On Fashion and Camus

April 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I do not understand blue jeans.  They are not functional pants.  They are generally uncomfortable.  They would not be the ideal pant if one needed to survive in the woods or fight a ninja.  They cannot store things.  They are, for some reason, blue, and we as a culture have decided that it’s okay to wear anything with this specific variety of blue pant.  Everyone wears them.  It boggles the mind, no?  Or ties; ties are strange and arbitrary strips of fabric men wear down their torso.  And indeed a man must wear one if he wants to be taken seriously in the business or political environment.  What?  To be taken seriously a man must wear an incredibly silly strip of fabric from his neck?  Doesn’t it seem like the opposite should be true?  All that suits, jeans, ties, hair gel seem to do is make one’s physical discomfort match one’s social or emotional or even existential discomfort on any given day, so you’re just all around pissed off or all around subdued, having given in physically and mentally to the quote unquote grind.Indeed the cuff-link was invented by Napoleon, to keep his troops from wiping their snot on the sleeves of their uniforms, as their noses would catch on the link.  And to think it is hardly acceptable for a man these days to wipe his snot on his sleeve even without a cuff-link, we still wear them.  Talk about a skeuomorph, like a keystone painted on a cut arch.  So much of what we take for granted as a necessary part of our culture is simply the aesthetic skeleton of what once had use.  And the farther along we go, the more and more things from the past we employ not for their function but simply for their form.  And slowly these skeuomorphs have crept in until our days are filled – from morning ’till night – with essentially arbitrary activities, an entire population of people going through silly rituals, the same silly rituals, day in and day out until they die.  Put on tie.  Fill out pointless papers and move meaningless numbers.  Put up with idiots.  Go home and put on jeans.  Watch idiots on television.  Go to bed with a wife that won’t fuck you but won’t let you fuck anyone else either.  Repeat.

No wonder we’re all battling some sort of addiction by middle age.

For Camus, all of existence was absurd, and from that premise follows the only real philosophical question: should one just kill oneself or live and try to survive the absurdity of existence?  On different days, I have different answers.


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