America's Crack Problem

Here's the latest thing that states and municipalities are worrying about.
It's a fashion that started in prison, and now the saggy pants craze has come full circle -- low-slung street strutting in some cities may soon mean run-ins with the law, including a stint in jail.

Proposals to ban saggy pants are starting to ride up in several places. At the extreme end, wearing pants low enough to show boxers or bare buttocks in one small Louisiana town means six months in jail and a $500 fine.

A crackdown also is being pushed in Atlanta, Georgia. And in Trenton, New Jersey, getting caught with your pants down may soon result in not only a fine, but a city worker assessing where your life is headed.

"Are they employed? Do they have a high school diploma? It's a wonderful way to redirect at that point," said Trenton Councilwoman Annette Lartigue, who is drafting a law to outlaw saggy pants. "The message is clear: We don't want to see your backside."

The bare-your-britches fashion is believed to have started in prisons, where inmates aren't given belts with their baggy uniform pants to prevent hangings and beatings. By the late 80s, the trend had made it to gangster rap videos, then went on to skateboarders in the suburbs and high school hallways.

"For young people, it's a form of rebellion and identity," Adrian "Easy A.D." Harris, 43, a founding member of the Bronx's legendary rap group Cold Crush Brothers. "The young people think it's fashionable. They don't think it's negative."

But for those who want to stop them see it as an indecent, sloppy trend that is a bad influence on children.

"It has the potential to catch on with elementary school kids, and we want to stop it before it gets there," said C.T. Martin, an Atlanta councilman. "Teachers have raised questions about what a distraction it is."
Where have these people been? The low-riding pants fashion has been around for years, and these folks are just catching up? Hand these people a copy Rolling Stone, somebody.

It's also extremely old news that the whole point of teen fashion is to drive the parents and older generation nuts. My grandmother scandalized her parents with the flapper look in the 1920's, the bobbysoxers did it to theirs in the 1940's, and kids faced expulsion from school in the 1960's for refusing to cut their hair. This gangsta look is just the latest, and who knows what the kids will come up twenty years from now. (With any luck, it'll be bell-bottoms and wide lapels. I still have some of those in the closet.) I just wonder what the hell the kids use to hold the pants up? Velcro? Thumbtacks?

Frankly, I think the people in these towns who are coming up with these laws and fines are just jealous that they can't wear the hippest (sorry) fashion... and thank Dog they can't; I'd hate to see some middle-aged guy going around with his butt-crack showing. That kind of fashion statement is below the belt.

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