Walking to work today, I spied a CBS 2 camerawoman setting up her gear, and I immediately kicked into blogger mode (tiny notepad? check. cellphone camera? check. stubble? check.). Why was she there? Was something wrong? Was the shot going to be a chilling intro on the nightly news? She rolled her eyes and gestured skyward to the pair of plaid-clad rear ends staring back at us from the billboard on Sterling and Franklin and said "no, just here for that."
State Senator Eric Adams has certainly garnered a lot of attention with his "Stop the Sag" campaign, which has placed several such billboards around Crown Heights at a cost of $2,000. While Adams and others opposed to saggy pants deride the fashion as "self-imposed racism" and "convict chic" (many argue that the style originated in prisons, where belts are a no-no and clothes don't always fit too well), most locals interviewed for the story, particularly the young men sporting the trend, shrugged it off as a comfort or generation-gap issue. While I have the benefit of not being expected to represent my race at every turn as a white guy (when I wore my JNCO jeans well off my backside in middle school, it brought me nothing more than parental mocking), I'm slightly loath to ascribe much significance to the impact of sagging pants on the fortunes of young men, if only because a) the trend seems to be on the way out, what with skinny jeans making the rounds and all, and b) racism, in all its permutations, runs far deeper than the clothes on our backs. What do you think . . . was this money well spent, or a publicity stunt (or both)? Do we need to lean on our youth to hitch up, or would we be better off just letting them grow out of it?
All those who are convinced by the billboard and find themselves in need of new, better-fitting pants should look across the street to About Time, where I'm sure they'd be more than happy to deck you out.