Sunday, April 08, 2007

I thought the British sailors looked cute! ...

...but what do I know?

Here is the New York Times, calling the suits shapeless and badly cut:
Yet, even as we allow that the British servicemen were innocent of fashion, and put on the clothes as a matter of course to replace the pajamas they had most recently been kept in, there is something disturbing about their appearance. It is doubtful that the Iranian government went to the trouble of outfitting 14 men in suits and shirts, however unflattering, if they didn’t mean to make some kind of a political statement. Having never been to that part of the Middle East, I am in no position to comment on a double-standard that permits people to wear one kind of fashion in their homes and another in public. But it seems to me that the plain if not poor cut of the suits was meant as a rebuke to flashy Western tastes. An English banker, in his bespoke suit, might react in horror, but couldn’t that be the point?
Hmmmm. I'm not sure what the argument is here, but is this a case of reading too much? To most eyes -- or at least to third-world eyes like mine -- the suits were elegant and the Iranian regime was just trying to show off, what Ahmadinejad might call his magnanimity. If the sharp sartorial Western eyes found them inelegant and frumpy, that was purely unintentional.

UPDATE: Re-reading the post in the light of the comment below, it strikes me that my prose isn't quite clear about what I am talking about. (Or in other words, I f***ed up). My point is: in dressing up the British sailors in suits, was the Iranian government's way of (elegantly) showing the middle finger to the West, the point being approximately, "look how we treat our prisioners, we even give them suits to wear; have you taken a good look at yours". At the same time, it was a way of gaining the good will of the rest of the Islamic world -- a kind of "look at us, we don't give a damn for the West".

If the suits seemed dowdy and badly cut, that wasn't a part of the plan, nor was it the intention. The suits were the point, not their cut or size. When I mentioned my third-world eyes I meant that they looked like perfectly adequate suits to me -- as I would assume, they would seem, to most people from the Islamic/developing world, at whom the gesture was aimed -- although I am perfectly prepared to accept that the suits were frumpy.

So maybe the Iranians miscalculated, after all?

1 comment:

Mayuresh said...

It isnt about being from third world - I do really believe that the suits were badly cut. And I am also sure that Italians would not be always successful in cutting a Chaniya Choli... So, it is not as much about "third world" countries as much about the fact that suits are a product of "Western" culture. Said that, I am sure such ugly suits would also be found in most of the Americna Stores especially Men's Warehouse! :-)