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Archive for March, 2017

The fashion world seeks my input


I no longer get press releases about medical research in Scotland, but I still get some from far-flung places where I have trouble believing anyone even knows where Lenoir is.

On Friday one came from a fashion designer in Leicester, England. I’m sure your first thought is that this designer clearly recognizes that whatever the upper crust in New York, London and Milan might say, fashion isn’t fashion until the Lenoir News-Topic says so. I’ve heard it many times.

She wanted me — or presumably anyone anywhere in the world on the massive list of email addresses swept up by computers maintained by whatever public relations hacks she is paying — to interview her about “athleisure.”

I’ll give her this: She increased my word power.

Without the context of the press release, I might have thought “athleisure” was the sound of a complicated sneeze. Or it could be a term for a type of seizure common among athletes.

Instead, athleisure is defined in this press release riddled with punctuation errors as “modern comfortable sport’s inspired” clothing. In other words, leisure clothing that is vaguely athletic-looking. In the case of this press release, that would be leggings.

Leggings came to be in the news recently because United Airlines refused to let two girls who were traveling on a free ticket board the plane because they were wearing leggings rather than pants.

The English fashion designer argues that leggings ought to be allowed not only on planes but in a great many places: “As more people are becoming interested in healthy living, it is increasingly acceptable for dress codes to be relaxed in order to facilitate popular on-the-go lifestyles.”

My mother used to talk about how people once dressed up to travel because going on a plane was a big deal. Now, as Norm in the old TV show “Cheers” might say, it’s just another darn reason to put your pants on.

It’s not just air travel, though, it’s everywhere. Go to your local courthouse and see what some people wear when they have to plead their case before a judge.

There are places you shouldn’t arrive looking as though you either just rolled out of bed or are about to mow the lawn.

But I digress.

Curious about what athleisure — or, another term this designer used, “sports luxe” — looks like, I went to the designer’s website, www.okayla.co.uk. There on the home page it was: a young woman in a gray hoodie, her face pale, her heavily painted eyes closed, her head tilted slightly, her dark-purple lips parted, her shoulders slouched, hands hanging limp. She looked like a corpse in rigor mortis having been stood upright.

I wouldn’t want her on a plane either, but mainly because I’d be afraid she’d try to eat my brain.

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Gabby Johnson
So now the AP, seemingly every year coming closer to saying grunts and whistles are acceptible nouns and verbs, says that “they” may be an acceptable singular pronoun.

I have not normally used profanity in this blog, but let me clear on this: Screw the AP.

I spend time literally every week — and I mean that in the literal sense, not the way AP would allow it — telling reporters that “they” can’t refer to “the college” or “the board” or “the class” or “some” or “pig” or, I don’t know, any little thing they don’t care to go back and match words to. Many writers coming out of college are just LAZY, regarding language as liquid, and they have to be whipped like wild horses and broken, always have been, and now AP just has thrown up a wall to tell all of these wild horses to head on out to pasture, don’t mind the editor, I’m just Gabby Johnson, talking genuine frontier gibberish from the old frontier days.

The hell with you, Associated Press. Words still mean something, even if you don’t.

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