which means the site will continue to pay equal tribute to both JFK and GHWB, and our columnists and contributors will not be asked to reveal whether they’re a red tie or a blue tie when they submit a story, nor will they be required to display one next to their byline as a means of identification.

I’m repelled by the idea of being brought before a regime and forced to swear my allegiance or face a firing squad. But I’m also repulsed by the thought of having armed revolutionaries break down my door and execute me if I don’t join the resistance. Ivy Style’s neutrality and willingness to publish contributions and comments regardless of what the author believes ultimately stems from my obligation to you, the reader. There are many of you, spread across the entire spectrum, and I don’t presume to tell you what to think, nor to cater to one side at the expense of the other.

As for you, you remain free to express yourselves within a pretty darn lenient comment policy. There are currently some 25,000 comments on this website, and the number I’ve had to delete for crossing the line of decency is pretty small. As we sink deeper into this era of extreme polarization, keep on speaking your mind and taking discussion threads where you wish. But I’d ask of you a couple of things. Remember that free speech means others may tell you to shut the F up. I’d also like to encourage you to try and hold yourself to a high standard when debating, even when your blood is boiling, and tell your brethren to shut the F up in a civilized manner.

The Ivy Style club tie is finished, and it was designed to celebrate a range of stories about the history of the Ivy League Look. Without sounding treacly, I wanted the motif to be a uniter and not a divider.

Today’s heated exchanges got me thinking about a theme for our next tie, and I came up with a concept that would pay tribute to the Ivy Style comments section at this particular moment in our nation’s history. The working title is the Civilized Discourse tie. I look forward to sharing it, and to continuing to play the role of moderator of your intelligent debate. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

77 Comments on "Declaration Of Independence"

  1. Nicely stated good Sir.

  2. The Man Who Was Thursday | January 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm |

    Hear, hear. A voice of reason amidst a sea of squabbling partisanship.

  3. To a man of any scope of imagination the most far reaching power is a command of ideas. Oliver Weldon Holmes.- the path of the Law 1892. CC I think you agreed. Thank you for acknowledging that you will allow the free expression of opinion by your many members on your blog.

  4. On a style-related note, Steven Colbert declared a new fashion trend inspired by our colorful new president, namely: wearing one’s tie all the down to one’s crotch. What is the Ivy League take on tie length?

  5. Mark Russell | January 22, 2017 at 5:52 pm |

    Hear, hear.

    My decades old group of golfing buddies is about evenly divided politically and has long held to the standard of civilized discourse. We can vehemently disagree with each other but it never affects our friendships.

    May it ever be so here at Ivy Style.

  6. Let us know if things change this season!

  7. Mark Russell | January 22, 2017 at 6:12 pm |

    Will do.

  8. The Man Who Was Thursday | January 22, 2017 at 6:13 pm |

    @Mark Russell
    Nice one. I also tread the waters of political extremes very comfortably with good, true, friends.

  9. Hear, hear. Looking forward to see the civilized discourse tie!

  10. I’m sorry, all I heard was “new tie.”

    Eagerly waiting.

  11. Remind me in which of the Lincoln-Douglas it was that the Great Emancipator told his opponent to ‘shut the F up’.

  12. Well said. Thank you.

  13. Long live Ivy-Style!

    Chipp should bring back a tie they used to make – it had an elephant and a donkey, both standing upright and wearing boxing gloves and shorts, about to let the punches fly. Maybe it could be updated to have more of a mixed martial arts look.

  14. Not sure it’s about donkeys and elephants any more. The protest photos of the 1960s were predominately men. Today’s images are of predominately women protesting. After the Washington march, over 500 women attended a session on how to run for office—and they were all wearing pink hats. I guess you could say, “thank-you-Jesus” Ivy Style likes pink. You are bringing out a pink ‘civil discourse’ tie, aren’t you?

  15. You certainly are lenient with the comments, I’ve seen past comments of people insulting you horribly.

  16. If anything, these should be days of unity and comradeship.

    There’s nothing like a common enemy to bond people.

    Or a clown we can all laugh at together.

    OK, it’s pretty broad comedy.

    Makes Mr Bean look subtly nuanced.

    But at least the whole world’s laughing, eh?

  17. Well executed CC!
    Is this PC to say?
    Looking forward to checking out the new tie.

  18. I do believe the USA is heading towards a new Civil War. I’m trying to be one of those individuals you describe who is trying to tune out the world of today. Being older helps, what with most of my life behind me. Years ago, no one could imagine the depths the country, (and world) has sunk.

    I fear the young people have inherited a horrible world. I wish President Trump the best, but I doubt he will be able to accomplish anything.

    Clothing worn by the majority of our citizens illustrates the depths of despair the USA and the world have sunk.

  19. Take heart, lads. We had the same thing over here in England a while back.

    We laughed so hard they left.

    “The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you’re someone. You hear them shouting “Heil, Spode!” and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: “Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?”

    They hate laughter. It’s like bug spray.

  20. This is exactly what I’m talking about. You’re trying to go through everyday life and now you have to identify what side you’re on in the new Civil War.

    Like you sit down on a plane and the person you’re stuck with in the next seat grills you on which side of the dividing line you’re on:

  21. The best way to overcome division is empathy.

    It’s how social wounds heal.

    So, whichever side you are on in the debate…

    Do you believe in an open mind?

    Then give me three minutes of your time. And do this.

    Imagine you are on the other side of the debate.

    Imagine you always have been.

    It’s just how you were raised by your family who you love.

    Now read that article again. Every word.

    Then read the comments below that article.

    One by one. All of them. Every word.

    See how it feels.

    Remember that feeling.

  22. Christian, we all know how much you abhor the word “aesthetic.” Such as it is. I won’t evangelize on its behalf. But oh how useful it is these days.

    What I’m finding among neighbors, colleagues, and friends is that, in fact, they know little if anything about policy proposals and the political philosophies. What’s grabbed their attention is a certain sort of ugliness. Not just overdone hair and too much makeup and an overload of high fashion. I speak of the spoken word. Words have a certain aesthetic quality. Certainly sentences and paragraphs do, thus speech. One recalls the Greco-Roman appreciation of rhetoric as art–of beauty. Or, sadly, in the modern context, the lack thereof.

    The old liberal GOP establishment was as much about good form as political philosophy. (this may be the most offensive fact of all to the “it’s beliefs that matter!” crowd). That patrician establishment, says Kabaservice, is mostly gone, except where it isn’t. John Warner endorsed Hillary Clinton and Lincoln Chafee became a Democrat.

    These days, politics is an ugly, nasty game. The Senate floor ensembles–suits, ties, shirts–are beyond repulsive. The speeches lack all versions and varieties of good form.

    We are, I say to you, on the downward slope. Best to try for elegance in all arenas of life. Nothing’s more winning.

  23. You actually invoked the term “aesthetic” in its proper context, with references to Greco-Roman culture.

    I also abhor the use of the word “decadent” to mean desserts that are high in fat. And of course “reactionary” for reactive.

  24. Carmelo Pugliatti | January 23, 2017 at 9:39 am |

    As Italian i can said only a thing: God bless America.
    That the United States can return as they were few decades ago,the paradise of middle class.
    That the dictature of politically correct can be broken,that good American merchandise can be product in America from American workers with good wages.
    That the crookedness of globalization may be correct.

  25. …Passengers clapped and cheered when a woman was taken off an airplane after angrily berating a Trump supporter…

    …Footage shared online Saturday shows the woman telling a flight attendant she would like the man next to her to change seats, before telling the man: ‘You pretend you have the moral high ground but you put that man’s finger on the nuclear button.’…

    …The woman tries to say that she will be quiet and that she is traveling to Seattle with her husband because his mother died – to no avail…

    …Another video shows the woman being escorted off the plane by a police officer as passengers rejoice…

    …’I’m going home now. My mother-in-law – his mother died,’ the woman says, pointing to her husband…

    …Other passengers can be heard clapping and cheering, with one of them chanting: ‘USA!’ …

    …Disgusting, hateful woman… [uprated 12 times]

    …LOL Best news to start out the week LOL Leftist!!.. [Uprated 10 times]

    …There is no civility among liberals in any degree. Pathetic… [uprated 32 times]

  26. America. Don’t do this. Please.

  27. You skipped the part where she grilled the man about whether he was in DC for support or protest. That’s why lines like “You pretend to have the moral high ground” will always be taken ironically by the opposing side.

  28. Not you. Not this. Please.

  29. …Don’t all liberals have the Hep-C look?..

    …Can’t imagine any normal male dating. having a relationship with, or marrying one of these. Feminism and insanity are getting closer together. Feminism is dead!…

    …I sympathize with peoples frustrations, but taking it out on Trump supporters is not the way to go. Show some restraint…

    …Her poor husband…

  30. Don’t. Please.

  31. The Daily Mail is the most far right paper we have in England.

    They supported Mussolini with the headline “hurrah for the blackshirts”.

    …Disgusting old progressive hag. This country is sick to death of these unhinged bullies.

    ….Hypocritical leftists… all about “tolerance” and “peace” … as long as everyone else does exactly what they want! Thank God, seriously, that the incitements of hate without consequences of the last 4 years is coming to an abrupt halt!

    …She’s never known the touch of a man.

  32. I would DIE if that was me…online for my grandkids to see…how humiliating and its online for freaking FOREVER. Haha! serves her right.

  33. Where’s the surprise? Just another nasty liberal Democrat spewing their anger and hostility when someone doesn’t agree with them. Intolerant bunch really.

  34. ..I love stories with happy endings!

  35. Please don’t America.

  36. Shut the f up Christian.


  37. I didn’t know the Daily Mail was far right.

  38. “What is the Ivy League take on tie length?” I think we can all agree, regardless of our politics, that a tie that hangs down well below the belt is an abomination. Yes, we’ve probably all done it at one time or another, when in a hurry. But to do it every day….

  39. I’ll leave it.

    I’ll tell you why I love America, and then I’ll leave it.

    My grandfather was a conscientious objector. After the war, no one wanted to know him.

    He was a journalist before the war, a farm labourer after. When he could get work.

    He met my grandmother because she was a Quaker, and they were the only people who didn’t turn him away.

    They had no money.

    But she worked with Gypsy children. For free.

    She would go into Gypsy camps alone, and befriend them.

    Then teach their children.

    No one did that back then. It was unheard of.

    No one.

    Only her.

    And she spoke fondly of America.

    So I learned to love America. From her.

  40. Watching US from Europe I find it hard to believe that Americans can be divided when it comes to Trump and sartorial matters. The man has no style, no elegance, no grace. He wears oversized Italian Brioni suits with shiny ties.

  41. Actually I think everyone agrees on that.

  42. I think (hope) we can all agree that making fun of a 10-year-old is way out of line.

  43. Hard not to wear oversized suits while wearing body armor.

  44. @Nath

    I wonder if Trump has a Eulalie.


  45. Charlottesville | January 23, 2017 at 1:46 pm |

    @sacksuit — Great Wodehouse reference, Will. Code of the Woosters is a favorite. Hope everyone will stop being furious with everyone else soon. The cumulative blood pressure is frightening. I find it is virtually impossible to be upset for long when listening to Louis Armstrong or Nat Cole, or when reading Wodehouse. I was doing the latter last night just before bed, and was soon laughing out loud as usual. Tough times call for tough measures, so I recommend some Louis and Nat with a martini before dinner and some Wodehouse at bedtime. Those are my plans, at any rate.

  46. I’m all for irrational protestations after the horses have left the barn.

    I refuse to accept the results of the AFC and NFC championship games.Tomorrow I’ll be protesting, looting, and rioting. #NotMySuperBowl

    But the Packers won the popular vote #NotMySuperBowl

    We demand Tom Brady release his football air pressure statements. #NotMySuperBowl

  47. The Loafer Lawyer | January 23, 2017 at 2:55 pm |

    Ahh, politics. Political sniping in one of my few online hiding places from the constant barrage of pro-this, anti-that. Back to discussion of sartorial splendor, chaps. Today, I happen to be wearing a red tie. Tomorrow, for balance sake only, I shall be sure to wear a blue one with the white OCBD…

  48. When forced to spend any length of time with someone who is clearly of a different political ilk than myself, I revert to the same “toolbox” I use during dreadful professional networking situations or social occasions: sports and children – if you can’t find common ground in one or both of those things, then the situation is probably hopeless and you should either put your nose in a book, or go to the bar by yourself.

  49. Who is this person Nath ?

    Who writes like that ?

    No one.

    I know.

    Short sentences.

    Very annoying.

    And pretentious.

    Please stop.

    Go away.

    Far, Far away.


    Just stop.

  50. Please.

    Go away.

  51. And don’t forget the gay man, who I’m sure demands that everyone be tolerant of his life style, harassed Trumps daughter on a plane.

  52. Professions of Swiss-like neutrality, Dear Editor, but the “Republican” red tie is on an OCBD, while the “Democratic” blue tie is on a point collar. What are you trying to tell us here …?

  53. Jock Hamilton | January 23, 2017 at 4:29 pm |

    Good move Cucksvold. You wouldn’t want to risk the wrath of the Trumpenreich if you dared to mock one of our own. We believe in free speech, of course, just some are more free than others. Now go back to being a good useful idiot and make fun of leftists under the guise of neutrality.

  54. With regard to the long tie fashion statement, you have to put it in context. This is a man who came to prominence on TV as a character in make-believe sporting events where steroid-pumped freaks dressed up as something resembling Pleistocene mega-clowns engage in elaborately choreographed pseudo-combat as part of a make-believe sporting league of some kind. He then rose to even greater prominence as a character in a televised entertainment where he huffed and puffed and pretend-fired pretend-employees of a pretend-corporation.

    So the long tie is just part of his costume. He’s got the zany hair and the orange face-makeup – granted, he doesn’t do the big floppy shoes, but the absurdly long tie fits right in with the rest of his shtick.

  55. Charlottesville | January 23, 2017 at 4:44 pm |

    I hope that Mr. Hamilton’s comment was an attempt at parody. I’m with Loafer Lawyer. Can’t wait for my new Ivy Style club tie, which was shipped put today. It is both red and blue.

  56. Item: (Ivy Style blog comments)

    George | January 23, 2017 at 4:12 pm |
    And don’t forget the gay man, who I’m sure demands that everyone be tolerant of his life style, harassed Trumps daughter on a plane.

    Item: (above link)

    Vee13, Dire Strait, Christmas Island, about a month ago
    Some leftards need to be put down, seriously.

    767 upvotes before site closed comments

    Trinibeachboy, Port Of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, about a month ago
    It really is the most humane thing to do when they obviously suffer from incurable mental illness….LOL

    227 upvotes before site closed comments

    USAMom, USA, United States, about a month ago
    Crazy entitled nutbag that thinks it’s OK to harass young families and frighten children! Nobody wants to hear your BS opinion!

    8558 upvotes before site closed comments

    Item: (Wikipedia)

    In the summer of 1931, Streicher focused much of the paper’s attention on a Jewish owned butchery. One philanthropic merchant operated a soup kitchen; Der Stürmer ran articles accusing the business of poisoning the food served. Der Stürmer criticized and twisted every single price increase and decrease in Jewish shops, as well as their charitable donations as a further form of financial greed. This attack on Jewish benevolence received the most public criticism out of all of Der Stürmer’s antisemitic propaganda. Its “Letter Box” encouraged the reporting of Jewish illegal acts; the unofficial style helped prevent suspicion of propaganda, and lent it an air of authenticity

  57. It’s time.

    Time to shut down.

    Nazi references.

    By the leftist.

    Godwins Law.

    Please stop.

    And, yes



  58. I’ve contacted a friend who works for the Daily Mail Group. I know they’ve expressed concerns internally. (They also read all the comments that get removed.) Every time you click a link to those pages, they track data of what keywords are getting clickthrough. The words that are getting clickthrough are very ugly words. You’re adding to it with every click. Increasing the cash value of those words. Think about what you are reading. Think about what conversations you are part of. Think about how you are responding. Think about how automated algorithms don’t care about your love of patrician irony and nonchalant disregard for politics. They didn’t put the Jewish ghettos in the popular papers. They put the reader’s anecdotes of morally licentious jews. And the stories got worse. And the comments got nastier. And the upper classes just sneered at the vulgarity of it. And probably criticised the prose style and the clothes. But it was what the people wanted. The mood was changing. And at its peak Der Sturmer had a circulation lower than that article has hits.

  59. Good luck.

  60. Speaking of comments left on websites, small sample of the tolerant liberal comments from a Daily Kos article about Ivanka Trumps line of boots that she sells:
    “These boots should have the word jack in front of them”

    ” Great for the spring, get and go, goosestep”

    They’ll compliment your ss uniform”

    ” You know what? Screw her. … the daughter of a tyrant who enables him is as bad as he is”

    “she is a facist. her whole family is.”

    ” Why does the whole family have blow job lips”

    “Never thought of them that way, thought they looked like a puckered a hole”

  61. Comments like we’re seeing here, particularly from the leftists who view this site should be a clue that this topic and discussion of politics have no place here whatsoever. This is how you lose half your readership.

  62. Develop a built-in bullshit detector.- Hemingway.

  63. Starting today, I’ll try to be to be tolerant of racist, sexist ignoramuses with no sense of style.

  64. Up to you, Christian.

  65. The Loafer Lawyer | January 24, 2017 at 10:20 am |

    @Charlottesville – Thank you. Decorum and Men’s fashion rarely intersect with political diatribes in a positive fashion. For the record, in accordance with my post yesterday, today I chose to wear a blue & grey Yale striped tie. It reflects not on my politics, but simply goes well with the white OCBD and blue Patch Pocket Blazer (work day, no clients).

  66. Charlottesville | January 24, 2017 at 10:59 am |

    Thanks, Loafer Lawyer. I went with an ancient madder tie today, which has both blue and red in it, as well as green. My OCBD, however, is blue, which goes with the gun check tweed BB jacket I’m wearing on this lovely sunny Virginia day. While I have my political views, I do not generally express them through clothing color, nor on clothing blogs. If I were to do so, I hope it would be with more civility than some of the puerile drivel above.

  67. Vern Trotter | January 24, 2017 at 4:06 pm |

    Even the AA meetings are now polarized.

  68. @Jock

    Follow me on Twitter and join our FB group.

Comments are closed.