Saturday, August 26, 2006

This Is Pretty Saggy Logic To Me

I had ignored this story for a few days, because the headlines didn't make it seem all that out-of-the-ordinary: "Dallas goes after saggy pants." No big deal, I thought to myself; the school board can certainly do that if it wants to. Sure, I'm not really a fan of extremely restrictive dress codes (in other words, I don't think an occasional untucked shirt will bring about the unraveling of society), but I'll also admit that I've never seen the appeal of the saggy-pants thing, and I know most schools have outlawed that particular look.

But then I realized that I hadn't been reading the articles too carefully; it wasn't that the school board wanted to ban them in schools--as a matter of fact, they already have--but rather that a Dallas school board trustee, Ron Price, wants the Dallas City Council to pass an ordinance that cites people for wearing their pants "too low."

Can I get a collective "Huh?" from the audience?

But sadly, this isn't a joke:
A proposal to ban saggy pants in Dallas gained steam Wednesday as City Council members discussed how to deal with the popular clothing trend.

Several council members voiced support and asked the city attorney's office to research whether such a rule is enforceable.
Dallas school trustee Ron Price recommended the ban at Wednesday's council meeting, following through on a plan he announced Tuesday. Mr. Price wants the city to create an ordinance to allow police to cite people who wear their pants too low.

"Too low," he said, allows too much underwear to show.
There's no way in the world that this will actually become law, but if it did, what would be next--beachfront cities passing legislation outlawing Speedos on really fat guys? (I'm not saying that's a bad idea in principle, but a law? Let's get real here.)

I really can't believe that Price wasn't laughed out of the meeting for bringing this up, but instead, some people actually took him seriously:
Most of the nine council members who addressed Mr. Price at the meeting said the idea merits discussion. Some said an ordinance was needed, while others felt a public campaign involving the city, schools, parents and the community would be the way to go. Some of the 14 council members said nothing.

Two who spoke – Angela Hunt and Gary Griffith – opposed using police to enforce a ban.
Perhaps the best way to respond to something so ludicrous is by not dignifying it with a response at all.

Is this style of dress annoying? Sure. But do we really need to get the police involved in enforcing it? Surely not. The time when the council should be devoting the city's resources to something like this would be when crime levels are nonexistent, when all the potholes are fixed, there's not a homeless problem downtown, the police and firefighters are paid the same as their suburban other words, not anytime soon. Board member Price may think he's building political capital by doing something like this, but it's only making Dallas a laughingstock, just as was the case a few weeks ago in Arlington, when the school district banned cleavage earlier this month (and if you think I'm kidding about the laughingstock part, you should know that, while searching for a link to the story, I found one in an Australian newspaper under the heading of "World Wide Weird").

And besides, any ordinance like this would be on shaky legal ground:
Kimi King, associate professor of political science at the University of North Texas, said Dallas would have greater justification for creating such an ordinance if it could tie it to a problem of public lewdness or criminal activity.
Dr. King, an expert on civil rights legislation, said the city would have to show that it's not targeting only young males, the group most likely to wear sagging pants. And if challenged on whether such a measure would prevent public lewdness, she said, the city would have to explain why other clothing items weren't also prohibited.
"A judge would say, 'Why not enforce halter tops or shorts that are too short?' " she said. "You're picking on one group and singling them out."
I certainly hope that sanity prevails in this case; I may not like the look myself, but I'm even more offended by a government entity appointing itself the Fashion Police. Why don't we stick to the real problems, OK?

Cool gadget of the week: How about a street-legal, jet-powered VW Beetle?

Runner-up for the cool gadget of the week: This looks like a Swiss Army knife on steroids.

Stupid criminal of the week: When you're going to court to answer to a DUI charge, it's probably not a good idea to show up drunk.

Stormy weather: Yeah, we need some rain here in Texas (as well as the "cold front" that we're supposed to get tomorrow that will drop tempearatures all the way down to the mid 90's), but I think most of America would agree that we don't need any sort of tropical "event" to accomplish that. (I wonder how many people from New Orleans looked at this and thought, "oh no, not again.")


Anonymous said...

Kinda scary for those of us who had to read Farenheit 451, etc. years ago and thought "how stupid is this"? Getting closer, aren't we?

Stork said...

Love the jet-engine VW!!! Kudos.