Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Ban the Businessman’s Burqa

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Drab suit-clad men in the Tokyo Stock Exchange – pic anonymous

Almost akin to some alien epidermis, the suit and tie has seemingly dominated the modern developed world, and for some mysterious reason the majority of businessmen are prepared to wake each morning, don this hideous garment, tie a noose around their neck, and traipse off to work.

For many the suit is seen as an attire of respect, particularly if you are in a position of senior authority, but somehow, somewhere there must be more to this sinister form of cosmetic drab because if it is the suit and tie that gets you the job then it says a lot about the people who hired you.

Human existence has evolved to expect conformity, which portrays a lack of imagination. So if you wear the same garb as everyone else you then become inconspicuous, fit in amidst the crowd, and not draw any unwanted attention.

A suit can be a form of identity, and provide the unity of a group. But what is it with the hideous, and uncomfortable necktie? It serves no purpose beyond separating the heart from the head?

The necktie’s origin is still disputable – the oldest examples are found on the life-size terracotta soldiers buried with Chinese emperor Shih Huang Ti in 210 B.C. Each soldier wears a carefully wrapped silk cloth around his neck. Other early neckties are depicted on a marble column erected by Roman emperor Trajan in 113 AD. The column shows legionnaires wearing three versions of neckwear.

It is said that in ancient Egyptian times people were buried in a primitive form of the suit (also known as the death sack) because the suit prevented the spirit from leaving the soul.

Anthropologists suggest that the tie directs a viewer’s attention downwards to the wearer’s genitals (hence the phallic shape) like a displaced codpiece.

Sigmund Freud would have probably argued that the tie hangs flaccidly from the neck to the groin like a penis, and also point to it as the very symbol of the phallus. This may be envied by men and women, not for its actual qualities, but for the social meaning attributed to the gender of its owner. So the tie is thus a symbol of the domination of men over women, and of power in general.

But will this useless garment ever be shunned?

In the Tasmanian parliament the first person to break the chains was democrat Norm Sanders who chose to ride his motorcycle to work, and hence walked into the Parliament chamber in his leather jacket wearing no tie, and clasping his bike helmet.

So in the process of wearing a tie, we simply don’t feel free, just as we don’t look free, as it is the very essence of human conformity!

It would seem the necktie is an impractical item of clothing that serves no specific purpose.

But if you choose to wear one as a creative decoration rather than enslaved symbol of your self-imposed confinement then do so by all means!

*Ted Mead despises the suit, mostly because some of the world greatest criminals and environmental vandals are forever dressed in one. Even more repugnant for Ted is the tie, as he was forced to wear one at school even when there was a heat wave happening. Ted claims he wouldn’t be seen dead in one now, but expects his friends will probably adorn him when he finally lay in his coffin. Such is life!

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Lynne Newington

    September 5, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    @2. “you can’t trust a man in a brown suit”… you can say that again especially those who claim poverty, chastity and obedience……with the exclusion of just one or two who sits firmly in my mind.
    You had a few there in Tassie that I recall.

  2. Leonard Colquhoun

    September 2, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    S’pose the only point of this burqa + facemesh / suit + tie equivalence is (a feeble effort at) humour. Reckon the hundreds of millions of women and girls condemned to life outside familial house arrest is getting around in a black tent wouldn’t get the joke.

    It’s as silly as imagining that some people could be so stupid and naïve as to call our conservative MPs Nazis, or our Labor MPs Stalinists.

  3. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    September 2, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Sure, suits are corporate body armor for the power dresser with an expense account paunch to hide. And there are cheaper versions for ordinary mortals, that are worn religiously because servants must wear their master’s livery at all times, in full, even when it is stinking hot.

    I know these things because I used to be a chauffeur at Crown and one summer’s day, after a long trip to the Dandenongs, I took off my jacket and forgot to put it back on when I was getting back to Crown. I was seen and reported and while I wasn’t fired, I was suspended for two weeks.

    And even before that, as a real estate auctioneer I once had the temerity to take off my jacket for a hot summer’s auction. My compatriots were horrified and it was one of the nails in my job coffin with that company.

    Mind you, if I had owned my own company, it would have been smart casual attire with a spectacular company logo on one arm and no suit need apply, because the team would all be strictly individualists.

    There is nothing wrong with uniforms and conformity. We are a herd animal, even when we are being non conformists. That is why leaders control us so easily, including non-conforming ones. And there are excellent evolutionary reasons for it.

    Whatever the project is, a disciplined herd organized by a strong leadership that doesn’t listen to dickhead bottom feeders infected with grass roots pretensions to grandeur, more often than not wins over disorganized or poorly organized rabble where everyone has an opinion. Opinions are cheap and easy. Decision making is expensive and demanding, which is why leaders charge so much…

    The modern suit, particularly one that is tailored and made from beautiful cloth, does look powerful, much in the same way as a toga used to. They are not practical items of dress (as the servants well know), but then they are not meant to be. This is dress to impress and a lot of that goes on in the cut throat competitive world of corporate life, because any edge in the struggle is an advantage, and appearance is not a small one.

    I do understand that petty bourgeois bureaucrats who are employed by governments with service conditions more secure than a fortress, probably don’t appreciate a world where one’s job is on the line all the time. They can indulge in an ideologically Olympian view of the world where petty things like appearance don’t matter. The rest of can’t.

    Perhaps if Julia Gillard had consciously dressed and deported herself like Maggie Thatcher, to ooze power and aggression…who knows what might have happened…..? After all, dress, persona, internal self-definition and outward behavior can and often do form a seamless continuum.

    Dressing for power is no different from dressing for for sex….or anything else. It brings something to the table that advantages the wearers and their agenda….unless of course one is a petty bureaucrat, where dressing up the data flows with tick boxes is the only game in town…

  4. Ole-Man-a-Ross

    September 1, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    I read this article with great interest as it is a welcome distraction from a horrendous event that has just happened in my life. I’m sure there are many many horror stories that males and maybe even some females can tell about this straight jacketed incarceration. Mine starts at an early age when both myself and my brother were compelled to wear this symbol of conformity to the Morning Meeting (church). I believe that it still is to a large degree, the uniform of the fundamentalist Christian Churches. As these religious followings don’t believe in the elaborate fancy dress for their hierarchy unlike the established followings (Catholic, Anglican etc), the suit was I believe something that made you look and perhaps feel the same as all the other Leemings, maybe creating the illusion that you were all as equal with the rest. This of course was far from the truth, these religious followings are extremely patriarchal, dominated by a few power hungry blokes….. and, don’t forget “God” is ballsy bloke, how could it be otherwise!!
    My other experience in later life was when I lived in the UK for a while. If you were in any form of management, it was almost an instantly sackable offence if you came to work not wearing a TIE. Also, suits! One company I worked for all wore dark bluey/black suits with company ties. Once I tried to be different and went to Brown, only to have the old adage thrown at me that “you can’t trust a man in a brown suit” or at least that’s the way the POMs saw it!!!
    Finally, I was married in a “Brown Suit” (in the UK) and my former wife’s dress was “Royal Blue Velvet” (absolutely no deferring to the royals), she just liked the colour, our way of not conforming I suppose.

  5. Peter Godfrey

    September 1, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Ah Ted, here we meet as peers.
    I too have a gross dislike of suits and ties.
    I too see them as a uniform of conformity and a prison that one carries around.
    One other example of the genesis of the tie that I have heard is that, it comes from the piece of rag worn around a soldiers neck when they were using flint lock rifles. The rag was used to clean the chamber before reloading new gun powder.
    I see it more as a military hangover. Also akin to a ball and chain.
    My friends know that I would not be seen dead in one and would not put one on me when I die.
    I was thinking of planning my own funeral by building a funeral pyre and laying on it when the time was near, with an igniter connected to a dead man switch. I reckon that would save my friends a lot of trouble and I would feel that I had a fitting end.

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