Island Packet — Jasper County’s recently passed Sagging Pants Ordinance is probably the single best pants-based law to come out of local government in years, with the possible exceptions of the Beaufort County Everyone Wears Boot-Cut Act of 2007, the 2005 Bluffton Corduroy Ban and the Stripey PJs Prohibition Amendment of 2002, which, you’ll recall, nearly was crushed by a massive campaign funded by international lobbying faction Big Clown. I’m kind of not sure how that failed, given the sheer number of activists those guys could pack into their cars.
But the ban passed this week by the Jasper County Council is better than all of those laws combined, as it prohibits anyone — and by “anyone” they mean “The Kids (TM)” — from wearing pants that rest more than three inches below the hips, so as to indelicately expose the wearer’s skin or polka-dotted Elmer Fudd undergarments.
And there are consequences: Those whose pants fall below the approved latitude would be subject to a fine between $25 and $500, as well as be banned from any future visits to either London or France. (The original ordinance included a penalty of jail time, which I am so very not making up.)
Political scholars will note that the Intolerable Trousers Act of 2008 marks the 9,325,192th time in American history that adults have been terrified and confused by the fashions of the young, and the 4,319,391th time they’ve tried to crush it at the local level. This, of course, always works, which is why our nation’s teens have all graciously agreed to a policy of wearing only khaki pants, blue blazers, J. Crew shirts (no crazy duck or sailboat patterns, either) and smart-looking bow ties everywhere they go, which would make everyone feel safer going to the mall, if anyone went to malls anymore, which they don’t because everyone’s broke, which is a problem that is much less pressing than pants.
Oh sure, you’re thinking, this satirical, patronizing riff on people legislating the whereabouts of scary kids’ belts is mean-spirited, awful and has too many commas, but I assure you only the last one of those is true. To be honest, I would have benefited from, and sort of quietly begged for, any government attempts to preempt some of the ridiculous fashion choices made during my own formative years, which occurred during the early 1990s, when coolness was ruled by Seattle, flannel and a system of hilarious layering based mostly on the fashion of the classic American boxcar-hopping hobo.
No meddling grown-ups would have dared try to amend fashion then, as the prevailing opinion was that your coolness was directly related to the number of clothes you wore, which resulted in my regularly appearing in Earth Science wearing 17 flannel shirts tied to one another, with the one on top appointed to that position because it sort of looked the one Eddie Vedder wore in the “Jeremy” video.
Yet if there’s a problem with the legislation, and by “problem” I mean “problem other than the way it seems to go directly against all those civil liberties we were used to before Bush needed them back,” it’s that it doesn’t go too far. That is why I am pitching a logical extension: the Complete Amish Person Getup Proposal of Late 2008, Although Probably 2009 Because I Am Way Behind On Christmas Shopping, which mandates that all children under the age of 18 who have any interest in dressing themselves or engaging in any sort of current fashion trend, no matter how much you probably wouldn’t wear it to confession, be required to adorn themselves forthwith in a handsome frockery solely of cloth and buckle. I’m preparing for a fierce legal battle on this, and, of course, some blowback from Big Clown.