The Shreveport Times had this late last week…
Caddo Parish District 3 Commission Michael Williams said it was an incident at a local Walmart that offended him and some elderly customers that spurred him to push for an ordinance that would prohibit wearing pajama pants in public.
“I saw a group of young men wearing pajama pants and house shoes,” he said. “At the part where there should have been underwear,” his private parts were showing through the fabric.
The article goes on to collect reaction from assorted schlubs who go out in public with pajamas on…
“I wear my (pajama) pants anywhere,” Tisdem said. “I’m an American, and I can wear my clothes anywhere I want. I’m a grown man. I pay my own bills, so I can wear my clothes the way I want. I don’t know why it’s an issue.”
It’s an issue because wearing pajamas in public makes you a slob, and it’s depressing to see so many slobs on the street.
And it’s an issue because it used to be something you could take for granted that people would have some standards about themselves, which they clearly don’t anymore. That hideous video of the Alabama fan rubbing his little tallywhacker in the face of a passed-out LSU fan which blew up yesterday was appalling not just because of the degradation it represented of someone who happens to identify with a different football team, but because of the societal decline it represents that (a) someone would drink themselves into such a stupor as to be passed out in a Bourbon Street burger joint and (b) someone would regard it to be even remotely acceptable to display his genitals in public, much less commit sexual battery on video.
We’re a society which simply doesn’t have standards anymore. We’ve so dumbed down our culture and so lawyered ourselves up that simply pointing out the failures or laying shame down upon those who richly deserve it opens one up to being called a Nazi or a bigot. And so nobody even bothers anymore.
Which is a frightening thing, because since ordinary people aren’t capable of policing their own behavior or ridiculing those who can’t conduct themselves in public that creates a void the local attention-whore politician will make it his business to fill.
And in Shreveport, that means Williams and his Anti-Pajama crusade. Shreveport already went after the scourge of droopy jeans; now they’re going after another affront to the public scenery.
What Williams ought to do is be a community leader rather than a political hack. Politicians think the only way to address societal ills is to rush out and pass a law. Leaders do the harder work of changing people’s minds and producing behavior which uplifts, rather than degrades, society.
Is he doing that? Not really. He’s getting media attention about slobs in pajamas, but instead of pointing out that folks need to have more pride and self-respect than to go out in public like a stereotype of the typical welfare underclass he’s creating a backlash against nanny-state politicians.
We shouldn’t be talking about making pajamas illegal. We should be talking about making people not want to wear pajamas in public. Community standards shouldn’t require reams of legislation to enforce them.
As for Williams and his fellows on the Caddo Parish Commission, they need to work on real problems – not petty crap to get themselves on TV. There’s enough of that around as it is.