Casting A Glamour On The Kids

Glamour, to which almost the entire world now pays homage, was originally a Scots word for a very bad thing, namely a deceitful illusion. In the medieval romances, still with us in the guise of the sword & sorcery genre, the witch “casts a glamour” on the knight so that he thinks her a comely maiden and forgets his true love. The word was revived by Hollywood in the early 20th century and the un-American letter U retained to make it look posher.

When I was young, it had not yet become politically incorrect to gloat about the “benighted savages” who had traded their land to us, the colonialists, for glass beads. Not so very long afterwards I was reading about fourteen-year-old girls who were turning tricks so that they could buy this week’s school fashion accessory and thus avoid social death. Why did their parents fail to realise this? Because they were too busy working their butts off in order to purchase the trade goods required by their own social-climbing games, that’s why.

There really is no point in the comfortable middle class bemoaning what it considers the bizarre fashions of “ghetto cool” and “street cred” and so forth. Their children have to play the game on the board in front of them. The strutting and displaying imperatives imposed on kids by their peers sound much better in a melodious foreign language – Bella Figura is merely how an Italian explains why he spends more money on his clothes than on his dwelling.

When the reintroduction of slavery – or the personal service economy as it will be called this time round – is complete, we shall surely find that there are not enough British valets and butlers to go around. It will then be discovered that American high school students in fact make the best household gatekeepers, as they have so perfected the making of fine social distinctions on the basis of minutiae of dress and behaviour.

Posted on May 9, 2011 at 11:01 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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