Judging (was Re: Merlin (with spoilers) Grundo, Coercion)

Ven vendersleighc at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 8 14:27:07 EDT 2003

Charles wrote

>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 
>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.>

You've certainly identified the problem there!
Thinking again on the subject, of course clothes
do communicate stuff about the wearer that the
wearer intends -- as well as what they don't.
However I do think they are unsafe as an
indicator of character, the fundamental character
of a person -- are they pleasant, trustworthy,
intelligent etc. Also, although it may be
possible to identify membership of some group
(class, deviant subculture, race) from a person's
clothing this again won't tell you about their


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