Today in a paddock at Austin’s F1 track, federal criminal defendant Charlie Shrem read his Letter from Birmingham Jail—recast as a Skype rant from house arrest in a room at Mom & Dad’s. With three guitars visible in the background. By a 24-year-old start-up guy accused of money laundering and facilitating illegal transactions on Silk Road. He covered Galileo, Lawsky, the Constitution, strip searches, and conspiracy. He got a standing ovation from the roomful of virtual miners, not long after the projector had presciently drawn pixelated bars over his screen presence. A protean mob rally of the new cryptopolitics.
He had to stop in the middle of his speech to silence his parents’ intercom.
"During the last few weeks, we’ve seen how far a player is prepared to go to prevent loss of control. We saw the constitution being violated. We saw young MIT students pressured with government subpoenas merely for creating a proof of concept. I saw my personal freedom lost when I was arrested off the plane, stripped naked, searched and my body violated, handcuffed, and escorted out of JFK airport while returning home from a trip with my girlfriend. We saw how forced measures and restrictions of personal integrity were used by the police, not for fighting crime, but for the obvious purpose of harassing the ones involved and everyone who has been anywhere near them.
"There is nothing new under the sun, and history always repeats itself. This isn’t about illegal payments. This is about control over transactional culture and knowledge, because he who controls them, controls the world."
I used to follow a number of menswear blogs. John Tinseth’s, a/k/a The Trad a/k/a Tintin, is one of the few I still follow. In law school, I realized I didn’t know shit from Shiner Bock about how to dress well professionally, so I did what a lot of people do, and I looked for help online. There was no shortage of opinions, guides, and “inspiration.” I read a lot and tried to sort the good advice from the bad. Over the years, though, I’d find myself getting fed up with each of the blogs that I’d once looked to for inspiration. Several started to read like half-rate product placement. Almost all purported to advocate “timeless” style while clearly favoring what was trendy. What once felt like sound advice later seemed frivolous. One by one, I’d find myself thinking “Why am I reading this shit? This is a waste of time” and deleting the feed from my RSS reader.
But not The Trad. Maybe it’s his narratives. The glimpses into someone else’s life, and not superficially. Not just the clothes, but the stories behind the clothes, the family history, the personal anecdotes. Tales of glory and lost love, the heady highs and dark lows, alongside the gloves and ties. The clothes are good, too, but I’m pretty sure that’s not why I still read it.
I also don’t wear many “interesting” accessories anymore, not like I did in law school. The career tends towards the somber. Today I made an exception and pulled out the Longhorn needlepoint belt the wife had gotten me for Christmas a couple of years ago.
Tintin used to do a thing where he’d pair a belt with a drink, and a story behind each. The Friday Belt. Maybe he still does it, but it feels like a while since I’ve seen one. Either way, on the way home from dinner tonight the wife wanted to pick up a six pack. I waited in the car with the kid while she ran in to the grocery store and came out with, unsurprisingly, a six pack of Shiner Wild Hare. What can I say? We met in undergrad at UT Austin, and, like many Longhorns, we have a soft spot for Shiner.
Wild Hare hits you full in the face with its fruitiness, but it follows up with notes of bitterness. I don’t have much of a stomach for fruitiness anymore, be it in #menswear or beer, unless it’s tempered with some bitterness. Then it really hits the spot.