"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 31 March 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Clothes Minded



Last week, Mike Cameron decided

to wear a Pepsi shirt to school.

The fact that it was "Coke Day"

at his Georgia school resulted

in immediate suspension. Because

several high-ranking Coca-Cola

executives came to Greenbrier

High to administer a US$500

contest, his choice of wardrobe

was considered disruptive and

disrespectful. Within 24 hours

of the incident, PepsiCo CEO

Roger Enrico announced he'd

forgo his US$1 million salary, in

order to fund a scholarship

program. We have a pretty good

idea who might be Enrico's first



Can there be any doubt in this

day and age that the clothes

make the man - not to mention

the woman and the child? Earlier

this month, the New York City

board of education voted

unanimously to recommend school

uniforms at all public

elementary schools in the city,

requiring half a million kids to

wear the same dopey thing to

class every day. New York would

join Chicago, San Antonio,

Dayton, Birmingham, Long Beach,

and Oakland in being the first

public schools in America to

require such drastic measures.

If there's anything worse than

dreaming you went to school

naked, it's finding yourself

actually there in some lame

seersuckers or a tartan skirt.

Of course there are studies up

the wazoo that prove kids do

better under such demoralized

conditions. Starvation and

torture tend to generate

compliance, too.


[ok, lunch where, and when?]

Just ask your parochial school

friends. Not only have they

endured the ridicule of their

secular neighbors for decades

over their hopeless apparel,

they've wasted half their school

days worshiping a pale, pissed

god and having their knuckles

rapped by nasty women in black

habits. The rest of us had

scouting. How to explain the

thousands of our brightest and

boldest children who voluntarily

join the ranks of the Boy

Scouts and Girl Scouts of

America, only to peddle crappy

cookies door-to-door, and usher

ungrateful old ladies

curb-to-curb? Whether you're

talking Brownies or Cub Scouts,

it's the cool uniforms. But make

no mistake about it: These

stylish duds come with a heavy

price and an onerous burden.

You've gotta believe in God. And

no queers. Thanks to several

court decisions in California

this month, the Boy Scouts have

managed to do what their mentors

in the military have not: They

can actively pursue and

discharge the gay and the

godless. Sadly, it looks like

chances are pretty much nil

there will ever be a merit badge

for quoting Bertrand Russell or

collecting Judy Garland LPs.


We can already hear the national

whine machine revving up. The

problem with all these risible

reformists is that they confuse

homophobia and misogyny with one

of our military's best assets:

misanthropy. Where would this

great country be if the members

of our military - and our scouts -

unconditionally respected

themselves and their colleagues?

It's not just queers and

feminists - the military

reserves the right to exercise

extreme prejudice on everyone.

But if you start kicking out the

alpha males, you wouldn't have

much of a national defense left,

now would you? Besides,

institutions like VMI and the

Citadel are now happily proving

that girls can be taught to

maim, kill, and terrorize just

as readily as boys. Reports out

of VMI last week suggest its

first coed class survived and

thrived. Indeed, we shudder to

think of the death, destruction,

and disdain VMI's two dozen

young women are capable of, when

they're in the throes of

synchronous PMS. And they don't

have to waste any time deciding

what to wear.


[how about 1, i don't care where really]

Yes, the spirit of looking good

and acting bad is flourishing

among our youth. Reports out of

Jonesboro, Arkansas, last week

made a federal case out of the

fact that the two juvenile

snipers were dressed in

camouflage. As if that helps

convince us - as if we needed

convincing - the boys were as

confused as they were disturbed.

While the question on everyone's

mind is how the NRA will manage

to turn this into an appeal for

our right to keep and bear

handguns and assault rifles, we

can't help wondering how many

Nike swooshes and Hilfiger

semaphores there must have been

on the battlefield. After all,

if you don't give kids a uniform

to wear, they'll find one to

wear anyway. How else do you

explain the billions of dollars

parents spend every year so

their kids can wear

advertisements for Budweiser,

Marlboro, and Adidas? Any

two-bit principal can tell you

these amoral, big-business

campaigns spell real subversion

in our public institutions -

excluding Congress, of course.


[lets lunch at Primo, whaddya say?]

Back in the '60s, Marshall

McLuhan made the ridiculous

statement that fashion is just

an extension of military

technology. While he was talking

about epaulets and ascots, it

doesn't take a ballistic missile

scientist to extend the metaphor

nicely in the '90s: Youngsters

have been shooting each other

over jackets and tennies for a

decade and a half now, and they

show no signs of calling a

truce. Given the state of our

public schools and the

availability of firearms in even

the remotest regions of the

nation, perhaps we should send

our kids to school in fatigues

and kevlar vests. At least that

would be a school uniform they

could live with.

courtesy of  E. L. Skinner