Most of us have received one of those emails displaying photos of so-called “Walmart People.” As you scroll down, there is a collection of pictures of Walmart shoppers wearing wild assortments of clothing covering bodies that seem fashioned from silly putty or carved from tree stumps.
There are horribly overweight women wearing skimpy shorts barely covering explosions of tattoo-blemished buttock flesh. There are men wearing pink leotards and combat boots. There are people who seem to have crawled out of a fissure in the earth–troglodytes perhaps? Or conceivably, humanoid-like creatures from another planet that crash-landed into a Goodwill warehouse?
Can any of this be real? Do people look like that? And do they go to Walmart and other places?
The answer is yes, yes, and yes. These are real people. They do look like that, and they all too often abandon their dank and murky grottos to venture into well-lit public places such as Walmart.
What happened? How did our nation spawn organisms that apparently have no concept of taste, style, or class?
Beyond these “Walmart people” I think national taste and style hit a new low when the Northwestern University women’s 2005 national championship lacrosse team showed up at the White House wearing flip flops. What does this say about respect for the nation’s highest office, let alone personal pride and class?
It says none of that matters anymore. It says if you want to go to a funeral wearing cargo shorts and a tank top it’s OK because the most important thing is not showing a modicum of respect for the deceased, but how YOU feel.
The whole concept of “class” or what it means to be classy is an unknown quality with too many people today. Nothing is left to the imagination. In movies today it has become de rigueur for the camera to pass through the bedroom door as actors and actresses engage in multiple forms of mattress gymnastics.
Remember movies when a couple would go through a door, and then the next scene would be the next day? Isn’t that enough? Can’t we leave something to the imagination for God’s sake?
Can you imagine Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, etc. baring it all for a scene with a nude Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, James Stewart or Burt Lancaster? Wouldn’t have happened. And it’s not just because the censors in those days would not have allowed it to happen. It’s because once upon a time Americans had an appreciation for elegance and taste.
Great actresses of today such as Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Maggie Smith, and Emma Thompson know you don’t have to do the horizontal waltz to exude sex appeal.
They leave something to the imagination.
So why do otherwise intelligent women show up at the White House in flip-flops?
Why do “Walmart people” feel they can go shopping looking like two-legged rubbish bins?
Dare I offer my humble opinion? I fear there is very little child-rearing. Too many parents are abrogating that responsibility to schools, daycare centers, etc. The result is a nation in which millions of kids have little or no understanding of shared values, self-discipline, social responsibility, respect for others, or what we used to call “good manners.”
All of that is utterly passé. The idea for too many young girls today is to look trashy, show as much booty as they can and have a big ugly tattoo poking out above their butt crack.
When I was teaching at the University of Illinois, I couldn’t believe how many female students came to my 8 a.m. class in their pajamas. They couldn’t have cared less about how they appeared. But hey, at least they were comfortable.
I think attitudes began to change dramatically in the counterculture, hippie-fueled, “turn on, tune in, drop out” 1960s when the mantra was: “if it feels good, do it.”
Miss Manners was about as relevant back then as powdered wigs and hoop skirts.
Therefore, we can argue that it’s “generational.” OK, I agree, up to a point. Back in “the day” (and here I am dating myself), we wore tight jeans and white t-shirts with cigarette packs rolled up in the short sleeves. Some of us had “Ducktails,” and we liked to cruise around in customized cars equipped with thunderous glass pack mufflers.
But how many of us looked like those people at Walmart–or for that matter at McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, or I-Hop? Because I have seen them at those places also.
Until the 1960s people took a lot more pride in their appearance mainly because (in my case, at least) my mother would never have allowed me to walk out the door looking like a vagrant. I think too many parents today don’t provide that kind of supervision. Few teach their kids any discipline and instead infuse them with the idea that it’s not necessary to respect others, their property, or their opinions.
School teachers today tell me that when they get kids from homes like that (and that means most kids) every time they attempt to punish them the parents circle the wagons around their brats and often it’s the teacher who gets disciplined. I can’t imagine what it must be like to teach high school today.
That’s why there is such an excess of people who feel “entitled” to say and do anything they want. Think about the hordes of today’s barbarians who, like the Visa-goths and Huns who sacked Rome, are able to enter a Nieman-Marcus or Macy’s store with trash bags, strip shelves bare, and walk out with impunity.
Why is this happening? Why? Because we are allowing it to happen. Because Black Lives Matter leaders say openly that what those people are doing is “not looting, but reparations.” What a ludicrous rationalization.
“These stores owe the black community,” BLM kingpins say. That’s ethical vigilantism and victim distortion. They are encouraging response to a real or imagined injustice by urging remedial cheating, lying, and theft as “payback” for past indiscretions and biases. When someone belongs to a group that is commonly treated with bias or has a history of being so treated, or when an individual feels, perhaps legitimately, that he or she is personally discriminated against or disliked because of factors such as appearance, race, social background, or past indiscretions, they feel empowered to loot and steal. Some even go so far as to attack Asians or elderly pensioners on the street–all because of their perceived victimhood.
It’s a dangerous victim mindset that creates a crippling rationalization that says stealing from a Walmart or Walgreens is okay because those allegedly aggrieved are filled with irrational and groundless hostility. There is also the fact that punishment is just about nil for this kind of unlawful activity.
The result is that significant portions of our nation are sliding dangerously into anarchy. It’s as if those violent “Purge” films, in which citizens are given one full day to commit any kind of crime they want with impunity, are no longer Hollywood fiction, but reality.
Who knows where all of this will end. I am not optimistic given the feckless and irresponsible leadership we are seeing in our cities.