re: “dressing up” in formal attire

At many times in our lives, we are called upon by those in our social
circles to do silly things which we don’t want to do. Donning formal
duds is one of these silly things.

Formal clothing, which is by far less functional and comfortable
than more casual wear, is often recommended or required for
certain occasions.  It is not requisite because it changes a person
into a conformist drone, which giving in and wearing a suit, etc.,
often does, or for the purpose of emphasizing and augmenting
the awe of sacredness of an event, though this is likely what was
originally intended by such formalities.

The primary reason formal attire is expected is because it is expected.
Tradition is a self-fullfilling prophecy.

For dozens of centuries, dressing up has been enforced by the
familial, organizational, and governmental powers that be as a means
of social control.  Our garments separate humans from other so
called “lesser animals”, and identify our individual levels of ambition,
pride, wealth, power, status, and insecurity (which is the need to be
accepted completely by society.)

Unlike other uniforms, like Gis, camouflage fatigues, police outfits,
and firefighting gear, suits, dresses, and tuxedos do not by any means
grant functionality in their respective situations.  Indeed, these restrict
movement, preventing the wearer from being totally at ease during
occasions of a social nature, exactly where one should be at ease,
as opposed to occupational environments and the like.

Considering the amount of skill, and monetary and material resources
necessary to construct a unit of formal garb, they are grossly
overpriced, unless bought used, wholesale, etc., in which cases,
although less expensive, formal wear is still not as wise purchase,
considering the limited number of venues where it can feasibly be worn.

Despite all of these facts, however, most people feel the need to
dress up and promote such actions in others.  They feel that when
they elaborately adorn themselves with face paint, hair sprays, chains,
ties (which I liken to leashes), hard shoes, and synthetic fibers, they
are “putting on their best” and showing their respect for themselves,
others, and the situation.  I feel that they are only observing dogmatic,
habitual roles in the name of tradition and denying their primitive origins.

In closing, I am adamantly opposed to mindless conformity, am not
bothered by looking “out of place”, don’t enjoy or plan to attend many
formal events, and would prefer to wear comfortable, functional,
versatile, and economical threads which express my individual tastes
and beliefs.  However, when necessary, in order to avoid harassment
and to make everyone else happy, I have been known to make the
minimal effort required to appear “presentable”.

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I am a logical, open-minded, liberal, progressive, radical, green, independent individual living in the heart of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, amongst apparently brainwashed conservative southern Baptist Republican zombies. I'm tired of the lies of the government and their media mouthpieces and their corporate masters. I'm tired of the cheating and the stealing and the killing. I'm ready for the future. But the only way we are going to fix things is to all band together and say NO MORE! We have to start punishing the rich white collar criminals as harshly as the poor black blue-collar criminals, if not more so. And I'm tired of cults (AKA religions). They are dangerous, divisive, and delusional. We should evolve past religions towards a global humanitarian ethics. We should move away from a new world order and get back to city states with local democracy, power, food, and water.

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Posted in ceremony, conformity, lifestyle, markbaland, tradition

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May 1995
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Mark Baland


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