Was Turning America Casual A Communist Plot?

I’ve been toying with this post for years. I mean years. It is not going to be popular among many here. I know that. Given previous discussion on the topic to be delved, the concepts and facts to be presented are going to be hard to swallow.

But, in the course of recent days, all things are pointing to actually committing these thoughts to bytes.

For some time, the not so gradual descent of civility in public life has been, to put it mildly, noticed. Even just going to the gas station recently was an exercise in watching my fellow Midwesterners display little to no driving manners. I almost got hit twice in the gas station itself. (Paid $2.98 before anyone asks.)

And that’s just at the gas station, let alone the highway, the mall, the grocery store, and more.

After thinking about it for a while, it did occur that all of this incivility that did not exist decades ago, before we went so casual, seems to be a result of a lack of formality in just about everything. I mean, when people were expected to present themselves as if they cared, the caring seemed to extend to basic manners.

One of the only perks of cold weather in these parts is that while walking on a treadmill (rather than outside where I prefer to be) I watch/listen to videos that I’ve been neglecting during the warmer days. There’s only so many hours in a day, and videos – even those with merit – are more or less at the bottom of the priority list with a couple exceptions, and even then it’s background noise for other tasks. (I take multi-tasking seriously.)

So, imagine my surprise (I swear this was Divine Intervention) that the DAY AFTER I started jotting down notes for this post, a Brian Holdsworth video in which I had not indulged, which very much addresses the topic, popped into my feed when I had ten minutes left in my workout, and the video I was watching had ended.

Mr. Holdsworth is actually Canadian, and very much a flower child turning philosopher, and in this video he walks the watcher through the fall from formality (and by extension, manners) in the eyes of men’s fashion.

He begins the video talking about conspiracy theories and his own thoughts on them.

The next remarks have to do with something I’ve also noticed: as the influence of Christianity has waned, people are more easily persuaded that external appearances don’t reflect internal thoughts and matters. That being the case, people become more accepting of “unconventional external appearances.”

Mr. Holdsworth goes on to talk about one of my favorite topics, and that previous cultures driven by Christianity were more driven to exemplify beauty and virtue in their external appearance. Our ancestors believed that our highest good was to be virtuous, and they strove to exemplify beauty and virtue in everything they did.

In attempting to achieve this, previous generations looked to nobility for how to present themselves as virtuous as the nobility were supposedly virtuous. (Well…there were rare specimens who were, but for the most part….)

This inspired men to dress well, or at least not in work clothes for non-work occasions.

In the twentieth century, human priorities have changed, to an extent, from striving for virtue to self-affirmation and self fulfillment, and that puts pressure on society to accept eccentricities. There really is no longer an outward standard by which to judge.

And then Mr. Holdsworth goes into the Marxist/Communist angle.

He starts with the “bourgeois,” essentially the upper middle class, which Marxism seeks to eradicate, or at least bring down to the level of the factory and farm worker. (The fact that many of the people in that social stratum work long hours is lost. What is attacked is the uniform, the symbol of it.) The word bourgeois was used repeatedly to associate the uniform of the middle class with greed and soullessness, and that included dressing up or in finer attire. The message being that for the projection of virtue, the person would adopt the uniform of the proletariat, or the “working man,” which was jeans and a casual shirt.

Apparently, in the 1961 Soviet textile guide, blue jeans were the uniform of the worker, and in all propagandist materials coming from the Soviets and other Marxist regimes, that concept is part of the visual messaging. It is noble and desirable even if one is not a factory or farm worker. Holdsworth also mentions that in George Orwell’s 1984, which is looking more and more like a how to manual all the time, the uniform for both men and women was blue overalls, thus erasing the distinction of all in the name of equality.

And then something happened in the twentieth century. Americans and Canadians had not formally adopted communism at all. Something had to change culturally, and for that we look to Hollywood. A visible shift, I understand, happened in the 1950s where suits and ties were replaced with far more casual attire. (Being a member of Generation X, it was already well established by the time some of us came around.)

Mr. Holdsworth proposes it begins with two movies where the main characters’ costuming became influential in men’s fashion. Before he could say the titles, I am not ashamed to say I named them both: The Wild One (1952) and Rebel Without A Cause (1955). Not having actually watched either film all the way through, I’ll have to take Holdsworth’s word that women wanted to be with the rebellious characters or men who dressed like rebels, but it definitely would display a new fashion sense that would end the desire to dress with a sense of nobility.

What I did not know that both films were directed by avowed communists, one of whom was blackballed in Hollywood following the McCarthy hearings. Rebel Without A Cause was directed by Nicholas Ray who wrote a column in college called “The Bolshevist” and was a radio propagandist during World War II who made films for the U.S. Military before being discharged for having communist sympathies. The Wild One was directed by one Lazlo Benedek who was a Hungarian communist. One of the screenwriters on that film was also eventually blacklisted.

I do agree with Mr. Holdsworth that those two films were just two among many in the 1950s that portrayed working men, or those who were not bourgeois or in traditionally heroic lines of work as the heroes, if they really were rather than just the proverbial bad boy who would have been shunned in the era of Jane Austen. Two that came to mind immediately were “On the Waterfront,” which was anti-communist, actually, and “The African Queen.” In both cases, the hero was a working man, not a desk jockey.

And that being the case, we have moved away from being people preoccupied with maintaining virtue to people more content to pursue economic and material pursuits, adorning ourselves with the uniform of the proletariat.

What follows the shift from striving for virtue to striving for material success, then, is a lack of the need to respect others.

And that leads to incivility.

It is not lost on this writer that in an ironic twist, all, or most anyway, of the work colleagues I’ve had over the decades from the former eastern bloc countries were incredibly formal in dress, address, correspondence and more. It was the westerners who presented themselves as slobs, and dropped any formal salutations.

The original working title of this piece was “what price casual.” Thanks to Mr. Holdsworth, the concept that casual was sold to Americans where image is everything, and style over substance became convention is not that hard to grasp.

P.S. Brian Holdsworth is now boycotting jeans as a fashion choice, joining a number of us who have done the same within the last decade.

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Ozzytrumpster

Oddly churchmouse had a similar theme this am
Have we lost the lively art of conversation?by churchmouse
ps. $2.98? Were you filling a thimble?

Ozzytrumpster

It’s the taxes that make up the bulk of the bowser price.

SteveInCO · Thermonuclear MAGA

That was per gallon (and a US gallon is smaller than the Imperial gallon you might be thinking of).

singularzoe

DELETED BY REQUEST

holly

Great post DP! Completely agree about the “casual” in terms of personal appearance.

My neighbor grew up on a dairy farm. He remembers when his dad needed to go into town, he would always get washed up and put on clean clothes. That was 50 years ago.

Today, it’s easy to spot the farmers in town because they are wearing their work clothing and boots. Not to pick on farmers, but just a comparison I found interesting.

Last edited 1 year ago by holly
Linda

Church is the one place where I’ve been shocked at what people wear. I wear jeans a lot at home because I’m usually working in the yard or around the house or walking my dog. And I don’t like getting good clothes messy. But I don’t wear them to church.

GA/FL

Heck – IMO strapless gowns and dresses in church and weddings are inappropriate.

To everyone in church sitting behind a female in a strapless dress, with no clothing visible above the back of the pew, she appears to have come to church naked.

singularzoe

Going to try to post again after my accidental one when I apparently typped my email in the wrong field. I loved this post, and I write a long response about how formal things were until my early adult life–after first year of college when I had dresses but we all began gradually to abandon them for pants. I am glad to be in a church where we wear dresses, though a big adjustment when one has gained weight, but my grandmother always wore a nice dress every single day, even doing housework, and she weighed more than I did, bless her.

holly

Both of my grandmothers wore dresses exclusively. My mother still wears dresses, but only to church.

singularzoe

We haven’t addressed DPat’s question about whether it’s a communist plot. I read something in high school wwhich was called something like, Communist Rules for Revolution, which reminds me of the forty goals we’ve all read about. Well, I remember believing they were going to follow those rules or goals, including making men effeminate, and I said way back then, “That’ll never happen to the guys in My school. Then when I went to university and took a feminist class and we were confronted with MS magazine for starters, and all the crazy feminist lit (I read The Feminist Mystique, and I was pretty worried where things might be going. The communists wanted to break down the family, get rid of parental authority. I used to tease my dad with feminist talking points, but I never agreed with any of it. They infected the education systems and even the churches. Thank God for Phyllis Schlaffley. Wish we had her back.

Wolf Moon | Threat to Demonocracy

Yes. Absolutely it WAS a communist plot.

And those commies get ANGRY when people stand up against it!

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Charlie

Angry that Pence stood with that stupid smile. He is no man among men.

Gail Combs

The security guards had a dress code at one of the plants I worked at. In addition to the uniform they had to wear BLACK SOCKS. One of the guards showed up with brown socks and was immediately fired. He complained bitterly to me. So WHY the firing?

Because if he can not follow such a simple command, what else is he going to mess up or slack-off on?

Gail Combs

Agreed it was a Communist plot…. Or perhaps I should say a BANKSTER PLOT since they were the ones FUNDING COMMUNISM!

Casual dress also goes with the ‘sloppy’ child-rearing practices introduced before that.

Wisdom from the Bible:

Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
Proverbs 22:15  Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
Proverbs 23:13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.

Proverbs 29:15  The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
…..

And yet we are now told that spanking and even yelling at a child is child abuse. 🙄

5 Psychological Effects of Yelling at a Child

For parents, it can be very annoying and frustrating when children don’t follow instructions. Many parents resort to yelling, believing their loud voice will make them comply. No doubt, it works sometimes. However, in the long run, there are some psychological effects of yelling at a child. 

These effects can be very devastating to the extent that the child suffers from low self-esteem; they can also affect the child’s personal development and other areas of life….

.

.

.

So when you see your child doing what you don’t like, and you start getting angry and feeling like yelling, walk away. This gives you the room to catch your breath, calm down, reassess the situation, and think of what you can do instead of raising your voice….

….talk to him or her about how you feel and encourage your child to always share his or her feelings with you. 

When your child misbehaves, strongly talk to him or her, but choose your words wisely….

Just talk to your child about acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. Get down to his or her eye level when talking, as doing this creates a strong bond in communication.

 

I do not have kids, but I have watched a heck of a lot of parent – child interaction. Unless the child has already been taught to RESPECT his parent, talking is completely useless. TALK has to be backed with REAL CONSEQUENCES for bad behavior or the kid learns to completely ignore the parent and will continue to do as THEY wish.

So where did this shift from actually discipline to touchy-feelly crap (Notice the emphasis on FEELINGS)

The Hand that Rocked the Cradle: A Critical Analysis of Rockefeller Philanthropic Funding, 1920-1960

Past research into the mental hygiene movement in Canada and the United States has tended to view it in isolation from co-temporary projects funded by Rockefeller philanthropy, such as mass communications research. The mental hygiene campaign aimed to modify adult-child relations by reducing the influence parents and teachers held over children’s personality development; the central aim of mass communications research was the development of conformity of opinion. One a project of social engineering, the other of social control, the two projects combined appear to have possessed considerable potential to work in concert to shift weight in the socializing matrix from families and schools to the media at the outset of the post-World War II baby boom.

He who sees things from their beginnings will have the finest view of them.” – Aristotle

One never has to delve very deeply into the literature on child-rearing in Canada or the United States from the 1920s through the 1950s to find the hand of Rockefeller philanthropy supporting individuals or organizations involved in the production or dissemination of child-rearing knowledge, especially the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund….

In this article, I argue that Rockefeller philanthropy fundamentally controlled psychological discourse concerning child-rearing and pedagogical practices in post-World War II Canada and the United States. The philanthropy’s officers were, in essence, funding support for a particular psychological approach to matters concerning children so extensively and effectively that they in effect shaped the consensus for the “modern” child-rearing philosophy typified by Blatz and Laycock in Canada and Arnold Gesell and Benjamin Spock in the United States……

Overlapping this interest in family and school, communications research likewise became a funding priority for Rockefeller philanthropy in the 1930s. At the same time as Rockefeller-supported hygienists were attempting to guide the psychological and social development of children through their parents and teachers, Rockefeller-funded programs in communications were emerging which, as media historian William J. Buxton has noted, assumed as their primary concern, “how minds were reached – and controlled – externally, through the intricate web of communications.”[3] Thus, of the four key domains in the socializing matrix for children – family, school, media, and peer group – all but the latter group were of interest to Rockefeller philanthropy, a condition that makes it pertinent to examine the role played by the philanthropy in the origins and development of the mental hygiene movement and mass communications research conjointly, as well as individually, in assessing the involvement of the philanthropy in the post-World War II socialization of American and Canadian children…..

Wolf Moon | Threat to Demonocracy

Amen!

Communism is Banksterism’s LEFT HAND.

cthulhu

“Droog” and “tovarisch” look better in the original Russian.

cthulhu

I tend to look at formality in clothing as much the same as credentialism. “Listen to me because I have this credential” or “listen to me because I have this nice suit”. While it may have started as a Communist plot to weaken formal bonds and hierarchies, I think that much good has come of it (particularly in Silicon Valley).

SteveInCO · Thermonuclear MAGA

It’s possible to look reasonably neat without a suit jacket and neck binding…er…tie. Today, at least, it’s usually called “business casual.”

Stepping down to a t-shirt and jeans is a level down from that.

I’d be unalterably opposed to any change of standards that means wearing suit jackets at the height of summer. The last thing needed at that time of year is TWO (or three) layers of clothing.

Last edited 1 year ago by SteveInCO · Thermonuclear MAGA
cthulhu

I worked for a CFO (and partner) of a robot company who wore polo shirts and shorts all the time. Looked like a total preppie.

cthulhu

I didn’t say anything was wrong with him looking like a preppie, I was merely being descriptive.

cthulhu

And, then, there’s the “Silicon Valley” uniform of black turtleneck and slacks — made famous by Steve Jobs and infamous by Elizabeth Holmes.

singingsoul1

Eastern Europeans always had an elegant style even under communism.
The worse where dress style was degraded was in China under Mao. I am reluctant
to generalize that down dressing is communist motivated..

TheseTruths

I agree with the premise of the article.

It is not lost on this writer that in an ironic twist, all, or most anyway, of the work colleagues I’ve had over the decades from the former eastern bloc countries were incredibly formal in dress, address, correspondence and more. It was the westerners who presented themselves as slobs, and dropped any formal salutations. 

This would indicate that the people from Communist, or formerly Communist, countries still had standards of behavior and dress and that there was a targeted take-down of America to undermine our society.

cthulhu

Or it could be read as an indication that Communist societies indoctrinate their people into credentialism, where people should wear “the right sorts of clothes” to be respected.

SteveInCO · Thermonuclear MAGA

At one extreme is the US, where first names come out immediately, at the other is Germany where people can work together for years and never go to the informal second person and first names. I have caught myself stumbling over both, honestly, so I guess my personal inclination would lie in betwen.

singingsoul1

I do not mind people over 18 addressing me with my first name. I am taken back when parents of small children introduce me using my first name. Children do learn not to respect people who are older.

SteveInCO · Thermonuclear MAGA

Yeah, my parents were strict about that; the guy across the street was “Mister B******’, *never* by his first name. I slipped up once with him in my Dad’s presence and got a kinetic reminder.

I run into people who, as adults, address their parents by their first names; I can’t bring myself to do that and it’s awkward when I introduce my parents to them, because I know they expect me to give my parents’ first names and I get this *look* when I call them “mom” and “dad.”

singingsoul1

I was never allowed to address people with first name as a kid. My brother had his kid call them first name.
I would introduce my parents by saying ” my parent and then first name”.

Gail Combs

I was raised Anglican and we ALWAYS used Mr & Mrs Smith. Down here in the South it is Miss Gail if you know the person well and they are a generation older.

Dressing to go into town?

Yes, I change my clothes. They are casual but at least they are CLEAN.

I have actually had college grads show up to a job interview wearing dirty smelly sweat shirts and torn sweat pants one after the other. It was almost a uniform of sorts. When I FINALLY had a young man show up in a nice shirt, tie (no jacket) and a pair of brown Dickies pants. I hired him. He had been a carpenters apprentice and was a really great worker.

As a manager, I found the sloppy dressers also had sloppy work habits; coming in late, taking too long at lunch and breaks cutting corners while doing their jobs.

SteveInCO · Thermonuclear MAGA

JWST may or may not be starting to truly unfold, lowering the “forward” sunshield pallet. The problem is NASA doesn’t update their site as to what the “current” deployment phase is until it’s done–which would mean it ought to be labeled “prior” as it’s already done by the time you’re reading it.

“Forward” and “Aft” (the “aft” sunshield pallet gets lowered next; it’s on the same side as the solar panel) are semi-arbitrary designations in this case, but spacecraft always get their sides labeled forward, aft, port, starboard, etc. just so people can get a handle on them. I don’t know if whether, on station, “forward” will point in the direction of the circle it orbits L2 on; that would make sense though.

The two arms that will push out and stretch the sunshield, starting three days from now (hopefully), are the port and starboard mid-booms.

SteveInCO · Thermonuclear MAGA

Well, duh. It’s “forward” because that’s the way the telescope mirror faces.

I was thrown off because there really are satellites whose “forward” side is the one that faces in the direction of motion in orbit. And such didn’t make sense in this case.

Cuppa Covfefe

As long as they’re not froward  🙃 

Last edited 1 year ago by Cuppa Covfefe
singingsoul1

A day late 🙂
Some thoughts concerning dress code for myself.
On dressing if it is communist inspired or led? I think has more to do with women working out of the home dressing more comfortable. It can be hard wearing all the time skirts or dresses accompanied with high heels and pantyhose. I think clothing styles changed. Their is a difference dressing on Sunday than having to dress up every day in skirt dresses high heels at any weather. Some jobs require a dress code for both men and women.
Of course if depends what someone does in the job. When my daughter was 24/7 in the lab where cloth could get ruined she wore jeans. If she had to give a presentation she dressed up normally a pant suit.
Personally I do not care what people wear to church I am happy people go to church. I really do not think God does either.
All I am concerned what I wear not what others do. Some people do not look good in dresses look better in pans others should never wear pants. Still I do not care we have freedom and if I believe in my freedom than I better respect other people and their freedom.
Personally I wear what is appropriate to the situation and my body type and what I look good in. I can never wear frilly blouses . Dresses I like simple calf length love black dresses and with a silk scarf or one of my jewelry. I am tall 5/7 so I am not bound by to many rules.
Shoes are just as important to me and to wear the right shoes to what ever I wear. All personal choices and I do not like frumpy. I also dress different being in a big city NYC, Chicago, London or Germany. In my little town where I live I dress with pants nice sweater and comfortable shoes to run to the store . One can look elegant in pants and nice top one can dress up and down.

mileytheduchess

How do we feel about khakis? LOL

I was born in 1955 and raised in the era when little girls wore frilly socks and patent leather shoes, and gloves and hats (Natalie Wood, “Miracle on 34th Street”). Not only to church, but on any special outing. It was definitely a sign that we were properly raised and cared for.

When I described “Easter Sunday” as the suggested dress code for our wedding in 2007, my future stepdaughters (born in 1985 and 1988) had no idea what I was talking about.