There are several big media pieces worth our looking at. As they came across my desk one by one, a certain theme emerged. The three pieces in question concern WASPs, men’s magazines, and finally a men’s magazine’s view of WASPs, among other things.
First up is City Journal, which reports on the end of men’s magazines, which have lost their way and their relevance in an era in which mainstream culture is so full of contradictions that nothing means anything anymore:
When the culture changes,” Esquire contributing editor Wesley Yang wrote earlier this year, “each of us must either seek an accommodation or choose a hill to die on.”
It’s a lengthy and serious read on the changing state of both media and American manhood, and worth your time if so inclined.
As for the WASPs, they were once America’s ruling establishment. Then they were overturned, but everyone still likes their clothes. For the November issue of Harper’s, Doug Henwood writes “To Serve I To Rule: Why We Miss The WASPs.” The sartorial reference comes right at the beginning:
Those sockless people in Top-Siders, whose ancestors’ names and portraits adorned the walls, were entirely new to me. I made friends with some, but I was not free of a corrosive envy of their habitus of ease and entitlement.
As to whether you find yourself missing the WASPs, that probably depends on whether you are one. Writes Henwood:
WASPs once made for a fairly coherent upper class: concentrated in big cities and their suburbs in the Northeast, products of the same prep schools and colleges, likely to choose from a small pool of marriage partners, guaranteed of a decent inheritance and, for men, a sinecure at a respectable firm. Social ties were stable and for the ages. That has all given way to rule by money.
Pour yourself your WASP libation of choice and check the piece out here.
Finally, GQ has a new article called Why Do Roger Stone And Co. Love Bad Clothes? On The Uncle Fester Of Savile Row And The Right’s Sartorial Choices by Rachel Tashjian, one of the new female style writers GQ hired instead of G. Bruce Boyer (see first referenced article, about the decline of men’s mags).
Why is the far right so into clothes? And why are they so bad?
Stone clearly loves the rules, the prestige, and the exclusivity of bespoke clothing. Spread collars, pocket squares, and pleat-front trousers aren’t things you see even at white-shoe law firms or on Wall Street anymore; in the United States, this kind of natty, by-the-obscure-European-books dressing is now an eccentricity. He even gets his jackets made with three-roll-two buttons, where the top button is placed under the lapel and never used—the kind of tailored menswear-head detail that guys mostly get just to flex their arcane knowledge (or to try in vain to look like James Bond). Nonetheless, these looks have been somewhat subdued even for Stone, who’s worn everything from a black beret and leather jacket to a top hat and full morning dress—attire that’s so difficult to get anywhere beyond the confines of Savile Row that you’d almost consider it a costume. Stone’s obsessive dedication to the sartorially garish certainly makes it seem that way—costumey.
And as for the WASP tie-in:
Notably absent from the piece is Michael Anton.
Also, from what I’ve noticed after 15 years of men’s style blogging, how you react to a man’s clothes has less to do with what he’s wearing and more to do with how you feel about the man himself.
Oh, and one more newsy item about WASPs: if you thought the W and P in WASP were bad enough, now the A and P are up for replacement. — CC