This morning I stumbled over Doug Wilson’s most word-salad-y post of all times. I cannot quite figure out what the entire point is. It seems to be that everything women wear is wrong, with shade thrown in over tattoos, clothing, piano playing, concertina playing, and a laundry list that makes no sense at all. Which is saying something because I’d just read another extreme word salady piece at Tim Bayly’s blog. They’re vying for world champ I guess.
Doug starts off with an imaginary scenario with LSD and old fundamentalists before drifting off to this silly pie making scenario:
A fundamentalist woman in a sun bonnet and a gingham dress, who gets a wicker basket to go pick blueberries, so she can bake her man a pie, with a golden crust, the kind he likes, may be a little bit hokey for your tastes, and certainly for mine. But at least she is trying to achieve an effect that the Bible says women should strive for — she wants to be modest and discrete. She is not trying to achieve an effect that the Bible never urges women to strive for, as in “edgy.” Or “provocative, but not too skanky for an evangelical.” She may be playing the instrument badly, but at least she is playing the right one. Suppose the Bible tells women to play the piano. This does not make every woman an accomplished pianist, but I do have respect for every woman who practices the piano, blunders and all. But the women who show up with a leaky concertina they got at Goodwill are trying to do something else. In other words, let us make a distinction between doing the right thing badly, and doing the wrong thing well.
So following Doug’s reasoning we’ll all support to don sunbonnets and calico to make pies and practice the piano and never fool with accordions?
He follows with this:
When I tag tats and odd jewelry as worldliness, as I have most certainly done, the response is often that women who have their nails done by Pierre at the salon for six hundred dollars a minute can be worldly too. There is a two-fold response to this. The first is sure, worldliness is quite possible there, and at this ostentatious level, inevitable. But what is that to you? You follow Christ. The fact that she shouldn’t be at the salon doesn’t mean that you get to go to the tattoo parlor.
What does any of this mean? Doug hates manicures as much as tattoos? Defining worldliness?
He goes on to break down what women should be, ending at ‘shame-faced’
That said, neither does it constitute an invitation to go ahead and buy a halter top that is two sizes too small. The word is not that elastic, unlike the halter top. In this same verse, the ESV says that women should wear respectable apparel.
Ah, and here we really are, what Doug and others consider respectable apparel. Wilson shoots down arguments that attire is entirely cultural by using a childish statement that using English curse words in a non-English speaking world does not make it right. But that does not hold for calico sunbonnets, Douggie old boy.
This means that the wife of the country club president is being worldly as she tries too hard to be respectable, with results that are too flashy. And she shouldn’t do that — she is playing the piano poorly. But a woman who is schlepping around the supermarket in sweat pants is playing the concertina, and it doesn’t matter if she is playing poorly or well.
He spends a pile of paragraphs skipping around respect, communication and modest dress before going here, the most vile of all this word salad –
It still remains true that in our culture, in English, nothing says trailer trash like a halter top and a tat. And when you get a nose stud, you are a lot closer to Brittany and Paris Hilton than you were before, and farther away from all the fifty-year-old church ladies.
He goes so far as to compare tattoos to Satan’s squiggles with colored pens.
I’m sitting here reading this nonsense wearing shorts and a halter top. What does my outfit communicate? It’s very hot and I value comfort, nothing more, nothing less, like so many others outfits today. It’s not ‘sin’ it’s life. This is a man spending way too long thinking about the clothing choices a little too much.
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