Thursday, August 10, 2017

Trump and Tie-Dye: A DC Philosophical Fashion Faux Pas

Now I'm not a clothing maven, but I can spot a philosophical fashion faux pas when I see one.

Today, on a sales table in the Crystal City Underground, I came upon a red, white, and blue tie-dyed Donald Trump Make America Great Again t-shirt.

There's no way Trump and tie-dye go together. Can you envision Trump at any point in his life wearing tie-dye anything? And then there's the ideological clash inherent in pairing Trump and tie-dye.

Although tie-dye as a process has been around in Asia and Africa for centuries, it exploded in America 50 years ago during San Francisco's Summer of Love. It was popularized by counterculture icon Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters and quickly adopted by emerging rock stars Janis Joplin and John Sebastian, formerly of the group The Lovin' Spoonful.

Spreading from the California Coast, by the end of 1967 tie-dye was the unofficial uniform of hippies everywhere. Vibrant tie-dye became synonymous with the hippie ideals of peace, love, psychedelic drugs like LSD, acid rock, communal living, anti-materialism, a reverence for nature, and a passion for doing your own thing, you know almost the exact opposite of the Donald Trump political platform.

In 1967, as tie-dye was emerging, Trump was a button-down, tie-wearing, limousine-riding, fledgling business tycoon at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business with his eye on fortune and fame in New York City.

Today, the continuation of the tie-dye culture rests in the hands of passionate, hardcore fans of the Grateful Dead, known as "Deadheads". In fact, attending a Dead concert is to see a veritable sea of colorful tie-dye, much as attending a University of Alabama Crimson Tide football game would reveal just how many clothing items can come in shades of red.

Many of the Deadheads follow the latest incarnation of the legendary band Dead and Company from city to city, trying to see as many shows on a given tour as they can. Along the way, to make money for food and gas, they often sell home-made items in the parking lots before shows. Some of the most popular items are tie-dyed t-shirts, skirts, scarfs, and bandanas. Can you see Donald Trump as either buyer or seller at one of those stands? I don't think so.

Now I've got it. We shouldn't be judgmental. People have a right to wear whatever with whatever slogan emblazoned on it they want. But some things just don't belong together. Tuna-covered ice cream. Oyster-flavored cereal. And in that category, I would add Trump and tie-dye.

I admit I was tempted to hang around to see what kind of person might buy a tie-dyed Trump t-shirt. But I didn't. Some things are just better left unseen.

--- By Dave Price

Can you envision Donald Trump encouraging his kids to cavort in clothes like this?

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