Thursday, October 19, 2006

Opinion on a mask...sunglasses

Besides keeping a straight face while listening to a harmless, however obviously fake, white lie during an interview with a Haight shop keeper, my challenge was keeping my opinion out of the trend story. I had a hard time writing on such a superficial topic, sunglasses, without throwing in my own ideas on how the trend has reemerged as a blast from the past. Sunglasses, in my opinion--as was somewhat said by Jennifer Hartford in her interview-- act as a protective device over the human psyche--a mask to hide ourselves from the rest of the world. We live in a time of rapidly changing cultures and styles that can bring about a self-consciousness of how we, as people, fit into the change. We can never be sure if our jacket is hip, if our shoes are in, or if our hair is gelling. At least when we wear sunglasses, if our push on the limits of fashion fails, people don't have to see our faces. In short, people use sunglasses to keep some of their cards hidden, especially if those cards are wearing a plaid shirt and neon pants.
I believe in the 60's, all the way up to the late 70's, sunglasses were large in size for the same reason. At this time, youth culture was furthering the boundaries of fashion and a societal condom was needed for protection from critics. Of course people were going to bash the pioneers of bell bottoms and ridicule the explorers of mustaches-- at least with sunglasses on, people could avoid eye contact with their ridiculers. No eye contact means no low self-esteem.
On a more serious note, times are a'changing, much like back then. There is a'changing of the guard for world powers. There is a'changing of powers in our own country. There is a'changing of our perception of how safe we really are--how safe are we? We are in a time of war, debt, and hate. We live amongst racism, elitism, and sexism. The world's deck thickens with complexity each new day at the hands of globalization, cultural fornification, and further class separation. The foundations of our country--despite the army, the navy, and homeland security-- are shaken constantly. Gas prices are at an all time high, morality is at an all time low, and it seems we won't be out of Iraq till the end of time. We have more taxes, less social services, and weaker borders than ever before. I can't tell you the last time baseball, the great American pass-time, went a year without a scandal... In light of all this, it is no wonder we might want to hide behind something--even if it is a pair of large sunglasses.

1 comment:

....J.Michael Robertson said...

You are right that some trend stories really are essays in which the writer's opinions are the point -- it depends on the publication. In your trend stories, I think -- *I think* -- that I am comfortable with your having plenty of opinions as long as you introduce those opinions into conversation with your sources. That's what I think I'm comfortable with. We'll see.