What You Will

Another Burma Shave billboard on the information superhighway. Random thoughts about arts, faith, culture, music, language, literature, and the shortcomings of the Hegelian dialectic. (OK, just kidding about that last bit.)

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Location: Edmonds, Washington, United States

I wonder what goes in this space?


Who wears the pants?

We've all observed the 20-year fashion trend of young men wearing their trousers with the waistband well below the waist — around the thighs or even the knees. We're told this practice is observed in imitation of rap and hip-hop artists, and I hear it can be further traced to prison inmates, who aren't allowed to wear belts and therefore must walk around the prison yard with their pants falling down.

I wonder if I could bring a halt to this trend by announcing my discovery that it has a much older antecedent, about as far removed from rap and hip-hop as possible: Check out the costume in this 1950s clip of comedian and old-time banjo picker David "Stringbean" Akeman, a longtime fixture on the Grand Ole Opry and a denizen of "Hee Haw" until his death in 1973. Would it give today's young men pause to know that their look is as much hayseed as it is hip-hop?

Apart from the pants, Stringbean has something else in common with some rap artists: he died in a hail of bullets, gunned down at his Tennessee cabin, along with his wife, by two men who were after the $20,000 in cash Stringbean had stashed behind a brick in the chimney. Obviously, nothing good comes of wearing your pants this way, no matter what style of music you play.


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