August 08, 2005

Gratuitous Snottery Alert

Courtesy of Jonathan we have what would have been a wonderfully insightful and informative article by Andrew Ferguson about the current problems and challenges facing the National Mall in Dee Cee if it weren't for the blatant Dee Cee snottery displayed.

IF YOU WANT A VISION of hell, look here: the national mall in Washington, D.C., at noon on a summer's day. Mom and Dad and Buddy and Sis stand on the treeless expanse, baked by the pitiless sun, looking lost. Dad wears a muscle-beach T-shirt stretched over a Cheesecake Factory body, his hair matted in shiny ringlets round the crown of his head. Sweat begins to show at the waistband of Mom's stretch pants. The air is hung with scrims of haze. To one side the Capitol building shimmers in ghostly outline. To the other, the Lincoln Memorial looms in what might or might not be Hellenic grandeur; it's hard to tell through the waves of heat. Both landmarks seem unreachable, impossibly distant, in opposite directions. Buddy's fanny pack won't stay hitched up, and the intense physical discomfort is the only thing that keeps Sis from dying, like totally dying, of boredom.{...}

See, this is how Ferguson starts the piece off. A "normal" family, in from out of town, going to see the Mall. He simultaneously sneers at this family for all their bourgeoisie manners and appearances yet sympathizes that they're being given the runaround because the mall is so poorly kept these days. It's hard to imagine why he's so sympathetic to their plight due his cariacturish description of this imaginary family. You don't know where they're from. You just know they're not from Dee Cee, as if living in the nation's capitol is the benchmark for having good taste. Perhaps they are imaginary, perhaps they're not, the world being overstuffed with fanny-pack, muscle T-shirt wearing Americans, but I have to imagine there are plenty of people who visit the mall whose manner of dress and behavior don't quite offend Ferguson's delicate aesthetic sensibilities quite so egregiously. To be blunt about it: no matter how informative Ferguson's article is, the snotty tone of the opening paragraphs ruin it.

This is what I would like to know: is there some sort of dress code for when people from out of town visit Dee Cee? You see, I've never been. And I haven't considered it to be all that much of a loss, either, I might add. The husband has and he tells me it's a wonderful experience and that when we go, at some distant point in the future, we have to block off at least six days to tour the Smithsonian. But it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to visit the nation's capitol when the residents are such unrelenting snots. One thing I hear over and over again from residents is how inappropriately people are dressed when they visit the monuments. I've listened to people whine on about the horror of the fanny pack. How no one should wear shorts (even in the summer) to visit any of the museums. How if Congress was really Republican they'd ban the wearing of tank tops. Ad nauseaum, ad infinitum. If you Dee Cee residents would like people to dress appropriately, perhaps you should have a fleet of maitre'd's patrolling all the entrances to town, handing out coats and ties to everyone you deem is dressed inappropriately. Otherwise, you should, perhaps, just perhaps, realize the unwashed masses out here in the rest of the country foot the bill for your largesse. And that perhaps, just perhaps, that might mean you should shut the fuck up, eh?

America is a big country. That there are many, many different styles of dress and behavior that are deemed appropriate enough elsewhere in the country. Dee Cee is a very small place. The rest of the country is huge. You're outnumbered, people. Lighten up.

Posted by Kathy at August 8, 2005 10:56 PM | TrackBack

Couldn't agree with ya more, lady!! We (the unwashed masses) do foot the bill for DC. On our visit a few years ago, we saw all kinds. Oddly enough, the best dressed people were people not from the USA,,,go figure!

Posted by: Michele at August 9, 2005 07:38 AM

As you know, I was in DC in March. It wasn't too terribly cold, but not too warm either. I dressed comfortably - comfortably - for the weather because you are constantly going in and out of places when you are in DC.

The Lincoln Memorial is more of an outdoor venue than indoor (that huge opening in the front means that it is super cool in the winter and super hot in the summer). Perhaps one should just always wear 3 layers of wool in DC to show the proper amount of respect to the founding fathers? Bullshit!

The fact of the matter is that all of the monuments evoke their own awe. The Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, The WWII Memorial, The Vietnam Wall...these aren't party places. They demand quiet respect and even tears. It hardly matters what you wear when you are moved to tears.

I say that it is more important to visit DC at least once in your life than a custom haberdasher. Our founding fathers may have been fancy fops and gentlemen farmers, but I suspect they'd come down on the side of more people getting the education than "dressing appropriately."

Actually, that whole "dressing appropriately" thing is crap. No where, the whole time I was in DC, did I see any posted dress code. Furthermore, I didn't see anyone who I would have considered poorly dressed. Now, granted, I was there in March and not August. Not exactly peak time. But if this smug holier-than-the-great-unwashed-masses jerk can't see that DC derives existence from the masses, he ought to move to some foreign tyranny. Besides which, would it be better if the tourists were dropping dead from heat exhaustion on the mall? Now that would surely sell tickets.

Seriously though, don't miss DC. It is spectacular and moving. I loved the International Spy Museum.

Posted by: Phoenix at August 9, 2005 07:50 AM

I live in DC and I can tell you that the locals hardly qualify as fashion plates. (Myself included, BTW.) Kathy, come to DC anytime. There are some truly nice folks who don't care about how you dress.

Posted by: debra at August 9, 2005 11:04 AM

I was in tie and jacket when I went to visit the mall and pay my respects at the various war memorials. Probably over dressed, but still.

Posted by: RP at August 9, 2005 02:56 PM

Come visit us! Wear whatever you feel comfortable wearing. . . snobs are always louder and ruder than everyone else, no matter what city you're in.

Posted by: Sarah at August 10, 2005 03:09 PM
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