Thursday, 23 March 2006

Cloak of Anarchy

I know: I'm repeating myself yet again.
But still, I cannot fathom the love affair Australians have with the suit and the tie.
It defies logic. Especially during warm summer.
So for my first day at the new job I wore a suit and the mandatory neck breaker, also known as a tie. I was a man with a mission; my mission was to observe the dressing habits of the common male employee to see how low I can comfortably go.
The analysis identified three groups: Those wearing suits, who are roughly a half of the people (probably a bit less); those wearing just a business shirt and a neck breaker, roughly 40%; and those wearing just a business shirt and wooly pants, about 1 in 10 or so.
The weirdest thing, though, is that the people wearing suits were not really wearing them; the jacket was taken off quite quickly after entering the office, so that no one really wears a suit in the office. It's just something they wear on the way to and from work, but not during work.
And that drives me crazy: Why the hell would one do that? No one cares what you wear when you enter the office; a lot of people ride bicycles to work so they're all sweaty when they enter. It's not the temperature, because it's still relatively warm. Besides, even during the cold season, a suit's jacket doesn't really warm you up. Could it be that these people are in love with their dry cleaners? I don't know.
It is therefore my suspicion that these people wear suits because they like it. And the only reason why one could really like wearing a suit is that it makes him feel better; which means that I'm surrounded by naked kings who think that by wearing these suits they become superior; or, to put it another way, I'm surrounded by people with some very complicated complications about their status in society.
It's quite scary, if you ask me, that people need to wear cloaking devices to feel good. Yes, people do it all the time by wearing fashionable clothes, but it's different: You wear fashionable clothes to be attractive and feel good about yourself; you wear a suit to feel good about yourself by feeling superior.
Anyway, on the third day I gave up the suit for the neck breaker / semi wooly pants combination. I think I'll stick with the ties for a long while, until my status is established. Sad reality, but I can't afford not wearing one, at least not in the near future. I'm comforting myself with the fact that they're not that bad, and their color does spice up the otherwise boring uniform like attire worn by office people in Australia. As for the wooly pants, they're not that bad in Australia winter because they're quite warm yet light in weight (in summer, though, they're quite a pain); the ones I wear are semi wooly, which means I can wash them at home on the "wool" cycle without having to fork out loads at the dry cleaners (and without having to drug myself with them to the dry cleaners in the first place).
No, if it was up to me, I'd be wearing cargo pants and t-shirts to work. Just like I very often did in Tecnomatix. You know what, I'd settle on polo shirts, just to be on the polite side.

There's more to this horror story, though. I know of at least two people with whom I've discussed the issue, people I respect, who say they actually prefer business clothing because it means they don't need to think what they need to wear in the morning: Just slip on the uniform, mind shut, and go to work.
What do I think of that? Simple - send them to the fucking army for four years. Let's see what they think of standard regulation wear after that.

Larry Niven's short story, Cloak of Anarchy, was read simultaneously by Jo & I on the train. We both didn't think too highly of it; I mainly think that this story, which supposedly discusses anarchism, is overly simplistic and way too biased towards our current ways. It came down to yet another story on how people can really be mean to one another when authority is shuttered. Which doesn't really follow Wikipedia's definition for anarchism, which states something like "a society where people help one another out of good will". Not that I'm saying that's feasible, though.

And another comment added on 24/3/06: In case you don't know what the fuss about Larry Niven's "Cloak of Anarchy" is all about, have a look at the feedbacks for my "I wanna be an anarchist" blogentry back from 13/3/06.


uri said...

It's a free story. You didn't expect it to be Ringworld or Protector, did you?
And anarchy just means the absence of rules (or rulers). Do you think that all the really bad guys out there (the ones who try to trick you with phony/stolen mp3 players and smoke in the parking lot) would just stop once there were no laws? Why would they?

Moshe Reuveni said...

Because it might benefit them to be good for a change.

uri said...

how? why?

Moshe Reuveni said...

Because if everyone's nice to one another.
Anyway, I think we're "arguing" about different definitions to the term "anarchy". The contemporary movemnet's definition does say "total absence of law".