In 1957 the American Institute of Men's and Boys' Wear began running print ads that sought to increase sales of men's clothing by using outright shame and scare tactics. Their message to men was that if you don't dress better you'll be a loser and an embarrassment to your family and friends.
Playing on social fears had long been a staple in advertising aimed at women, but hadn't really been seen in ads for men — at least, not done so blatantly. So the ads generated quite a bit of controversy. For instance, they prompted the following editorial in the Brownwood Bulletin
(Dec 30, 1957):
I understand that the manufacturers of men's and boys' clothing are fretting right smart these days because Paw and Sonny are not buying enough wearing garments. they note that in the past 10 years spending for autos has increased 133 per cent and for male clothing only four per cent.
So they have got themselves organized and are blowing in all kinds of cash trying to educate the menfolks on the value of being properly garbed.
They are running ads, for instance, showing Teenage Daughter appealing tearfully to Mom: "Couldn't Daddy stay upstairs when Jimmy comes for me?" Or Young Husband telling his smock-clad wife, "I didn't get the promotion, Tom did." Or Big Boss saying earnestly, "John we are putting a new man in your territory."
Frankly, I think this is Grade A garbage, and I predict the pants peddlers are going to find the American male is tough to brainwash. Hit him with the slogan, "You can't afford not to dress right," and he'll come back with one of his own: "You can't suit everyone."
In the first place, a lot of men don't care how their clothes look. They are dogs and they are satisified if you toss them an old herringbone now and then. You won't change them any more than you will make a clotheshorse out of the boy who hasn't yet found out that girls can be more interesting than frogs and fishhooks.
In the second place, papa's pocketbook is taking a bigger beating than ever before from the piper, the baker, the hair dresser, the TV repairman, the grocer, etc. He's having to make that 1954 suit do from necessity. And if there should be anything left over, he'd a sight rather blow it on a new spinning reel than an Ivy League jacket.
My advice to the hungry haberdashery huckster is to get out of men's wear into something feminine. Our lady folk, bless them, will buy a bundle of glad rags quicker than you can say "20 per cent off." And Daddy-O will growl but he'll love 'em for it.
News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M493, September 18, 2016
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
What Goes Around, Comes Around: One of the Islamic State's first reforms in captured territory has been to require adult women to dress devoutly--including the face-covering burka robe, which, in Western democracies famously presents security dilemmas because it hinders identification. Now, after two years of Islamic State occupation in Mosul, Iraq, the security problem has come full circle on ISIS itself. Dispatches from the town reported in September that ISIS has likely banned the burka because it hinders identification of anti-ISIS insurgents who (female and male) wear burkas to sneak up on Islamic State officers. [Jerusalem Post, 9-6-2016
Barbara Murphy, 64, of Roy, Utah, is the most recent "dead" person battling the federal government to prove she is still alive (but seemingly getting nowhere). She said Social Security Administration bureaucrats, citing protocols, have been tight-lipped about her problem and remedies even though her bank account was frozen; Social Security was dunning her for two years worth of Medicare premiums (since her 2014 "death"); and warning letters had been sent to banks and credit agencies. Nonetheless, Murphy told the Deseret News
in August that, all in all, she feels pretty good despite being dead. [Deseret News, 8-25-2016
Political connections in some Latin American countries have allowed convicted drug dealers and crime bosses to serve their sentences comfortably, and the most recent instance to make the news, from Agence France-Presse, was the presidential-suite-type "cell" occupied by Brazilian drug lord Jarvic Chimenes Pavao in Paraguay. When police (apparently not "politically connected") raided the cell in July, they found a well-appointed apartment with semi-luxurious furniture settings (including a conference table for Pavao to conduct "business"), embellished wallpaper designs with built-in bookcases, a huge TV among the latest electronics--and even a handsome shoe rack holding Pavao's footwear selection. Pavao also rented out part of the suite to other inmates for the equivalent of $5,000 plus $600 weekly rent. [Agence France-Presse via BBC News, 7-30-2016
Sounds Familiar: (1) Chris Atkins in Denver, Colo., is among the most recent judicially-ruled "fathers" to owe child support even though DNA tests have proven that another man's semen produced the child. Atkins is in the middle of a contentious divorce/child custody battle in which his estranged wife wants both custody and support payments, and since Atkins did not contest his fatherhood until the child reached age 11, he has lost legal standing. (2) A high school girl and her parents told the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat
in July that they were on the verge of filing a lawsuit demanding that the school district order the Leon High School cheerleader squad to select her (even though she had fallen twice during tryouts). [KDVR-TV (Denver), 7-27-2016
] [Tallahassee Democrat, 7-18-2016
Least Competent Criminals: Boyd Wiley, 47, was arrested in August when he walked in to the Putnam County (Fla.) Sheriff's office and, apparently in all seriousness, demanded that deputies return the 91 marijuana plants they had unearthed from a vacant lot in the town of Interlachen several days earlier. (Until that moment, deputies did not know whose plants they were.) Wiley was told that growing marijuana is illegal in Florida and was arrested. [Patch.com, 8-14-2016
Not a Techie: The most recent perp to realize that cops use Facebook is Mack Yearwood, 42, who ignored a relative's advice and uploaded his Citrus County, Fla., wanted poster for his Facebook profile picture, thus energizing deputies who, until then, had no leads on his whereabouts. He was caught a day later and faces a battery complaint and several open arrest warrants. [WFLX-TV (West Palm Beach, Fla.) via Fox News, 9-2-2016
Texan Monica Riley, age 27 and weighing 700 lbs., is the most recent "super-sized" woman to claim happiness in exhibiting herself semi-nude for "fans" (she claims 20,000) who watch online as morbidly obese people eat. She told the celebrity news site Barcroft Media in September that her 8,000 calories a day puts her on track to weigh 1,000 lbs. soon, and that her loving boyfriend, Sid, 25 and a "feeder," is turned on by helping her. Sid, for instance, feeds Monica her special 3,500-calorie "shake"--through a funnel--and supposedly will eagerly become her caretaker when she eats herself into total immobility. ("Safe For Work" website: SSBBW Magazine
) [Barcroft Media via Daily Mail (London), 9-6-2016
No Longer Weird
Another DIY Overkill: Police in Centralia, Wash., arrested a man (not identified in news reports) for reckless burning in August when, trying to rid his apartment of roaches, he declined ordinary aerosol bug spray in favor of making a homemade flamethrower (the aerosol spray fired up by a lighter). He fled the apartment when he realized he might have taken things too far. (Firefighters were called, but the damage was minimal.) [The Oregonian, 8-8-2016
Population grows; goods must be hauled; traffic congestion is worse; and thus trucks keep spilling their loads on the highways. The really weird ones have set the bar perhaps unattainably high for this genre of news (e.g., the truck spilling pornographic magazines; the truck hauling ham colliding with the truck hauling eggs). In September, a tractor-trailer overturned on Interstate 295 in New Castle, Del., spilling a particularly low-value load. The truck, headed for the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, was filled with 22 tons worth of increasingly-shunned U.S. pennies, but these were even less useful (though perhaps, by metal content, more valuable!) because they were not-yet-engraved "blanks." [WPVI-TV (Philadelphia), 9-8-2016
Roy Pearson, a former District of Columbia administrative law judge, may be the only person in America who believes that his 2005 $54 million unsuccessful lawsuit against his dry cleaners was not frivolous--and he has still not come to the end of his legal odyssey. In June 2016, a D.C. Bar disciplinary committee recommended that Pearson be placed on probation for two years because of ethics violations, including having made statements "unsupported" by facts when defending his contention that the cleaners' "satisfaction guaranteed" warranty made it liable for various negative occurrences in Pearson's life following the loss of a pair of pants at the store. Not surprisingly, Pearson, now age 65, announced that he would challenge the committee recommendation. [Washington Post, 6-8-2016
Russian performance artist Petr Pavlensky's most infamous moment was in 2013 when, to protest government oppression, he nailed his scrotum to the ground at Moscow's Red Square. (He had also once sewn his lips shut and, at another time, set fire to a door at Russia's FSB security headquarters.) In August, the Burger King company announced a series of four limited-edition sandwiches inspired by Pavlensky for the artist's hometown of St. Petersburg. The scrotum performance, for example, will marked by an egg "nailed" to a burger by plastic spear. A company spokesperson said Pavlensky was chosen as the inspiration because he is popular with "the masses." [Moscow Times via The Guardian (London), 8-31-2016
Once again, Iceland's "little people" have, when disrespected, roiled the country's public policy. In August, a road crew had inadvertently buried a supposedly-enchanted elfin rock along a highway being cleared of debris from a landslide, and immediately, all misfortunes in the area were attributed to the elves' displeasure. According to an Agence France-Presse dispatch, crews were quickly ordered to re-set the rock. (The incident was one more in a long series in which public and private funds in Iceland are routinely diverted toward projects thought to appease the elves.) [Agence France-Presse via Daily Telegraph (London), 8-30-2016
A News of the Weird Classic (November 2012)
Former Arkansas state legislator Charlie Fuqua is running again [in 2012] after a 14-year absence from elective office. In the interim, reported the Arkansas Times
, he wrote a book, "God’s Law: The Only Political Solution,” reminding Christians that they could put their rebellious children to death as long as proper procedure (from Deuteronomy 21:18-21) was followed. “Even though this [procedure] would rarely be used,” Fuqua wrote, “if it were the law of the land . . . it would be a tremendous incentive for children to give proper respect to their parents.” (Fuqua failed to gain his party's nomination.) [Arkansas Times, 10-8-2012]
Thanks This Week to Rob Zimmer, Larry Neer, Jens Lund, and Jim Weber and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.