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Philsophy of MC style

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Reposted without modifications (spelling and grammatical mistakes still intact yo!) from the white shirt thread. The point is to separate this discussion from the advice thread but to be able to direct posters who do not understand what is going on here. If you don't care about that well that's all dandy, just don't bother with the thread.

"You and several others, maybe including some of the “forum elders”, are fundamentally misunderstanding what is going on here and in other similar threads started by the aforementioned elders. While you may see these threads as imparting some sort of absolute, objective and universal set of rules and practices without providing any justification for why it is so (let’s call this the Platonic approach, nothing to do with not getting laid) what you have is in reality similar to Aristotelian ethics. Instead of scrapping what is currently believed to be true and what is put in practice and trying to end up with a new set of absolutely proven rules demonstrated through a long and tedious argumentative chain we start with the end result and work backward, resolving contradictions as we go along. This is called methodological conservatism and is very appropriate for MC. The way it goes is that you acknowledge that you live in a certain society, in a certain time and at a certain place but that what you are trying to do is to give people the tools to deal with that specific context anyway, you make no pretense of going for the absolute and universal (like Plato did) and you don’t attack the whole social edifice anyway but systematize what is the good in this specific context. You go with what the wise (those that are respected and have well thought out opinions) and the many (consensual statements that the populace can easily go for like “we dress to look good”) believe in and work from there to develop a coherent set of principles that others may adopt to have a praxis of dressing well. Now Aristotle was quite adamant that your values were the result of your education and that you weren’t fundamentally virtuous or lacking in virtue, he however basically thought that it was pretty useless to try to change the non-virtuous as they were fucked up for life or something equally silly. It is also why he doesn’t care about justifying certain statements he makes, if you’re an ok dude you’re supposed to agree with him and go along.

Applying this to what is happening in MC should be quite easy but let me spell it out for you: people that are generally recognized as dressing well and making well thought-out points about dressing are dropping knowledge to help the mass of awful to decent MC dressers dress better in an MC context (so no claim to universality, timelessness or any other drivel should be believed to be anything but rhetorical), this also serves them to resolve their diverging opinions and coalesce MC-knowledge into a coherent set of practices that is relatively easily applicable. They will probably fail to help most of you because your aesthetic education was a failure and these things are hard to rectify. Stuff is still interesting. There are several important problems with Aristotelian ethics and the subject/object Cartesian distinction of someone from outside looking in rationally and methodically at the world and making dispassionate observation about objects to learn their properties (Heidegger basically destroyed the whole thing in Being and Time), they also apply here, this isn’t really too important right now as most MCers need such help to grow into looking like something beside Christmas trees of fabric. "
post #2 of 42

Great post, and well worth pulling out as a separate thread. It has an air of Pseuds Corner about it, but avoids that trap by actually being accurate. biggrin.gif

 

I would suggest that the zeroth question is to decide your purpose on getting dressed. This is actually quite simple because it is specific to your individual circumstances rather than universal. Then you can choose which philosophical school you wish to attend.

 

In other words, think about your audience (and whether that includes yourself, and how much of yourself), how they will respond to clothes, and then decide what form of dress best meets your needs. Only then should you start thinking about how to do it.

 

If you start off just wanting to "dress well" or "attract wimminz", you'll probably end up either looking like a mish-mash or dressed immaculately well in a form that has no bearing on your own life.

post #3 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuuma View Post

It is also why he doesn’t care about justifying certain statements he makes, if you’re an ok dude you’re supposed to agree with him and go along.

This is why it is bad philosophy, insofar as the purpose of philosophy is to challenge and overturn values. Preaching really well to your choir makes you a preacher, not a philosopher.

It's also why, sadly, this forum is likely doomed in the long run. The wise men can pronounce all they want, but it will always be psychologically more convenient and comforting for the lower types to justify their ignorance as a virtue unto itself. We see it already. The wise men's rules are denounced as mere groupthink, or rote formalism, or servitude to unseen gods. Even if the wise men could deliver a bullet-proof logical argument that the lower types should change their ways, the lower types are likely to spurn logic itself ("I dress for me!", "Style is personal!", "Spice is life!", etc.).

When those who are more able are vastly outnumbered by those less able, the less able will eventually figure out it is easier to simply re-define what it is important to be able at.
post #4 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

This is why it is bad philosophy, insofar as the purpose of philosophy is to challenge and overturn values. Preaching really well to your choir makes you a preacher, not a philosopher.
It's also why, sadly, this forum is likely doomed in the long run. The wise men can pronounce all they want, but it will always be psychologically more convenient and comforting for the lower types to justify their ignorance as a virtue unto itself. We see it already. The wise men's rules are denounced as mere groupthink, or rote formalism, or servitude to unseen gods. Even if the wise men could deliver a bullet-proof logical argument that the lower types should change their ways, the lower types are likely to spurn logic itself ("I dress for me!", "Style is personal!", "Spice is life!", etc.).
When those who are more able are vastly outnumbered by those less able, the less able will eventually figure out it is easier to simply re-define what it is important to be able at.
I think the OP specifically tried to address these points.
post #5 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by dopey View Post

I think the OP specifically tried to address these points.

I know he did.

The master can influence the slave only insofar as the slave accepts that he is master or the master can coerce the slave. Precisely because the masters in this instance are only masters within very specific parameters (generally recognized to be well-dressed in an MC context, etc.), their authority is very frail; the slaves must first accept such parameters as relevant to the pursuit of their own values before granting the masters any moral credibility. Each slave will have to ask himself: do I want to submit myself to the authority of these "masters" or be a master of my own imperative? As experience and theories of moral psychology might suggest, they will choose the latter much of the time.
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

This is why it is bad philosophy, insofar as the purpose of philosophy is to challenge and overturn values. Preaching really well to your choir makes you a preacher, not a philosopher.
It's also why, sadly, this forum is likely doomed in the long run. The wise men can pronounce all they want, but it will always be psychologically more convenient and comforting for the lower types to justify their ignorance as a virtue unto itself. We see it already. The wise men's rules are denounced as mere groupthink, or rote formalism, or servitude to unseen gods. Even if the wise men could deliver a bullet-proof logical argument that the lower types should change their ways, the lower types are likely to spurn logic itself ("I dress for me!", "Style is personal!", "Spice is life!", etc.).
When those who are more able are vastly outnumbered by those less able, the less able will eventually figure out it is easier to simply re-define what it is important to be able at.


A little pessimistic there. The information you, Manton, vox, and others are putting forth is being absorbed, partially in some case and fully in others. But you can't expect people to be able to read the classical rules and then turn around within a couple days with complete wardrobe.

There will always be detractors, but I feel safe in assuming that you have inspired enough people to at least claim a victory. It's easy to say its all gone to hell, but if there has ever been a resurgence in men's clothing (not forum, but in the world of style) its now.

I think it's better to have the discussions even with people who want to do their own thing, because they will still learn. They might be stubborn in the short term, but at least they'll be informed when they make future choices, and may be influenced by all discussion later on.

You guys are doing a good thing and providing an appreciated service, don't be disheartened because some are not ready or interested. Just put it out there.
post #7 of 42
Don't get me wrong--I will keep trying to participate until it's all over.

However, we have been through this before. People prefer what is easy over what is hard, all else being equal. The wise men (masters, higher types, whatever) will try to re-instate their rule, but so long as natural differences between people mean that the vast majority will never gain the same authority as the wise men, they will eventually break away and say it is evil to be wise. The forum management made a very interesting move by making some select members Dubiously Honored. I alluded to the meaning of this in the Transparent Moderation thread. We have been handed very great powers to re-take control of the discourse here (big guns, essentially). This is a form of coercion. It will work for a while. But either we will abuse our coercive powers and dwindle our population, or people will simply leave when they realize they can play in a friendlier, easier sandbox where they might be kings. Eventually, Rome will fall.
post #8 of 42
Well I don't think you can expect to convert all or even the majority of MCers, but there are those of us who are listening (like myself). If you narrow you goal to that of mentorship for the willing, you will find success. Not to mention an unknown number of lurkers that could be very interested as well as active members.

I can safely say, that I will be following the guidelines you et al are putting forth, but it will take a few years or more to really build such a solid wardrobe, from basics and beyond.
post #9 of 42
I would like to see a Styleforum Charm School section created. Name it 'Etiquette: The Art and Practice of Gentlemanly Conduct.' Living well is one thing. Dressing well another, but developing or sharing the social skills of behaving as a gentleman should is something humanity would greatly benefit by.
post #10 of 42
I wonder if it's also fair to assume that there's a strong current of classism within these discussions- it's been said that only those who can afford 'nice things' can even aspire to be the 'ideal' of a well-dressed individual. The % of forum-members who are of that economic status, values, and education are correcting behaviour, if only a small bit at a time, while others (such as myself) will likely never reach the ideal if only because of our ruined upbringing, geographic location (though with the net this is becoming less of an issue) and financial ability.

I think maybe Foo needs to understand that even while he may be discouraged that many of us 'lower types' will never approach the ideal, we still appreciate the dialogue.
post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Man Of Lint View Post

I would like to see a Styleforum Charm School section created. Name it 'Etiquette: The Art and Practice of Gentlemanly Conduct.' Living well is one thing. Dressing well another, but developing or sharing the social skills of behaving as a gentleman should is something humanity would greatly benefit by.

It would be an interesting experiment. Full of pretension, but interesting. Perhaps it should be married to CE.
post #12 of 42
CBrown85, I see this as far more than an experiment. To elaborate on my reasoning for this if I may, it is apparent to the older of us (let's say 50 Years of age and older) that younger people have not paid attention to history. As the old and wise saying goes, 'those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.' . What I see all too often in life outside the forum are those men who make an attempt to dress well but do not practice good behavior. Dressing well, at least to me, should be the icing on the cake. But is the cake itself sweet or sour? Is it a true gentleman that stands before us? or is it a monkey in a suit? Once a person engages in social behaviour, it becomes evident of their nature and intentions. My generation (and those before) were taught to never judge a book by its cover; analogous to not judging people by the way they dress or of their social or econimic class. Rather, we were encouraged to listen to a person speak or observe their behaviour to gain insight into their personality. As many of us here on Styleforum embrace the historical importance of Mens clothing, as well as their practical applications in modern society, should we not also enjoy, preserve and teach the preferred behaviour of a gentleman? In my opinion, a refined, educated or at least well-spoken person is far more interesting and probably more productive than a profane or boorish one. I am very sentimental to the edicts of that which gains men or women true greatness, thusly enriching their own lives and the lives of those they come in contact with. Behaviour is underneath it all and is the way all beings, human or not, reveal themselves to others.
It would be a long shot for me to expect a 300lb biker to take a summer job as a waiter and gracefully ask their client, 'Will you be enjoying a red or white wine with your meal today?'. Not likely right? but should that same biker choose to better himeself, he may come to Styleforum's Etiquette area and learn some very useful skills and maybe, just maybe by serving such a man here, would encourage him to be, and make us all, better men.
post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Man Of Lint View Post

CBrown85, I see this as far more than an experiment. To elaborate on my reasoning for this if I may, it is apparent to the older of us (let's say 50 Years of age and older) that younger people have not paid attention to history. As the old and wise saying goes, 'those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.' . What I see all too often in life outside the forum are those men who make an attempt to dress well but do not practice good behavior. Dressing well, at least to me, should be the icing on the cake. But is the cake itself sweet or sour? Is it a true gentleman that stands before us? or is it a monkey in a suit? Once a person engages in social behaviour, it becomes evident of their nature and intentions. My generation (and those before) were taught to never judge a book by its cover; analogous to not judging people by the way they dress or of their social or econimic class. Rather, we were encouraged to listen to a person speak or observe their behaviour to gain insight into their personality. As many of us here on Styleforum embrace the historical importance of Mens clothing, as well as their practical applications in modern society, should we not also enjoy, preserve and teach the preferred behaviour of a gentleman? In my opinion, a refined, educated or at least well-spoken person is far more interesting and probably more productive than a profane or boorish one. I am very sentimental to the edicts of that which gains men or women true greatness, thusly enriching their own lives and the lives of those they come in contact with. Behaviour is underneath it all and is the way all beings, human or not, reveal themselves to others.
It would be a long shot for me to expect a 300lb biker to take a summer job as a waiter and gracefully ask their client, 'Will you be enjoying a red or white wine with your meal today?'. Not likely right? but should that same biker choose to better himeself, he may come to Styleforum's Etiquette area and learn some very useful skills and maybe, just maybe by serving such a man here, would encourage him to be, and make us all, better men.

To be honest, I'm not sure your argument here is as coherent as you think. How a person treats another is a strong indication of how well their upbringing was regardless of one's knowledge of 'history'- I'm afraid in the spectrum of etiquette, being a 'good guy' and a dope aren't teachable in this context. If people need to learn silly rules regarding which fork to use and when, so be it. But I'd be weary of claiming that such rules make us 'better men'.

I will also respectfully disagree that your generation, that is the baby boomers, were anything resembling a group more socially enlightened than today's millennial. I think that if one were to desire better manners overall, one would be better suited to consult a different source than this forum. It has been a poor example of manners in the past, unfortunately. Maybe I've read too much CE.
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by CBrown85 View Post

I wonder if it's also fair to assume that there's a strong current of classism within these discussions- it's been said that only those who can afford 'nice things' can even aspire to be the 'ideal' of a well-dressed individual. The % of forum-members who are of that economic status, values, and education are correcting behaviour, if only a small bit at a time, while others (such as myself) will likely never reach the ideal if only because of our ruined upbringing, geographic location (though with the net this is becoming less of an issue) and financial ability.
I think maybe Foo needs to understand that even while he may be discouraged that many of us 'lower types' will never approach the ideal, we still appreciate the dialogue.

An accusal of classism suggests that preferences are driven by associations with a particular class. You have it backwards. In this case, the class in question is defined by its abilities and resources. Thus, an admiration or preference for such abilities and resources does not require a preference for the class itself.
post #15 of 42
What I am driving at is that the classic form of men's dress is inherently detracting in a world where individuals are encouraged to adopt whatever values happen to endorse what they are already good at (ex: YouTube). Most would rather believe they are a special flower than bad at something big and important that others excel at with comparative ease. They don't want to be told: you don't dress well, here's how to improve. They'd rather hear: whatever you dress like is perfectly special as it is, and don't let anyone ever change you!

This reflects a broad trend in contemporary society. Of course, not all are so given to the "special flower" mentality, but the voice of classic men's style is nonetheless destined to grow softer and softer. It's just a matter of time and numbers.
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