Sunday, December 18, 2005

# Posted 1:04 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SO APPARENTLY I'M A REPUBLICAN: I wore a bowtie to the office on Friday. Why? Because I had just learned to tie a bowtie while I was in England last week. FYI, when Oxford students take their exams, they have to wear what is known as sub fusc, which includes a white bowtie for men.

Since our office was having its big Christmas holiday party on Friday, I thought that a red paisley bowtie might add to the festivity of the occasion. However, the party was at noon, and when I sat down to have lunch with my colleagues, one of them suddenly asked me, "So are you a Republican?"

Slightly flustered by this question in an environment where most of us try to be moderately non-partisan, I spluttered "No, actually I'm an independent." Then he said to me that he was only asking because only Republicans wear ties. Like Tucker Carlson. Like George Will. And then asked, could I think of any Democrats who wear bowties?

I hesitated for a second and then said, "Yes. Farrakhan." There was a loud guffaw. Game, set, match, OxBlog.

And now that I think about it, there was one prominent Democrat who had a thing for bowties: Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois, pictured above.
(9) opinions -- Add your opinion

Wearing a bowtie today ... is, well ... like the widow who decides to attend her late husband's funeral in complete Bozo the Clown outfit including the clown shoes. Nobody wants to mention it out of respect for her but everyone there knows it looks both ridiculous and is far out of place (by todays business standards).
Lucky for the people sitting next to you that you decided not to wear the English bobby (police) hat you picked up at the Heathrow souvenir shop.
Grow up.
Bottom line: Please leave the clown out-fits to the Republicans ... it fits their nature!
David, I have three glorious words for you: Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Or Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

Or a member of member of the Nation of Islam :-)

The bow tie was important to the Nation of Islam because the tie was required in the dress code.
Europeans in general and American southerners still wear bowties, and for them, it isn't a political statement. I knew a German academic who was like most Europeans, fairly left-of-center by American political standards, and he wore a bowtie with complete equanimity. I know a moderate white southerner maybe five years older than me who's unhappy with Bush who still wears bowties at conferences and the like. For pretty much everyone else, though, it's a pretty good cue of one's political orientation, which is why I actually will wear one on occasion.

A Lingua Franca reporter once asked Schlesinger about his politics and his bowties, and Schlesinger's natural response was that for men of his generation, there was nothing overtly political about wearing a bowtie. That has, however, changed, except for the regional groups I mentioned above.

Anyhow who's actually tied a bowtie before, and clip-ons high school seniors wear to prom _don't_ count, knows that tieing a bowtie is a tricky affair and more difficult than a regular tie. As such, that's probably why it's fallen out of favor, except for those that like to dress a bit more formally. Since formality in dress is considered in the current US a more "conservative" thing, this is why the bowtie's gotten a political connotation. And that helps explain Farrakhan, because the Nation of Islam has some of the social conservatism that marks some African Americans. A less sharp example is Henry Louis Gates, who no one would describe as a Republican, but who loves to dress in very elaborate suits that are actually quite out of place in the modern American university, which has been strongly affected by post-late-60s notions of casual dress in academe. The Naval Academy, for example, requires civilian faculty to teach in coat-and-tie, and even here, the rule is not always followed.

Bill Nye the Science Guy always wears a tie. In fact, he was interviewed by tvguide.com just a few days ago and they asked him about it. Seems he has over a hundred. I've no idea of his political affiliation, but I don't think it's indicative and I'd guess counter-inuitive.
Hi Wayne! Good to see you here on OxBlog. But I'm afraid I must slightly disagree with the notion that bow ties are harder to tie.

I believed that myself for a very long time, since my father taught me when I was very young how to tie a regular tie, but never a bow tie. But it really only took around 30 minutes to figure out the bowtie the first time I learned, which was three years ago.

After that I forgot, since I only wore that tie once on a formal occasion. But when I relearned two weeks ago, it only took around fifteen minutes.
David is from what country? He look nice when he wear big suit.
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