November 09, 2023
Source: Public Domain
I spotted a tiny faux pas, as they say in the land of cheese and garlic, and only mention it for the follow-up. I was watching a black-and-white movie made in 1948 starring Gale Storm, a beautiful young American actress in her debut role, when in a scene she exits an elevator accompanied by three men all wearing fedoras. Believe it or not, it could not have happened in real life. All men wore hats back then, and all men removed them when a lady—make that any woman—entered an elevator, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It was so customary to take one’s hat off that even today, some seventy years later, it struck me when I saw the actors exiting a lift with their hats on while accompanying a lady.
Men still wear hats today, but they’re baseball caps, and I don’t know a single moron who doesn’t wear one. Mind you, there’s a hell of a lot of non-morons who also wear them, but I’m keeping it personal. People I know who wear baseball caps I try to avoid as much as possible, and I only make an exception when the wearer has a MAGA cap on. No, I’m not for Trump because he lacks dignity, but I like the people who are for him, the ones the permanent state ensconced in D.C. sees as cannon fodder or worse. Some caps are donned to maintain an incognito yet cool air, with Harry and Meghan rarely without them.
Never mind, and enough about hats and caps, I’m here to tell you about a slob who makes Harvey Weinstein look like Beau Brummell. He’s a first-time United States senator, John Fetterman, a Democrat from Pennsylvania. The hulking 6-foot-8 politician wears a baggy hoodie and large black shorts in the Senate foyer while he votes, and for a short time he was allowed by that other vulgarian Chuck Schumer to enter the chamber dressed in that manner. Low-grade behavior is nothing new among today’s politicians, but Fetterman does take the proverbial cake for bad taste and manners. It used to be said that clothes make the man, but in today’s egalitarian culture this might sound like elitism, heaven forbid. Fetterman had a major stroke just before he got elected in 2020. At least that’s an excuse. Schumer allowing him inside the chamber wearing shorts and sneakers proves how low our politicians have sunk.
Here’s a story that might charm those of you who still respect dress standards: The writer is Lance Morrow—yes, a perfect name for the terrific and wonderful writer for Time magazine that he was—and it’s an account of his time as a teenage page boy in the U.S. Senate in the early 1950s. (About twenty years ago I sat next to him and his wife at a dinner, and I fell madly in love with her; alas, I never saw either of them again.) “Massachusetts’s Leverett Saltonstall, of Mayflower stock, stood ramrod straight, with neat, steel-gray hair and a pronounced Plantagenet jaw; he looked like an aristocratic lobsterman. Nearby sat Clyde Roark Hoey of North Carolina, an upcountry Confederate antique who wore a wing collar and a black string tie. Then there was LBJ of Texas, the Senate Minority leader. Lyndon Johnson was radiant with vulgar opulence, his shirts monogrammed with his initials on each French cuff.”
Well, people no longer write as elegantly as this, and senators certainly don’t dress like their superior antecedents. The archaic dignity that Morrow reminisces about says it all about what’s happened to America. What used to be a respected chamber has turned into a smelly gym. (Thank God Schumer and Fetterman have for the moment been told off, but the walls of respectability have been breached.)
It is obvious that reminiscing about the past will not bring it back, but looking around me here in New York never ceases to upset me when I compare it with what used to be. Some places have been transformed into a zombie apocalypse, with strung-out drug addicts smoking crack and injecting junk into their arms in broad daylight. Fragmented families, degeneracy, crime, sleaze—you name it, big American cities have it. There’s porn everywhere and mass killings in schools and nightclubs. And let’s not forget shoplifting, wrong-way cyclists, and illegal pot-vending stores everywhere.
What takes the cake, however, is Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen. How would you like it if you were rich-and-famous Charlie and were just informed that your 19-year old daughter Sami had begun her career as a sex worker? They used to be called prostitutes, but now euphemisms are the rage. Here’s his reaction as told to Bustle: “Oh, this can only go bad.” Poor Charlie. He then recovered and added, “She’s doing this and it can only be a much more successful and pleasant experience with the support of myself, her mom [Denise Richards], and others.”
All I can say is “Wow!” Hollywood must be doing something right where children of the rich and famous are concerned. And let’s not forget the message it sends to us with every crummy picture that is released. This is America today. Not a bad time to move to Albania.