Category Archives: Humanity

Men’s Fashion: All Eyes On…

Timothee Chalamet. He is part of the menswear vanguard challenging the notion that dressing up means black suiting. He uses color, textiles, and embellishments typically reserved for women — but why should they have all the fun?

Timmy has been consistently delivering impeccable looks for a couple of years now. With a big new movie about to come out, keep an eye on his fashion choices over the winter season.

Below are six favorite recent outfits, each of which has a dominant element that can be taken as inspiration.  While some of the tailoring will be difficult for civilians to pull off, let it inspire you to rethink gender restrictions and body proportions.

  1. Electric Blue.  Regardless of skin tone, there is a shade of rich blue that can work.
Haider Ackermann

2. Embroidery.  High contrast works best when used sparingly.

Haider Ackermann

3. Color Blocking.  Keep the neutral more prominent.

Haider Ackermann

4. Florals.  A black base grounds things and keeps it edgy.

Haider Ackermann

5. Evening Wear Beading.  Okay, we realize this may be double-black-diamond, expert level clotheswearing.  Something to aspire to.

Louis Vuitton

6. Gender Non-Conforming. *Warning: below is a trained professional on an enclosed track. Do not attempt at home.*  His success pulling off multiple femme elements is what makes this his best look ever. You have got the satin, the cinched waist, the curls, cropped pants, and a camisole top all in sync.

Consider trying just one of those elements if you are feeling daring.

Haider Ackermann

Weekly Reading

Articles that Lady in Red found fascinating this week:

  1. When it’s okay to adopt the dialect of your audience: “It Wasn’t ‘Verbal Blackface.’ AOC Was Code-Switching.” https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-code-switches-black-english/586723/
  2. David Frum elegantly documents Canada’s sweetheart stepping in it: “Justin Trudeau Falls From Grace” https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/snc-lavalin-justin-trudeaus-fall-grace/586645/
  3. “Nobody wanted to hear me read ‘Ozymandias.’” Why are we all loving the Varsity Blues scandal?: “They Had It Coming” https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/what-college-admissions-scandal-reveals/586468/
  4. The best travel writing you may ever read: “Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer” https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/travel/thin-places-where-we-are-jolted-out-of-old-ways-of-seeing-the-world.html
  5. “‘I am synthetic life form ‘Yoko K.,’ assembled in the US with components made in Japan…designed to assume the role of an ‘electronic musician.’ I am one of many secret agents sent to this time to plant magical thinking in people through the use of ‘pre-22nd century nostalgia Mars pop music.’” How to make hospital beeps more pleasant and more meaningful: “Anatomy of a beep: A medical device giant and an avant-garde musician set out to redesign a heart monitor’s chirps” https://www.statnews.com/2018/09/10/medtronic-musician-redesign-heart-monitors-beeps/

Did Modernist Architecture Fail? No Way

Modernist architecture and its adherence to functionality have forever changed how we view buildings.  The US’s history rivals that of Europe, especially in the Midwest.  According to this article, “(Michigan is) home to perhaps the most diverse and best-preserved collection of early Modernist experiments in the world,” thanks to the number of architects who experimented there.

Some consider the Modernist movement a failure because it did not bring people geographically and emotionally closer, as hoped. However, this minimizes the benefits we do see. The variety of materials, the safety, and the increased natural light are all parts of the legacy.

In the 2011 documentary The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, about the ambitious and infamous housing project in St. Louis, the demolished buildings are commemorated as symbols of urban crime. In a cruel twist of fate, the architect Minoru Yamasaki’s other most famous building was also demolished: The World Trade Center in NYC.

Pruitt-Igoe’s construction was paid for by the federal government, but maintenance came from rent. The same 1949 law that built public housing also encouraged suburban homeownership, and suburban flight quickly took away the tax base for all city services.

As for the vandalism and violence, those left behind were allegedly angry at society and lashing out.

None of this is the result of the modernist architecture built to foster a community. So, modernism’s failure is the ultimate “urban myth.”

Image result for modernist office architecture





Euro Refugees: Separating Human Interest from Economic Interest

One of the causes of the rise of the alt-right in western Europe may be the equivocating of economics and compassion when it comes to deciding to whom to grant political asylum. To quote one European politician, “Save the people who need saving. But don’t tell me they’re good for the labor market.”  80% of refugees in Germany are jobless, and the conservatives there have noticed. However, the human rights angle can be successful if truthful–is the applicant truly in danger, and is the government clear on why that matters to a free society?

This longform article from The Atlantic focuses on Germany’s handling of refugees since 2015, especially those from Africa and the Middle East.  While it also addresses the roots of xenophobia, as well as the German processes that could be emulated in the US, its most interesting content describes how economic opportunists are weeded out from the applicant pool, so as not to take the the spot of someone truly needy.

To get a sense of these (refugee applicant) interviews, imagine the following game. You meet someone who claims to be from your hometown, and you have to decide whether he’s telling the truth. You can ask him anything you like: Which high school did you attend? What color is city hall? Do people get around on buses or trains? Is there a McDonald’s? If so, where? The other player may prepare however he wishes, memorizing facts, maps, events. If he convinces you, he gets a million dollars. If he doesn’t convince you, he dies. You have 10 minutes to decide.

Germany also has fascinating uses of technology to verify these narratives–not just passports but mobile phone history, facial recognition, and speech patterns.

What do you think?  How rigorous should a country be in weeding out the criminal or the merely poor, from the displaced and the destitute?





The “Uncanny Valley” of Heterosexuality

Just how common it is for men to marry women, even have children with them, and then come out as gay later in life?  Consistent statistics on “lavender marriages” (when a man marries a straight woman, with or without her knowing that he is actually a closeted homosexual), or gay men with “beards” (girlfriends present to convince others and themselves they are not in fact gay), are obviously hard to come by, however there is much evidence to suggest that it is far more common than many straight people realize.  10% of the population is estimated to be born homosexual. It is a myth that gay men can’t or won’t have sexual relationships with women, even for decades.

Societal, familial, and religious pressure can be faulted for leading individuals to this sad and inauthentic outcome.  Yes, it is the individual man’s moral responsibility to not be pressured into a suboptimal relationship, however our society idolizes romantic love, partnership, and marriage.

The homosexual community has by necessity been built on very subtle messages to one another; in America and many other places in the world, it can still today be considered dangerous to be out.  Therefore, most gay men admit to having become very attuned to details and aesthetics, almost as a means of survival.  So, almost all gay men know how to successfully imitate straight masculinity via observation and study.

However, there is usually a line between The Real McCoy and a copy.

Gay men may successfully mimic straightness for the sake of female validation and companionship (cf: the signaling theory of behavior.  In the animal community, too much “dishonest signaling” actually threatens the species).  Fisherian runaway in sexual selection means metrosexual and dandies likely evolved out of female preference.

Many lavender relationships involve a female considered to be less conventionally attractive than the man, and/or is a female who gives of the impression of being superlatively sexual and plastic.  It is not what a straight guy would find most attractive, but is someone’s best guess of what they think a straight guy would find most attractive.  I call this the “uncanny valley” of heterosexuality.

“The uncanny valley” is a term that was coined in the realm Artificial Intelligence (AI): the closer something comes to successfully approaching our reality, the more repulsive the simulation becomes to us humans–this space is called the “uncanny valley.” For example, cute, non-threatening humanoid robots make us feel comfortable (think C3PO from Star Wars), but those sexbots that are covered in fleshy plastic and hair can be alarming to our senses.

What is a girl to do?  Simply be aware that our society has placed enormous pressure on us all to live out expected roles.  Straight ladies, just because a guy asks you out does not guarantee you will be able to make him happy for life.  But if he is self-actualized first (sexually or otherwise), the chances of success increase dramatically.

*There is a special place in hell for people who out people before they are ready, or who even start rumors.





Never Think Alone

According to a recent article by the authors Philip Fernbach and Steven Sloman, human knowledge is remarkable not for its individual capacity, as is commonly thought, but by the sophistication of its sharing.  We humans are at the top of the food chain because we grasp the importance of planning, division of labor, and organization creation.

“Most of what you ‘know’ — most of what anyone knows — about any topic is a placeholder for information stored elsewhere, in a long-forgotten textbook or in some expert’s head.”

There is an obvious evolutionary advantage to working together in this way and sharing in the world’s consciousness: it forces us to rely on each other for emotional and material support, and encourages growth and enhancement of the species.

In other words, our prime talents are of curation, collaboration, and association, rather than true memorization or understanding.  And the more something is understood by people in general, the more we think  we individually know.  One can see this extended to politics–we rely on others to help us put the truth together, with very little (or even no) firsthand experience with the matter at hand: poverty, abortion, corporate ethics, pollution, earned-income tax credits, food packaging.

So, always remember that your conversation partner’s irrationality is a pretty rational response to their lack of knowledge.

Univ of FL, Plaza de Americas

 





Give Us This Day Our Daily Mile

Many schoolchildren in the UK have adopted the “daily mile,” with positive results.  In addition to regular physical education, all students who are physically able must go outside together when called, in whatever they are wearing, and run around the neighborhood.

The movement started in Scotland and is most popular there. While empirical evidence of it reducing obesity and boosting concentration is still pending, students’ reported enthusiasm for more activity is enough to aid growth. One boy remarked that the exercise, “makes me feel like I’m proud of myself.”

Next stop, USA!?

runboy