Monday, April 29, 2013

Tights for boys

-Inspired by the recent tragedy in Bangladesh, the Guardian has provided a list of places to find "ethically, locally, lovingly made clothes for babies and children," because what is a factory collapse if not an excuse to luxury-shop, and why wouldn't we assume ethical (or greenwashed) clothing producers genuinely love your child. It's an amalgam of causes - anti-materialism (one also learns, in a disclaimer, that it's also OK to buy less), gender-progressivism (one must now dress one's children in gender-neutral clothing? what happened to the good old days, when one could simply love and accept children who wish to crossdress?), and heaps upon heaps of old-fashioned (but thinly-disguised) let's-go-buy-expensive-stuff-and-distinguish-ourselves-from-the-commoners.

Pardon the cynicism, but for whatever reason, this gets to me. The factory collapse story just keeps getting worse, but shopping for organic cotton "tights for boys," while probably not contributing to the problem, most likely isn't fixing it either. What probably needs to happen - and I believe commenter Britta and I have both already addressed this - is, things need to change in how clothing is produced-relatively-cheaply abroad, things that will somewhat-but-not-drastically increase the price of that clothing.

-On the topic of kids these days and materialism, another Guardian piece takes on the new phenomenon of fancy-schmancy children's parties. "As a child, when I used to go to birthday parties – which wasn't often – I might take a card. I would then get sandwiches, crisps and lemonade and play a few party games." Times have changed. Or... have they? This topic was deemed timely for a 1964 U.S. television audience. How I know this...


Britta said...

Erik Loomis has a takedown of Matt Yglesias's inane "worker choice" piece that is better than anything I could write:

Moebius Stripper said...

because what is a factory collapse if not an excuse to luxury-shop

Along those lines, but veering even closer to unfunny parody, Want To Help Bangladesh? Try Dressing Better. (As someone on my Twitter feed said, "Launching my Chanel Kickstarter today!")

Britta - thanks for that link, the last paragraph of which pretty much destroys Yglesias's argument by itself even if we stick to the simplistic assumptions he's making about workers freely making decisions about risk. Unless, that is, he thinks that even a very low cost for improved safety isn't justified by even a very clear benefit.

Phoebe said...


Yes, a good take-down. But it misses the essential, I think, which is that whatever the flaws in Yglesias's argument, his big mistake was one of tone. He gave no sense that he found what had just happened tragic. I don't mean some kind of over-the-top and obviously fake account of having had to stay home and cry all day because of it. I just mean a yikes in recognition. Some acknowledgment that a great many human beings had died. And that wasn't there.


Oh, indeed, indeed. The only ethical choice is Chanel - Prada if one must.

Britta said...

Yeah, that's one of the things that bothered me the most. It felt like a sense that human life has no worth outside the economic value it can provide for you.

Oh, and if anyone wants to contribute to my Chanel fund, donations are gladly accepted.

Britta said...'s someone making the 'tone' argument.

Phoebe said...

Yes, that does address tone. And I think that might have been what Yglesias was thinking of in his follow-up post, the one in which he expresses hurt feelings on account of everyone in the English-reading world not liking the earlier one. But going by that later post, it still doesn't quite seem like he gets how much of the negative response was about the tone, not the flaws of the argument itself. I mean, he just about opens with, "my overwhelming personal response, as a writer and as a human being, is to be annoyed by the responses that I'm getting." Shouldn't the overwhelming personal response be something related to the hundreds of gruesome deaths? Argh.