Gatekeeping, Diversity, and the Future of Ivy

Editor’s Note:   I don’t agree with everything in here.  But I can disagree respectfully.  I did, however, want to take any opportunity, including the one that Mr. Charles Bellinger kindly offered me, to trumpet the message of inclusion, gate-opening, and cultural relevance.  The Classics Are For Everyone.  – JB

JB recently posed a question to me: In this day and age, to what extent or degree is Ivy culturally relevant?

Here’s the thing, its not nearly as aesthetically relevant as it could be and its because some of its most ardent fans and practitioners are too damn gatekeeperish. From a cultural standpoint, the direction it is headed is “Subset of Preppy that 3 friends who like tweed jackets follow.”

It doesn’t have to be that way though. There’s a huge sartorial and design legacy that could be tapped if we took a more holistic approach. That being said, it seems wise to follow the advice of 20th century literary mastermind Missy Elliot and work it by putting it down, flipping, and reversing it.

In spring of this year (2022 for you future readers perusing my acclaimed reprints long after the Ice Capshave melted and people have bought ocean side property in Harrisburg, PA) Ralph Lauren released a collection inspired by America’s renown HBCUs. It was fantastic. It was fresh. It was the most fun I have seen out of PRL in a decade. Then I read the comment sections online.

For those of you who don’t know what an HBCU is, it’s an acronym for Historic Black Colleges and Universities. The dividing line for a lot of racial issues in America is the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To be considered an HBCU you had to exist prior to then and there are currently 101 of them. That’s approximately 3% of the institutions of higher education in America. Most were established in the South after the Civil War (Cheyney in Pennsylvania being an antebellum exception) and were the foundation of black education and research and the bedrock of that community’s middle class and elites for nearly a century.

For Ralph Lauren to do a HBCU inspired collection, as the saying goes, a Big Deal. I implore anybody that can go into Google Images to look at all the photos from the early to mid-20 th century on these campuses. The style is good. It’s a masterclass in design and detail and it still feels alive and relevant today. So PRL dropped a collection that took that spirit, they flipped it, they reversed it and they made something special that popped and had its own taste. It felt fun and alive. Then…the comment sections. The comments under each ad and article on places such as Facebook seemed to have just as much disdain as praise. I can not recall the last time a Ralph Lauren posting was rife with such disdain and dog whistles and gate keeping.

For each post, there seemed to be some surly, salty malcontent referencing some picture of John Smith and Bob Richards and G. Eneric Whiteguy from a campus at Harvard or Yale circa 1946-1965. It didn’t matter than in many ways the cuts and cloth were quite similar. It mattered that the purists had settled on a default that was different only in degrees from the original inspiration. God forbid something from then be brought into the present. Let alone something that wasn’t inspired by the WASP establishment of a country that for so long as forced others into separate communities and groupings and looked black or brown or just a little funky.

This is to say nothing of the legacy of the Seven Sisters colleges. Opportunity was few and far for women to receive decent higher education in this nation for a very long time. Bryan Mawr, just outside of Philadelphia, featured Katherine Hepburn as an alumnus. Barnard and Wellesley are some of the most difficult universities to gain admission to in the entire nation.  Radcliffe College was so Ivy, that in 1999 Harvard outright absorbed it.

These colleges were all created to provide women with the equivalent of an Ivy education. From a quality standpoint they were and are just as good and are often far more selective. From a cultural standpoint you run the gamut of Hepburn to Martha Stewart. It’s a tremendous legacy of influence on style, design, art, and literature. Aesthetically speaking, a snapshot of any of these campuses from the so-called Ivy Heyday shows just as much taste and is similar enough but still slightly different. Its relatable but still its own thing.

The thing is that Ivy aficionados often like to live in the Heyday Years. Shoehorned somewhere between1954 and 1967.  The clothing is always just so and the aesthetic even more. Without variance the photo sare often of men, white young, often the benefactors of legacy admissions or if they were lucky, the GI Bill. The mid-20 th century opened a lot of avenues for people who may not have been straight white guys, but the Ivy League was, and is, still elite. That’s fine. Personally, I don’t think elitism is necessarily bad. To be the best at something is to be, by its very nature, elite. Sports, food, fashion, politics or career, there will always be a top echelon. Not a single person or institution will ever be fully equal in quality or talent nor should they.

Yet, the erstwhile purists of Ivy aesthetics seem to hew to an extremely narrow window of propriety inform and function. Photos from Ivy league campus across the broad swath of the 20 th century wonderful clothing and style and design. Each era a different iteration of what the peak of accessible elitism could be. This is exactly why Ivy, left to its most ardent traditionalists is doomed to be just a footnote in the broader world of Preppy style.

For whatever one says about the “Preppy Handbook” or preppy styled adherents, they leave room for ridiculous madras shorts all the same as Saville tailored blazers. There’s a far more egalitarian notion that Prep is its own lane but its plenty wide enough that you can stay init and still have some swerve.  Men and women, black and brown faces, weird, queer or boringly strait-laced all can and do have a place to express themselves there. Its more open and far less rigid. In many ways it’s become the sartorial Big Tent Party for those who prefer a more polished Anglo-American aesthetic. Prep school kids can go to Harvard, but they might as well go to Berkeley or Howard or Bryn Mawr.

If Ivy is to ever thrive on its own in our era, it needs to be more expansive. The aesthetics of HCBUs and Seven Sisters colleges, especially during the first half of the 20th century, is much closer to those of the Ivy league than just a bunch of prep school twerps in plaid shorts  driving around in their daddy’s hand me down Lexus. If we were to view Ivy as being inspired by the original Ivy League but actually being the epitome of what we expect from the highest levels of our institutions and how we as a society place our selves in relation to contributing toward the elevation of those principles we might just see something relevant and fresh and modern with deep, bold roots drawing from the best of all the voices that never had a seat at the table and had to make their own spots to eat.

If Preppy is a style than Ivy must be a Sensibility. As an aesthetic it should be the focusing lens of refining our adornments to the best lived in and cherished traditions of the institutions that enrich our communities and embolden our brightest. It must be presenting oneself ennobled in the finest of uniforms we craft for ourselves and the intimations we pursue in the quest to bring our inner selves into alignment with the world we hope to enrich.

One last thing, people need to drop the gatekeeping and stop being puritanical about this stuff. The Puritans sucked. England kicked them out for being a bunch of party poppers and as soon as they landed in America, they ate all the Native’s food and banned Christmas. Don’t be
like them. Nobody likes a bore.

– Charles Bellinger

47 Comments on "Gatekeeping, Diversity, and the Future of Ivy"

  1. The Amazing Tom | July 28, 2022 at 10:46 am |

    The most important post in the site’s history. It should have a permanent link on the title page.

    • Charles Bellinger | July 28, 2022 at 11:22 am |

      Thank you for the very kind words

      • This is just as culturally arrogant as the people you label as culturally arrogant! “The Puritans sucked”, you say? ” Don’t be like them”??? What about blacks coming North ? Jews coming to America, and Homosexuals coming out ? Would you DARE say the same ? How would you react to someone who said it to you, or on this site ? Where do you get off ? Never mind; that’s not a pretty picture. Let’s just say most people are snickering quietly at your rejected dork Rowing Blazers world.

        • I’m not sure “most people” know about Ivy style or the brand, Rowing Blazers. It is fair to critique the point that the “Puritans sucked,” but there is a reason why one might refer to a whole host of hypocrisies and reactionary societal ills as “puritanical”.
          It took courage to voyage across the ocean and build a new society. It’s not even close to the kind of courage as it took Jews fleeing industrialized extermination in Europe or slaves fleeing slavery. That’s a comparison I find rather galling.
          Nobody’s snickering quietly at you in whatever world it is you live in, they’re just disappointed.

  2. Charles Bellinger | July 28, 2022 at 11:06 am |

    Thank you for letting me share my thoughts

  3. Hear hear!

  4. A refreshing response to the comments found in “My Baby Did Not Go to Columbia”. I’m continuously excited by the directions you are taking ivy-style Mr Burton!

  5. Robert Archambeau | July 28, 2022 at 11:46 am |

    That prescriptive attitude? I tried to define it once as “square ivy.” John B. was kind enough to let me have my say here at the site:

  6. I really appreciate this article and found myself agreeing emphatically with every point as I read. But now I’m surprised to find myself feeling just a little bit contrarian as I consider my comment, at least in one way: While the worst kind of gatekeeping is exclusionary and emblematic of our society’s failures and prejudices, and while it can be taken to needlessly cruel excess online and on so-called “social” media, gatekeeping on merit alone is what gives people something to aspire to. I think it’s important to look at who is doing the gatekeeping and whether or not their values align with the one aspiring to enter. In other words, are the gatekeepers encouraging and helpful, or are they just elitist jerkwads?

    • John Burton | July 28, 2022 at 6:21 pm |

      I agree with this – it is a nuanced point. In order to preserve tradition, gatekeeping is required. I think it has to be open gatekeeping.

      • Gatekeeping without punishment. If you want to come in, you can, but here are the rules. But, no worries if you don’t.

  7. I am really and truly trying to wrap my (admittedly tired– long day) brain around the central, guiding thesis (question/purpose) of this piece. It seems, upon a first reading, to be the sort of thing I’d like and welcome: an articulate ‘rage against a machine’ that has failed us repeatedly (Ivy League University bureaucracies and boards). If you try to me convince that, overall and generally and broadly, the concentration of intellectual, political, and financial power in Princeton, Harvard, and Yale has been a good thing for small-r republicanism in America, you won’t have to try very hard. I’m already there. The men who ran the elite institutions, including churches and universities and businesses and enterprises galore, for centuries– they were not ignorant (that’s a too-easy copout) or stupid (also too easy). They were, uh, pretty bad–like morally/ethically bad. Like kinda-sorta awful. Like, well, quite intentionally exclusivist and greedy and petty and racist …and, well, just awful. They could have easily been otherwise, but It benefited them financially to be otherwise. (“Follow the money…”).

    So, yes: Throughout most of human history, the efforts that elites have taken to protect their power-and-authority (as always, intimately connected with $) have been (a.) abominable, (b.) shameful, and, (c.) maybe even unforgivable, To repeat: they were neither ignorant nor stupid. They were quite chauvinist, bigoted, and, in plenty of instances, mercilessly cruel. They hoarded power for themselves (“ah, club life, Chip–us in here, them out there…pass the sherry…”) and pretended to share it (see the 1960s) only when it was totally, 100% clear that it was in their financial interest to do so. This isn’t a jaded view of history. It’s called realism. Jonathan Edwards, Calvinist Puritan who preached original sin, would approve.

    One doesn’t have to read Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the U.S. to recognize all of this. Throughout history, dynasty-building elites have mostly sucked.

    I’ve argued (and will again) that it would make A LOT of sense of J. Press to relinquish the connection with Ivy League universities, including Yale. Further, it’s high time that a democratization of sorts was given priority. (Onward’s decision to lower the price of J. Press tweed jackets would be a step in the right direction–yes?).

    A few thoughts:
    1. I’ll continue to be gatekeeperish about both the quality of the cloth and tailoring–and styling. “Purist” isn’t synonymous with “Puritanical.” As JB has hinted, Ivy is about striving for (and to be) the best.

    2. The Puritans, who founded Harvard, were elites. Wealthy, highly educated elites, actually. Could they be Cavlinist prigs? Yep. But they delighted in lots of good stuff–including architecture, music, art, wine (yes, wine), and clothing. Yes, clothing. See Perry Miller’s THE NEW ENGLAND MIND for more on all of the above. The High Church Anglicans could be far more close-minded and priggish and rigid than the Puritans.

    3. “The thing is that Ivy aficionados often like to live in the Heyday Years. Shoehorned somewhere between1954 and 1967.” Uh, yes. Doesn’t this make (perfect) sense?

    4. “The aesthetics of HCBUs and Seven Sisters colleges, especially during the first half of the 20th century, is much closer to those of the Ivy league than just a bunch of prep school twerps in plaid shorts driving around in their daddy’s hand me down Lexus. If we were to view Ivy as being inspired by the original Ivy League but actually being the epitome of what we expect from the highest levels of our institutions…” Yes indeed.

    I think I’m with you. (I think – ?). But I’ll continue to demand lapped seams, hooked vents, sloping shoulders, 1/4″ stitching, and soft roll to the second button. And please more Irish Poplin, Donegal Mist and West of England woollen flannel. If this is “Puritanical,” then I’ll be glad to be the Richard Baxter of Ivy. Ivy can remain 100% Ivy even as we welcome everybody-and-anybody to give it a try– the old college try, even! (See what I did there?)

    • I always appreciate the deep background and educated context you bring to your often Ivy-encyclopedic comments, S.E.

  8. Sartresky | July 28, 2022 at 2:27 pm |

    It’s true, no one likes a bore, and there’s nothing that can take the joy out of Ivy style better than wrapping it up in yet another tired regurgitation of DE&I bromides.

  9. Marc Chevalier | July 28, 2022 at 2:40 pm |

    @Sartresky Perhaps you should demand a refund.

  10. Nice to see a more open culture on this site. I doubt this article would have been published under the previous owner. Looking at the intolerant comments on older articles is testimony to changes. So long Roger Stone his ilk.

  11. Excellent article, for sure, though I don’t at all agree with the decision to include the editor’s note in bold letters at the top of the piece. It’s a needless distraction interrupting an otherwise lovely piece. Respectfully, I wish you would strongly reconsider its inclusion and placement in this manner, JB.

    • John Burton | July 28, 2022 at 6:22 pm |

      Hi Ted – where would you put the editor’s notes and how would you make them distinct from a piece not written by the editor? Asking for a friend.

      • Traditionally, they would go at the bottom of the article, not at the very top. And, even then, only when necessary, which doesn’t really apply in this case. It’s a distraction, and I don’t think readers would typically assume the arguments and thoughts laid out in the piece belong to anyone other than the author, whose byline would typically appear under the title as well.

        I think you are undercutting the writer’s points before he even gets started, and doing so unnecessarily in my opinion. Saying that you don’t agree with everything but can disagree respectfully, etc. can be done in the comments, if it needs to be said at all. Doing so at the very top in the manner you’ve done here is akin to interrupting a speaker once he’s already appeared at the lectern.

        Pretty much the only time an editor’s note such as the one you’ve included here would be necessary at the top is when a major correction is being issued. The recent editorial from the Wall Street Journal comes to mind as a perfect example:

        I realize I am perhaps more opinionated than most but I am speaking from experience gained as one of the editors of my college paper. Thank you.

        • One more style point – I think italics are a better choice than the BOLD font used here, which stands out as “louder” than what is written in the article. Footnotes, which is more or less what an editor’s note is, should always be less intrusive rather than more.

        • John Burton | July 29, 2022 at 5:46 am |

          Thanks! I want to learn. A few points to consider. There are functional differences between running this site and a newspaper, so the editor’s notes don’t serve the same purpose. I am not sure that my saying that I don’t agree undercuts as much as it does actually provide incentive TO read the article. There are also sequential conditions, that make reading the post a contextual thing, thus the editor’s notes are contextual. An editor’s note is very different than a comment and would be inappropriate there. Italics in web writing are different than italics in press in that they are not always as recognizable.

  12. Katherine Hepburn is an alumna, not an alumnus.

  13. Indeed. Life is too short.

    Kind Regards,


  14. Who’s “gatekeeping”? Who / where are these supposed “gatekeepers”?

    I’m all for anybody-and-everybody giving Ivy a try. I wish more people would, but does this mean a watering/dumbing down of the quality and unique styling that made Ivy so special/unique? As JB reminds us, it’s Ivy like to strive for the best.

    I’ve gone on record arguing in favor of J. Press relinquishing the connections with Yale in particular and Ivy League schools generally.

    Also, in the interest of historical accuracy: the Puritans were not priggish, rigid prudes. They delighted in art, literature/poetry, architecture, wine, etc. They were intellectual elites who valued education and the arts —and were far more flexible than plenty of High Church Anglicans. Especially those Tractarians..

  15. Hepburn’s first name is spelled Katharine, not Katherine.

  16. Edit (first post)
    “…political, and financial power in Princeton, Harvard, and Yale has been a good thing for small-r republicanism in America…”

  17. “…has NOT been a good thing…”

  18. For the sake of balancing the comments, I have to speak up and agree with @Sartresky.

  19. I am amused that an article that begins with an observation primarily about the comments surrounding RL and HSBC should generate so many comments defending the reputation of puritans and the traditional interpretation of Ivy League style.

  20. Hardbopper | July 29, 2022 at 11:55 am |

    “lucky” to qualify for the G.I. Bill, and “boringly ‘strait’-laced”.

    • Charles Bellinger | July 29, 2022 at 12:44 pm |

      I said lucky because while most people who served could utilize the GI Bill it wasn’t a guarantee to go wherever you want. The amount of folks who served and could end up in an Ivy League school was exceedingly narrow and often those that used that to get in other wise would not have the means to do so. Luck being the happenstance of many narrow circumstances aligning seems to be an appropriate term here

  21. Charles Dana | July 29, 2022 at 1:28 pm |

    1. I’m my own sartorial gatekeeper. I have no interest in being anyone else’s gatekeeper…unless the job involves a hefty signing bonus and a generous pension plan.

    2. The history of Ivy League clothing (particularly in the “heyday”); the fashions that have prevailed at historically Black colleges and universities; the current state of Ivy League clothing; the future of Ivy League clothing; gatekeeping; and slick Ralph Lauren advertising campaigns—those are interesting topics, but probably best discussed separately….with a final essay that ties the topics together to the extent possible. An essay that attempts to cover each of those subjects in one fell swoop risks carrying more freight than it can handle. (Or—more likely—maybe this is another case of my limited mental bandwidth crashing when too many topics are uploaded to it at one time.)

    3. I don’t think the borders of Ivy League clothing are rigid, as much as I like the “heyday” look. I’ll wear the old and the new. Or newish. Yet I try not to get carried away. Whatever “carried away” means. A Madras sport coat with cargo shorts? Probably too daring for me.

    4. Of course the evolution of Ivy-style clothes didn’t stop dead in its tracks in the late 1960s. So I’ll keep an open mind about what I’ll allow past my gate. Even so, when I’m selecting my clothing for the day, my tendency to choose an OCBD, chinos, and a tweed sport coat won’t be due to a blind devotion on my part to Ivy’s “heyday.” Rather, I just like the clothing of that era. I’m much less enthusiastic about the jeans and hoodies favored by the Ivy kids these days. (Anyway, the clothes that were popular on the Ivy campuses from 1954 to 1967 were by no means niche items; they were increasingly mainstream inasmuch as the clothing makers and sellers had realized that “Ivy League” was a lucrative marketing gimmick. Men and boys from Manhattan, NYC to Manhattan Beach, California were wearing Manhattan OCBDs. And that type of clothing is still appropriate, so why shouldn’t I wear it…as long as I don’t impose my choices on anyone else.)

    5. The future of Ivy League clothes: I’ll leave it up to others to examine what the college kids are wearing these days and then try to extrapolate what kind of clobber their kids and grandkids will be wearing to their sociology classes. Others should do it because I don’t need any more nightmares for awhile—Last night I dreamed that I arrived at the office wearing nothing but white cotton briefs and I couldn’t remember where my desk was, or even what my job was. That’s enough anxiety for me for now.

  22. The most profound consideration here (and I do not necessarily agree with Charles) is about elites vs. elitism. I am a tenured History professor at a NON-elite public university, but I received my PhD at a highly selective ELITE PUBLIC university (Berkeley, in 2011).
    There is one professor (I think of him as my nemesis) in the History Department who despises the idea of elites and rolls them together with elitism. I believe that even at a non-elite university (literally anyone can get into it) we should try to give the best education we can (hence, an elite sort of education). However, my nemesis considers it intolerable snobbery to even insist that the students spell correctly.

    • Hardbopper | July 29, 2022 at 10:17 pm |

      Your nemesis is our nemesis, Mothax. He probably cannot spell OCBD. The soft bigotry of low expectations.

  23. Here’s a piece that prompts further thought…

    I’ll speak personally. I deeply lament the steady passing of the G.I. Generation and The Silent Generation. Were they perfect? Far from it. But, as I’m sure Richard Press and others can/will attest, plenty of them stood (and stood up for) values that witnessed to ‘the better angels’ within. As is always the case with history, there’s much to correct and amend; may we not lose (or too hastily discard) all that’s worthy of preservation.

    For them, proper dress was an extension– an appendage — of manners. Borrowing from PoloRL’s skillful exegesis of HBCU style, one cannot imagine John Lewis, Julian Bond, or Ralph Abernathy speaking-and-marching in anything other than great-fitting suits, oxford shirts, and repp ties. No wonder we remember them as much for their sense of polished dignity and erudite composure as their outspokenness. They were prophetic, but they were also polite, distinguished, and diplomatic. This, we may suppose, was one of the keys to their success.

    Do we wonder why subsequent generations of “activists” aren’t taken as seriously as they were?

    • Hardbopper | July 29, 2022 at 10:39 pm |

      Many of those GIs learned how to dress in the service. STRAC. Good (not expensive) haircut, polished shoes, creased trousers, belt, coat and tie, four-in-hand knot, too easy. If ‘67 was the death of Ivy, ‘73 was its cremation.

  24. whiskeydent | July 29, 2022 at 3:59 pm |

    As the resident lefty in these parts, I liked the general message of this piece, but I ran into some significant problems with the delivery.

    Leaning on Ralph Lauren advertising as a great example for inclusion is very questionable. No one has exalted the idle rich — not the best among us but the luckiest — than Ralph Lauren. One ad campaign featuring HBCU’s is not a cure for decades of lounging pretty boys who looked like they were lucky enough to be born on third base and dumb enough to think they hit a triple. Sure there have been notable and praiseworthy exceptions besides the HBCU’S (Tyson Beckford and the eyebrows guy), but they were few and far between.

    And then the Puritans thing. I assume this paragraph was supposed to be a pithy parting shot. However, it went astray when the author used an absolute — the Puritans sucked. It’s hard to argue for letting everybody in at the same time you argue to keep out an entire group. Isn’t that merely more elitism and discrimination in, um, slightly different clothing?

  25. Hardbopper | July 29, 2022 at 4:54 pm |

    OK, still not following the argument. The G.I. Bill never has been a means to help meet entrance requirements to any College, or trade school, nor was it intended to be, but is merely limited financial aid. And one could only utilize it if one were lucky enough to make it home alive. Unless the entrance requirement most heavily weighted is the running of the numbers in the finance office, which is likely the case today, but was it so post WWII?

  26. roger sack | July 29, 2022 at 10:41 pm |

    Where I live, the San Francisco Bay Area,there is only one surviving Ivy store,
    CableCar Clothiers. Cable Car is a fusty, overpriced, time capsule, where it is always
    1958. The merchandise is boring, when compared to what was once available at
    Chipp, J Press, Paul Stuart and even Brooks. I was in College(Cornell) during the heyday
    and my wife was at Bryn Mawr. My own style has evolved beginning at Chipp in the 80s-90s
    and wear side vents and more fitted jackets but ALWAYS w/ natural shoulders. Neither of us
    are old money WASPS, although my Dad dressed like one despite being one generation re-
    moved from the shetel ( see Fiddler on the Roof)My area is full of Ivy grads along with representatives
    of other elite schools, eg Stanford. When one sees tailored clothing at all, which is rare, it’s mostly
    Italian of varying levels of taste. My son in law, who 20 years ago wore mostly Ralph Lauren and until
    recently was a high exec at Google wears jeans and technical wear and owns maybe one suit. A generation
    ago he’d have had a closet full of bespoke from one of the now gone Ivy tailors. Oh the humanity !

  27. There’s a story about Julian Bond — one that lingers. During his latter-day years, at the University of Virginia (WAHOOWA), he lectured and wrote. As the story goes, he was consistently (regarded by others as) the best-dressed professor/instructor. It was easy to recognize Julian Bond from a distance because of the suit and/or sport jacket and necktie. His grooming was impeccable and his demeanor was polite-yet-reserved– which is to say, he was a gentleman. This is one of the reasons he was taken seriously and treated with such respect — that was a time, you see, when more was required of ‘the best-and-brightest’ than a knowledge of math’s relationship to markets. (Yeah, I just took another shot at new, quant-driven $ that’s grown since the 1980s).

    He was the picture of calm, cool, relaxed, unruffled courage-and-wisdom. (As was Obama, IMHO).

    One of my all-time favorite pictures is circa the 1970s, which was a sartorial nightmare here in the U.S.A. There stand John Lewis and Julian Bond, conferring with one another — they’re wearing tweed jackets and turtlenecks (actually, I think Lewis was wearing a tie): Graceful, unflappable, dignified.

    Compare/contrast with the sea of investor class BOBO’s,* bearded, flip-flopped, covered in spandex workout gear, rude as hell, and obnoxious. Better get out of their way as they depart the city for their house at the Shore: their new Range Rovers are fast and they’re quick with the flipping-of-the bird.


    • I think civil rights figures such as Bond and Lewis were of a generation that demanded that kind of unflappable gentlemanliness — for various complex reasons I know I couldn’t competently discuss. I’ll just say it’s notable that people who had so much to fight for to be seen as an equal humans could do so with that kind of poise and elegance. Agreed that Obama, an inheritor of their efforts, certainly fit that mold.
      Great characterization of new wealth, by the way. David Brooks isn’t someone I often look to for insight, but he sure hit he nail right on the head with his observations on the BOBOs. Too bad “BOBO” didn’t catch on as it should have. We’ve resorted to referring to such folks by adding the suffix, “-bro.” Whatever works.

  28. MacMcConnell | July 31, 2022 at 8:05 pm |

    One might think Julian Bond dressed well because his father was a college president. On the other hand John Lewis’ father was a sharecropper in Alabama. Both for the most part gentilmen, probably because the culture of their times.

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