FYI, You Can Get Thrown Off a Plane and Arrested for Wearing Saggy Pants Now
In his terrific book A Renegade History of the United States, Thaddeus Russell points out that representative government in America has not always been a reliable vehicle for the expansion of liberty. More often, American-style democracy has been a way for one group of people to force others to live a certain way.
So it’s no surprise some folks think the government should step in if some young guy isn’t dressed appropriately in public. Last week, some poor bastard named Deshon Marman got thrown off a U.S. Airways flight and arrested because the crew’s feelings were hurt by his choice of attire. You may be familiar with the trend among youths to wear saggy pants that sometimes expose their undergarments. Obviously, this is completely stupid, but the right to look stupid has a rich history and ought to be defended.
The story so far…
What’s the big deal?
I’m not blessed with children myself, so I can only imagine how miserable it must be to have a teenage kid who wears his pants this way. I’m young enough to remember the desire to rebel against your parents by dressing in an unflattering and/or tasteless manner, but goddammit – these kids look like fucking twits. What’s next? Are they going to start wearing shoes on their hands? Get off my lawn.
But if you don’t care for the way youngsters dress these days, the appropriate way to deal with it is scorn and ridicule. It’s not appropriate to get the cops involved. Not in a free society, anyway:
The pilot then threatened to make a citizen’s arrest if Marman did not get off the plane.
Officers said that after 15 minutes Marman left the aircraft and was arrested for trespassing.
‘One of the flight attendants on that aircraft was offended by the fact that she could see the outline of his private area,’ Sergeant Michael Rodriguez said.
‘He was not threatening anybody direct, but being on board an aircraft and being disruptive to the aircraft crew interferes with their duties and that could be a safety factor,’ he told KGO-TV.
So Marman wasn’t threatening anyone, but his presence was still disruptive – because the pilot and a flight attendant are apparently total pussies. I mean, they had a fit because Marman wore low-slung sweatpants? Lame. Sure, maybe Marman had an attitude when first confronted about his bullshit wardrobe, but if he paid for his ticket and wasn’t making any trouble, there’s no reason to throw him off the plane. Actually, if I paid for my ticket and some stewardess got snippy about how I was dressed, I’d probably get an attitude, too.
How much of a disruption could Marman have been? Thanks to the miracle of the internet, we can see for ourselves that Marman was content to pull up his pants and be on his way. Here’s some amateur video from another passenger on Marman’s flight.
Based on the video, it seems like the crew had gotten their point across and Marman was being reasonable. There was no need to threaten a citizen’s arrest or make a federal case out of it.
As you may recall, this saggy pants business has been the target of government interference before. A few years ago, Florida tried to criminalize saggy pants, and a judge found the law unconstitutional. There were stiff penalties for wearing saggy pants in parts of Louisiana and New Jersey. Just before the 2008 election, Sen. Barack Obama was asked about efforts to regulate saggy pants, to which the candidate infamously replied, “brothers should pull up their pants.”
America has been wrestling with this issue for some time, and it’s gotten ridiculous. Here’s a helpful and silly chart that authorities came up with once to explain how to enforce laws against saggy pants.
C’mon, we’re ready to throw people in jail for up to a year because they show a little ass? We’re so uncool. It’s just a dude’s butt. It’s not sexy. It’s not hurting anyone. This cartoon example dude isn’t walking around with his pecker hanging out. Why is he being accused of disorderly conduct because people can see his boxers, but not his junk?
If the buttocks are exposed, I suppose that’s a gray area. Still, does a little plumber butt really rise to the level of indecent exposure? That’s the kind of charge that can land a person on a sex offender registry. It’s just a butt crack, people. These dopes are wearing saggy pants; they’re not waving their privates at kindergarteners. We need to have some perspective here. Dressing like a damn fool may be inconsiderate, and it may go against most folks’ understanding of proper attire, but it doesn’t constitute a threat to anyone’s safety.
What’s the big deal?
It’s often said there is no accounting for taste. We all have different ideas of what constitutes proper public appearance. U.S. Airways isn’t even consistent on this issue – they let some goofy cross-dresser wear women’s underwear on a flight earlier this month, and that plane managed to reach its destination without incident. (Enjoy the photo at the link!)
If we’re going to be totally arbitrary about what clothing constitutes a disruption, then it’s a bad idea to get the government involved. The authorities have enough problems fighting futile wars on drugs and terror. U.S. Airways shouldn’t be calling them when they lose their temper about how kids dress these days.