Hoodies, Bandanas, and Other Fashion/Fear Nonsense

What’s with all the hoopla about hoodies?  It’s a piece of clothing.  The hood is to provide warmth, or to protect a person’s head from inclement weather.  Makes sense to me.  But is it a negative image?  In the late 20th century, Ted Kaczynski, the “UnaBomber”, raised the level of fear of seing a hooded person as if there was something demonic associated with the possibility of partially hiding one’s face with such a garment.

If it’s cold outside, given an opportunity to do so, I would always want to help my little grandchildren put on a hooded jacket or sweater so their ears wouldn’t get cold.  Even in such garb, those babies are not likely to terrorize anybody.  Neither would I, though I often pull up the hood of my coat when it’s raining.

Politics always gains its momentum from wanting folks to be afraid, thus wanting to follow leaders they hope will make them “safe”. The fears are consistently of imaginary things that are fueled by the prejudices of phobic people. Phobics (a huge percentage of the total population) generally can’t take care of business on their own. They cannot protect themselves, or effectively care for their own. They tend to follow dominators who “protect & nurture” them, and all the while keep them fearful.

If a person is harmed or abused because of some stigma attached to an article of clothing they are wearing, or presumed to be a threat for the same reason, what is the root cause?  The clothes?  How silly!  Of course it isn’t!  It is some kind of social or cultural prejudice adopted by phobic people, and the decisions they will make because of their phobias are always stupid decisions.

In the mid to late 1990’s, I watched a social fear transfer to a piece of cloth.  Since certain street gangs identified themselves to each other by the display of “colors”, an irrational fear of kerchiefs and sweat bands swept over the entire nation, and several other countries.  I also noticed at the time, that while many gang members wore pants, the rest of the people didn’t choose to go naked because of it.

Hoods on clothing, bandanas, or even whether or not a person turns their collar up, or rolls their socks down are all silly issues, but the dominator/exploiters find it so easy to use such nonsense to stir up stupid people. In the fifties, some boys were sent home from school for combing their hair in the back into a “ducktail”. By the mid-sixties, school administrators (some of whom combed their hair in duck tail fashion because their pastors were by then copying the style) sent boys home from school for combing their hair down on their foreheads mimicking the new “Beatle” look.

Fads and trendy fashions come and go. Folks tend to like or dislike them depending on whatever social fears of disenfranchisement, or conversely of fearing being associated by image is brought to their attention. Since it is based on what they have been taught to fear, or taught to believe, it seems important to them.

But just because they think it important, doesn’t increase the likelihood of making an intelligent decision because of it. In fact, people often are capable of making stupid decisions when they are afraid. Keeping folks fearful is usually profitable for politicians, for it is by that method that they gain their largest following.

“There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more from apprehension than reality.” – Seneca, Roman philosopher mid 1st century AD.

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” -H. L. Mencken, early to mid 20th century journalist & essayist.

“Stress is real even if problems are imaginary. Deal with real.” -Van Brown, contemporary old man who owns a hooded jacket, but doesn’t go around hurting people.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Van, I completely agree. I stole one of your quotes for my FB page, crediting you as the source. I had a situation which had the potential to put fear into me happen recently (no, not the snake in the road from my blog post, something more sinister) and after some thought, I decided not to live in fear. Period! Humor writers can’t live in fear, but I do rather like to joke about it.


  2. I totally agree with your message. The root of the problem racist mentality. After all a hoodie is just an article of clothing that you use to keep warm for the most part. I wear hoodies almost every day and I’m not making any statement other than what the weather dictates. However bigots and racists read so much more into clothing and the person wearing the clothes. They have these ingrained stereotypes in their minds. As the old commercial from back in the day used to say, “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear. It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear. You’ve got to be carefully taught.” Think on this scenario; if you place 3 babies down on the floor, one Black, one white, one Asian will they automatically hate each other. No. More than likely they’ll reach out to one another as potential play mates. We see little kids do that all the time in stores, restaurants, museums, parks, etc… Let us all become like little children in the way we view each other.

    Way, way back in the day Monks wore the original “hoodies”. Were they suspicious also? I also want to add a link from a parent who lost a child to violence. This parent who lost their daughter expresses the hurt and pain better than I. http://davesheartandsoul.com/2012/03/24/our-children-deserve-better/


  3. Posted by Tyler on March 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    For many of the same reasons, many parents in Western civilization won’t allow their male offspring to wear earrings, even though earrings began as a distinctly male adornment and were such throughout most of our history.


  4. Posted by little d on March 28, 2012 at 12:01 am

    A good press VT. As you would know, I wonder about allot of things allot of the time.
    I figure that I’m a wonderer. I wonder why bad news can go around the World before good news can get its britches on. Is it because there is a medium available for that very purpose, assuring that bad news always arrives first, or perhaps the medium has studied Mankind’s interest to the point of knowing us better than we know ourselves.

    Wouldn’t you think that good news deserves as much interest as bad news ? Could good news sell as many newspapers as bad news ? Myself, I have wondered why there isn’t a ” Good News Network ” GNN…. Is it because no one would find their interest there ? No advertisers available too ? telling it is, what so?, not so sure.

    Interesting it is VT, that somehow, folks have become obsessed with maintaining their fears. Folks have always normally partnered with those of similar beliefs, attracted to ones, who, like them, reinforce their own speculation dilemma’s. I take it we still remain
    hostage to our ignorance, and still hold that same ignorance above our certainties.

    Maybe that pays off eventually, but it damn sure pays off a bunch of others that anticipate this observation first. I’ve always exclaimed, ” There is a sack full of shit with every dozen roses “, nothing I am aware of is good good, there seems to always be a bad side to everything, none excluded.

    I wonder, perhaps you will too, what may have been of bad if it didn’t hold our interest ?
    Would it have died the deaths of so many others that couldn’t hold our interest too ?

    I live on to learn, not knowing is my fear, not of the lessons unlearned, but of that we refuse to bear.

    little d


  5. You really nailed this on the head with “Politics always gains its momentum from wanting folks to be afraid, thus wanting to follow leaders they hope will make them “safe”. The fears are consistently of imaginary things that are fueled by the prejudices of phobic people….”

    So true. Our politicians, whether they realize this or not, do feed and convince the weaker-minded public of why they are needed. And to do so, must constantly create situations, warranted or not, in order to “provide their services” and “protest the public.”


  6. Posted by Marlene Humberd on April 4, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Fear of people in hoodies ….obviously they have not been to visit a hospital lately . After spending a week recently with my husband /patient in such a facility and then reading this , I realized that everyday a hoodie was standard attire for me and every other person I saw . We didn’t want to hurt anyone. We were not afraid of each other .We just wanted to stay warm( it was cold enough to kill hogs in there ) and be with our loved ones .We were dealing with real medical problems and real fears.What we were wearing was the last thing on our minds . Yes, I have fears …brain cancer scares the hell out of me , but not an article of clothing ! Going tomorrow and buying a dew-rag to cover his partially- shaved head …whatever color/ design he wants ! ” I ain’t afraid of no clothes !”


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