The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The Trashy Vermin of the Apocalypse

The  fifth in my series of posts in which I give rants against trends that have developed in society since the days of my youth, the halcyon days of the seventies, when leisure suits and disco were sure signs that society was ready to be engulfed in a tide of ignorance, bad taste and general buffoonery.

We have started off the series with a look at seven developments that I view as intensely annoying and proof that many people lack the sense that God granted a goose.  I like to refer to these as  The Seven Hamsters of the Apocalypse, minor evils that collectively illustrate a society that has entered a slough of extreme stupidity.  Each of the Seven Hamsters will have a separate post.  We have already discussed here the Tattooed Vermin,  here the Pierced Vermin, here the F-Bomb Vermin and here the Texting Vermin.  The fifth of the Hamsters is the Trashy Vermin.

I grew up in a blue collar family in which money was never plentiful.  ( I loved the old Jackie Gleason show The Honeymooners.  It was a howlingly funny show and they were more broke than we were.)   However, my parents always found money in our budget to make sure that all of us had good clothes to wear for Church and special occasions.  “Good clothes” meant a suit and tie for Dad, a nice dress for Mom, and sports jackets and ties for myself and my brother.  Now I know those of you born after 1980 will find this hard to credit, but we were not uncommon in that regard.  At Mass virtually every one was dressed that way.  (I still dress that way, and it is uncommon enough  that a visiting priest brought how I was dressed to my attention as I entered Church with my family a few years ago.)  Evidence of this is clear in the movies from the period.  For example, we have the film Blackboard Jungle (1955), which at the time was thought to be a shocking look at juvenile delinquency.

Today, the only thing shocking, and humorous, about the film is how clean cut the “juvenile delinquents” look.  I have seen more threatening looking individuals in groups of eagle scouts today.  The teachers of course are all arrayed in suits or dresses.

Like most really annoying things in our country, dressing as if your fashion designer scrounges from dumpsters, is a legacy of the Sixties.  Leftist students during the Sixties decided to gain proletarian street creds by dressing much worse than most poor people did.  The Leftists of that day are beginning to plot  how they are going to organize nursing home communes, but the sloppiness of that time which they initiated has become a regular feature of American life.

In regard to the slobbification of America we have several categories to examine:

1.  Wrong clothes for the situation:   Most men traditionally have the fashion sense of a pig in a mud wallow, but in the past they had the female of the species to make certain that they really didn’t go to work wearing a plaid suit or the same t-shirt for two weeks in a row.  Unfortunately, too many women these days also have no fashion sense as demonstrated by the number of women going to work looking either as if they had been dressed by a blind maid or garbed like hookers really affectionate dates:

My profession, Heaven help us, is one of the few institutions attempting to remind people that their ongoing license to dress like slobs terminates when they enter the courtroom.

Here are some handy tips for proper dress in court.  A true sign of the times is the last tip:

“Leave pocketknives, guns and any other weapons at home. They are not permitted in the courthouse.”

 Men especially seem to have difficulty understanding that the ball caps they appear to have perpetually glued to their scalps must be removed from their heads when they go into a courtroom.

Schools also tend to have dress codes, but they also have a few other problems to deal with:

2.  Offenses against aesthetics:  Baggy pants on men:  Gentlemen, and I say this from the heart, people on the street do not wish to see either your underwear or your backsides:

I was going to say something in this category about the distaff offenses against aesthetics, but my survival instinct has just kicked in, (if any of our female contributors or commenters wish to pick up the slack please feel free) so we will move on to:

3.  Torn clothes:  My daughter brought this video to my attention.  I was aware that people had been wearing torn and faded clothes as some misbegotten fashion choice since the Sixties, but seeing this video on the subject caused me to regret the number of times when I was growing up that my mother chastised me for accidentally ripping new clothes.  I was merely making an avant garde fashion statement, and she was attempting to smother my creativity!

4.  Deliberately Offensive Clothes:  It is impossible to go out in public in America, and not find people with deliberately offensive slogans and images printed across their chests.  Do a google search for offensive t-shirts and you will find companies that cater to this market.  A prime example is a t-shirt that can be found on any college campus, and sometimes even worn by students rather than aging faculty from the Sixties:

We live in a time when even the simplest portions of life have become twisted.  Throughout history people have understood that special occasions required special dress, and, to the best of their ability, they have attempted to dress accordingly.  Now, through laziness, indifference, ignorance or defiance, many people in our society treat the entire world as their living room, and they dress in a slovenly manner which helps cheapen and coarsen daily life.  We are doomed to live in a shabby age, and our dress, oddly enough, is perhaps appropriate for the times.

However, perhaps I am being too harsh.  There are worse things than dressing like a mobile rag pile, complete indifference for example, and that brings us to the Whatever Vermin.  However, it is time for me to dress for dinner.  What is the appropriate garb for salisbury steak, stewed prunes, boiled turnips and grape juice?  Oh well, I will figure it out.  Until next time.



Hattip to my daughter, or, as we refer to her,  our Fashion Diva, for trapping and shooting the elusive Trashy Vermin, coming and going

More to explorer


  1. I have to drive to Baltimore on a regular basis, and that poor metropolis, from my observation, is the epicenter of trashy fashion. The saddest sack I’ve seen so far was a man in his fifties or sixties dressed in full thug gear, baseball cap and baggy pants. I almost cried. I also saw a woman in black leggings covered in large crosses, a sin the Church and Anna Wintour can agree on. These leggings were also insufficiently opaque. I won’t elaborate.

  2. I’m amazed at the woman who is a size 18 wearing size 8 tops and size 10 slacks. She reveals her midriff in an shockingly proud way. What’s Up with That?

    I’m not a model for GQ however modesty and common sense have almost vanished in this upside-down culture.

    btw Mr. McClarey. When preparing to partake of Salisbury steak, stewed prunes, boiled turnips and grape juice, my humble recommendation is donning a smoking jacket over white tee-shirt. The shirt should have the following message silk-screened on the front;
    “Ain’t no thing…vote lots of times!”
    -from Acorn fashion catalog.
    Pants indeed. Jeans.
    Socks and shoes a must.
    Now your styling! 🙂
    Vermin is dashingly hip. Your daughter has an eye for fashion.

  3. #2- I think “we do not wish to see your underwear or backsides” works just fine for the female side.
    Baggy clothing is not quite the same problem on women, other than indicating you should maybe suggest they look great, have they lost weight, if appropriate. (I recently lost enough to fit into my Navy era jeans, and they’re starting to get baggy; I never thought of one of the costs of children being the need for three or four totally different sizes of clothing, especially for someone who doesn’t buy maternity clothes.)

  4. As with the previous vermin video on tattoo care, it’s the earnestness of that instructional video on dressing Goth that gets to me. It’s not transgressive if you are moved to write up an instructional script to teach other people how to do it right!
    I for one look forward to the day when young women stop dying their hair in shades meant to shock, to make themselves seem unreal to others, to make others uncomfortable, while being very comfortable for the wearer (e.g. “Vegan and PPD free” and “not tested on animals”). Whatever happened to suffering for fashion? At least the guys in the sagging pants are inconvenienced.

  5. Tamsin-it’s worse than that, they are suffering for fashion. They put an incredible amount of time and effort, and the clothes are uncomfortable, to get the right look of “comfort.”
    It’s kind of like how hipsters spend a lot of time trying to look like they don’t care what they look like, as opposed to the geeks they’re copying who pick clothes based on things like “but I love that show!”

  6. Personally, I think you’re double or even triple dipping here.

    Can’t tatooed and pierced vermin be categorized as trashy vermin along with the bas coutured?

  7. Just today, I saw another dufus with his pants hanging down under his crotch.

    Bill Cosby, in his 1983 comedy show pointed out that young people have brain damage. Popular culture supports and ferments immature behavior in young adults, pf who far too many look at growing up and acting mature and responsible as a waste of their time.

    If I were Supreme Dictator, I would grab this bunch and sentence them to 15 years or more on one of the Aleutian Islands – the same with those who stretch their ears and cover themselves with tats and can’t live without texting and driving. Just long enough to realize that stupidity has a price.

  8. Mm, so many men in suits at the Latin Mass, from little lads to late-80s. (And priests in cassocks: eye candy!) The suits, I am convinced, are treated with greater respect virtually everywhere they go, including Taco Bell. “Like a boss” etc. Guys who try too hard to look current’n’fashionable are kind of depressing, but score points for not being filthy slobs. Low bar, yeah.
    Women’s fashions continue to rototill. Seems like all ages dress like what Gram would’ve called floozies. You see young women in particular at the mall, trying so hard, looking so bad, busy wasting untold dollars on more horrible clothes. Ugh.

  9. I am a shabby dresser.

    In Scotland, when it comes to clothes, quality and durability have always been considered synonymous. Harris tweed, 26 oz to the yard is very nearly indestructible, especially with leather cuffs and elbow patches. Suits and jackets made of this material never lose their shape, for they have none to start with. Flannel shirts, their indispensible accompaniment, should have detachable collars that can be replaced and double cuffs that can be turned when they show signs of wear. Hob-nails and steel heel-plates (like miniature horse-shoes) will prolong the life of boots.

    Formal wear – morning suits and dinner jackets – should be slightly shabby, to show it has not been hired for the occasion, especially if one moves in circles where genteel poverty is esteemed and the nouveau riche despised.

  10. “Formal wear – morning suits and dinner jackets – should be slightly shabby, to show it has not been hired for the occasion, especially if one moves in circles where genteel poverty is esteemed and the nouveau riche despised.”

    Sounds like a form of snobbishness MPS, which can be arrayed in humble garb just as easily as in the finest garments. However, I will give you a pass on this so long as you promise never to go out naked with only blue body paint! 🙂

  11. Morning suits are unusual in the United States. They are only worn for select political ceremonies and weddings. Europeans hold onto much more regimented sartorial codes than us Americans. This might be a good thing despite our propensity to dress slovenly. There are all these spoken and unspoken rules to dress that Americans have no need to worry about (or finance.) American garb suffers less class prejudice of mainland European trends or the quick and disposable fashion turnarounds (that only the young and wealthy can keep up with) seen in the United Kingdom.

  12. MF-S, “Flannel shirts, their indispensible accompaniment, should have detachable collars that can be replaced and double cuffs that can be turned when they show signs of wear.” My father was stationed in England during part of WWII and afterwards as a civilian worked for awhile in London. Yes, he had a Harris tweed jacket and an overcoat that my nephew now wears, shoes that only needed to be resoled every 15-20 years including a pair of white bucks that he claimed were fashioned from Sir Humpfrey de Trafford’s riding britches which my 34 son wears. His shirts had detachable collars and maybe the cuffs were too. What tickled me was the explanation for the extra long shirttails – these were to be used in case of emergency should a gentleman forget his handkerchief.
    On a more serious note my father passed up Cambridge Law School in 1948 to return to the States and marry my mother. They were 34 and 32 and figured they should start a family right away. England at that time was still under rationing and they reasoned that milk, butter, etc for their first baby (me) might be hard to come by.

  13. Foxfier, congratulations on returning to your former figure. Nursing and running after young children keeps one in shape. Having teenagers turns the hair gray.

  14. CAM wrote, “a pair of white bucks that he claimed were fashioned from Sir Humpfrey de Trafford’s riding britches which my 34 son wears.”

    I can well beleive it. I have a pair of doe-skin riding breeches that I have been wearing for shows for 50 years. Suede seat and knee-pads, too, that have never been replaced. I also have a seal-skin greatcoat that belonged to my grandfather and he was born in 1870. I have had it relined a couple of times, that is all.

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