Action list item #6: Promote positive values. Abandon the victimology message. Get the education and faith communities to pro-actively preach empowerment, self-respect, consideration of and responsibility to others - to balance off the over-emphasis on "rights."
Action list Item #11: Enact and enforce ordinances prohibiting display of underwear or other obscene gestures, profane language heard beyond three feet; enforce jaywalking, excessive noise and other ordinances.
He got pants down to his knees
Got to be a joker he just do what he please
with apologies to The Beatles
I saw a young man in a store at the Meadowridge shopping center last summer. His pants were down around his knees with his knickers showing. I addressed the young man thusly, at command volume:
"Young man, your pants are hanging down around your knees. You look like an idiot. Hike 'em up."
He did. True story.
Just think the impact that would have on society at large if every clear-headed adult did the same in every situation, no exceptions.
The troubles in Meadowood and elsewhere, I suspect, are a continuum. This homicide did not occur in a vacuum. The filthy language, littering, vandalism, intimidation, drugs, gangs, killings are all part of the same continuous loop. The homicides are only the climax forest - the oaks that follow the aspens that follow the bushes that follows the tall grass. [Blaska's Blog: Mayor Dave is invited to Meadowood]
Other bloggers, struggling to catch up to my insights, are suggesting that appliance repairmen would be held to account. (If you remember Dan Ackroyd's Norge repairman, who would service the Loopner family's ancient refrigerator.) Of course, these "displays" are within the home. (Although, as my friend Charlie Esser once said, "just say no to crack.")
The great thing is my Action list item #6 needs no action from the Common Council or Mayor Dave. No new ordinance is required. Madison Ordinance 26.01 EXPOSURE OF PERSON already provides "It shall be unlawful for any person to make any indecent or immoral exhibition or exposure of her/his person."
My liberal friends go crazy at the mere-est suggestion of "discipline." They don't understand that discipline is the greatest inheritance that we can bequeath to the next generation.
I repeat: what kind of respect does a young man have for himself - forget about the neighborhood - when his pants are hanging down around his knees, his hands are at his crotch and his mouth is functioning as a sewer pipe?
At least the "low-riders" craze still gets a rise out of our cousins across the pond, where such a display is called "shameful." [Daily Mail on-line]
Apparently, this low-riders thing came out of prison. Now, there is a provenance we can do without.
(The Rev. Rudolph) McKissick has just challenged the music industry to clean up its act or face economic pressure from communities that are tired of seeing it defend the production of music of disrespect as a "business choice." But seeing a young black man with the sagging pants shortly after that rally reminded me of how tough that job is going to be. [Fighting prison-based culture takes great effort]
Owen Strachan, who blogs "What Makes a man? Not low-slung pants" says it well:
Here are a few random thoughts on this point and what it might mean for contemporary masculinity.
1. The mark of a boy, or a child, more generally, is that a child has little self-control and thus needs a parent to direct them. If you want proof of this, become a parent. That's all the empirical evidence you need of this.
2. A man, then, is one who fundamentally possesses self-control. Not height, not weight, not the ability to beat people up or play sports well or argue cogently. Self-control. Maturity.
3. This means that men should not act, look like, and talk like boys. There should be a clear difference. Boys say whatever comes to mind; men do not. Boys act, sometimes, like idiots, as if there are no rules; men do not.
4. Men control themselves in public. They think before they talk. They show restraint and an understanding of the context. They don't make lots of stupid jokes. They don't call attention to themselves.
5. Men dress maturely. There's clearly room for different styles here, but it makes no sense for a man to dress like a boy. Don't look like a little boy. Embrace the way a man dresses. If you do so with your own flair, great. But look presentable and mature.
6. Men look after others. They take responsibility for others. They look out for the weak and needy. They don't indulge their own selfish desires, ignoring others, doing whatever they want. They act as agents of responsibility, order, kindness, and goodness.
There is a huge difference between a man and a boy. We need to recover these differences.
Loll not out the tongue
I blogged about this a good month ago. At age 15, George Washington copied by hand an existing text that he grew to live by. We know it as Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. What's the big deal about "pants down to his knees?"
Historian Richard Brookhiser writes that
"These are the externals of life and they can strike us as superficial. Yet ...externals have a way of working inwards. … We have to be mindful of those around us, whether they are friends or strangers, because they, like us, have sensibilities that are deserving of respect. Civility, as it turns out, is an external practice of virtue."
What Washington's code of conduct comes down to are these two core (and mutually reinforcing) principles:
- Be considerate of others?
- Show some respect for yourself.