Merlin (with spoilers) Grundo, Coercion

Charles Butler hannibal at
Tue Jun 3 12:16:56 EDT 2003

> Sally, on her daughter
> <She opined (very PC) that you should
> never judge people by the way
> they dress. I opine that anyone who wears a
> threatening scowl and jingles
> with chains and has nasty comments tattooed on
> their hands is likely to be
> treated with caution -  and with good reason.>

> But Sally, the threatening scowl isn't an item of
> dress nor IMO are the nasty tattoos.........
> Clothing however is surely a much less reliable
> indicator of character -- whether its smart,
> scruffy or just plain weird.

This judging people by their clothes is a tricky one (so much like judging
books by their covers - and we all know that's a no-no, don't we? Even
though covers are designed to make us do just that).

I wonder if things have changed over the years? Once upon a time clothes
were chosen less for personal preference than in accordance with societal
norms about one's status and what was considered appropriate to a particular
occasion. Nowadays they seem to be claimed as an expression of individual
taste, mood and personality. And yet it's now (when when such a judgement
might seem to be most invited) that we are warned against judging people by
the clothes they choose. Why? I ask in true perplexity as one who has never
really understood fashion at all. I suppose the statements people use
clothes to make might be false ones - but then if they tell sartorial lies
they can hardly complain if they're believed, any more than if they tell
verbal ones.


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