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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Sharen Jergenson: What's the folly with the hoodie?

  • For many, folly is of a more ambiguous nature often entailing a quality lacking good sense. So what’s the folly with wearing a hoodie?
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  •   In architecture, a folly is a structure built to enhance landscape. The Dunmore Pineapple is a folly said to “rank as the most bizarre building in Scotland.” The large country mansion in Dunmore Park, is the ancestral home of the Earls of Dunmore. Sitting atop the pavilion on the walled gardens is a pineapple-shaped cupola. Its architectural style is quite unique with each curving stone separately carved to drain water and prevent frost damage. 
       For many, folly is of a more ambiguous nature often entailing a quality lacking good sense.  So what’s the folly with wearing a hoodie?  It’s being slandered as a menace for society. It symbolizes race, and for many, that spells trouble. This irrational concern over an item of clothing leads me to ponder. If a state can justify their impractical nature to place into law a “stand your ground” ruling, could not that same folly become fixed upon banning the hoodie? That would surely steal my goat!  I counted nine hoodies in my closet of which I wish none to become stereotyped. That would make them symbolic. I don’t want my hoodies evolving from their simple life in a fashion collection to a symbol of injustice. I don’t want them defined, as Geraldo Rivera so ominously did, to be “sending a sinister signal.” He said, ”Stop wearing it!”  WHAT!  I’M TO STOP WEARING MY HOODIES?  He added, ”I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon’s death as Zimmerman was.”  REALLY?  Has logic taken such a nosedive that I am to understand, if I put on a clown suit, people have a given right to throw a pie at my face?  Or, if Trayvon had removed and hung his hoodie on a fencepost, that Zimmerman instead would have shot the fencepost?
         However, do Americans have a monkey on their back? A conundrum that’s easier to ignore than to change?  How many more tragic deaths will need happen before the tin men grow hearts and change gun laws? Laws to protect the subject wearing a hooded sweat shirt. Have virtues been lost in America? If so, are we then to believe that the existence of virtues are located in a traditional celestial hierarchy for angels alone?   I believe people can change if they choose to expand their view and see that from all walks of life we affect each other. Anyone unable to clearly see the racial injustice that continues yet today and opts to interpret it as something “invented” or “extremism by the loony left,” should be examined by an opthamologist. Depth perception plays a crucial role in seeing clearly. It reveals the stereotypes that we have of people, based on skin color, can carry fatal consequences.
    Page 2 of 2 -     If the virtue of self-restraint had been used by George Zimmerman, most likely Trayvon Martin would be alive today. So I ask, why would the simple hoodie Trayvon was wearing become a greater concern than the gun in Zimmerman’s hand?  Dismissal of a single virtue, and George Zimmerman became the catalyst for the destiny of Trayvon. Not only will he, but everyone in that courtroom will be affected by his one moment of losing self-restraint. The jury members will never forget soul searching. They will live with their verdict, whether right or wrong. I know. I’ve been there as a jury member for a murder trial held in Cook County, Illinois. But, unlike Florida, we had twelve diversified jurors for deliberations. Much of the effectiveness of our system of justice is measured by the integrity of those who serve in the courts without the presence of folly.
         With malignant disdain in communities across the country, the saga following the acquital of Zimmerman will live on. He is again allowed to carry a gun.  Over half of the states have some form of “Stand-Your-Ground” or “Castle Laws.”  Like Florida, more  are considering adding these laws. Laws that dictate for one to “meet force with force” if felt threatened. Don’t retreat!  Stand your ground!  But, “you’ve got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”  I suppose, if you’re the one holding the gun, virtues could get tossed aside for the shear impetuous delivery of one of Dirty Harry’s sneering zingers. 
         Edmund Burke asked, “but what is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It  is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.”
    And. . . . that’s my opinion.
     
    (Sharen Jergenson of Heber Springs writes her “And that’s my opinion column... “ for The Sun-Times monthly)

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