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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Virginians' underwear gets national attention

The Virginia General Assembly is getting some national press for what may be one of the dumbest pieces of legislation ever considered by the body. Delegate Algie Howell has introduced a bill to levy a $50 fine against anyone whose underwear is displayed in a "lewd or indecent manner." The story is covered here, here, and here (among other places).

Ok, so there's no chance this bill will be passed, but why introduce it in the first place? Clearly it is intended to please some constituents who are offended by low-riding pants. But why can't Delgate Howell simply explain to them that such a bill is both foolish and pointless. Ignoring the obvious problems with enforcing such a law, this bill represents what George Allen likes to call "the nanny state" at its worst.

Besides, I am quite certain that public scorn and ridicule are much more effective deterrents than a $50 fine that will never be enforced. Thus, if you are offended by something that someone is wearing you'd be better off simply loudly saying "Oh my God, look at that guy's clothes! I can't believe he's wearing that!" than asking your legislator to outlaw such attire.

3 Comments:

Blogger Will Vehrs said...

I don't think you've thought through your suggestion.

Are you willing to endure the charges of racism, self-esteem damage, etc. that such remarks might cause?

Are you willing to deal with whole "posse" of droopy-drawered young men who might take offense?

Look, this is ridiculous legislation--agreed. But the issue behind is serious. Del. Howell is trying to help a generation whose dress and behavior might consign them to the fringes of the American economy. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize you can't legislate respectable dress and the behavior it might encourage.

1:07 PM

 
Blogger reporterette said...

True, critics of the fashion trend could soon be labeled rascists but this issue goes beyond race. Unfortunately, trashy America is a black America, a white America, an hispanic America, etc. Just look at the new Abercrombie and Fitch guy (http://www.abercrombie.com/anf/lifestyles/art/splash1.jpg) and remember, A&F was accused of being rascist with regards to its hiring practices. Dressing like jail bait (please excuse the imagery) isn't just a black thing.

Legislating the tacky sounds like a great idea but it won't work. The parents who let their kids buy this nonsense are the problem. Instead of introducing new legislation, let's re-introduce this long-forgotten word: shame. Let's face it. Kids don't feel embarassed walking around like idiots. They have no shame because parents expect little from them. Reversing this behavior will take much more than the passage of a bill.

10:44 PM

 
Blogger Jack Naka said...

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8:12 AM

 

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