RW190 - Psychologically Prepared

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to John having a small bag packed in the psychological sense and he is somehow prepared to lose everything at a moments notice.

Dan got his room mic on, which always happens, but he fixes it when John mentions it.

Dan thinks there are too many options for podcasts content now. Back in the day 5by5 was the only network that was worth listening to and had all of the shows that mattered. It is not that way anymore. There was a two or three day window where that was true and it was the best couple days of Dan’s professional career.

That used to be also true of Indie Rock. There was a brief period where Barsuk Records supplied a lot of really good Indie Rock to the world and then a lot more Indie Rock came on the market and here we are and John is living his best life in the suburbs now, but he is not even sure if that is his best life.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

Hamilton, John regretting not having spent more time in New York (RW190)

John watched Hamilton the other night. Both Merlin and Hodgman were real evangelists about it. Hodgman probably bought John the Hamilton soundtrack three times, Merlin talked about it all the time, Hodgman listened to it every day for a year, Storm from Paul and Storm is always trying to get Lin Manuel Miranda to be something. He is very close with the McElroys or something. There are a lot of connections. Lin Manuel Miranda played John’s song, the theme song to their show, at a live McElroy's concert, which John was flattered by.

He finally watched it and it is very good with an extremely talented cast and wonderful song, but there is a song in it, a recurring theme that in New York you can do anything, about being a young person and moving to New York and the world is your oyster. John has a lot of regrets about not having spent more of his youth in New York. He really likes New York, he spent a lot of time there, and he does not have much interest in musical theater, but he does love New York and he has spent a lot of time there, but he didn’t move to New York in his early 20s and struggle and live in a cockroach infested flat with his seven roommates, all wearing leg warmers and constantly being at the studio, working on their dance routines.

John didn't have that experience, but he would have been suited for it because that is basically what he did in Seattle, although in Seattle cockroaches are much smaller and hardly existent. You only see them every once in a blue moon and John hasn’t seen a cockroach in probably 15 years. Dan has seen one in the last 15 minutes. John lived in an apartment in the mid 1990s that was close to downtown and not very well maintained and there were roaches that John was appalled by.

Other than this one time in 1996 he has never had a roach in any of his domiciles. He has little tiny sugar ants that are a plague and at the farm he had possums in the walls and raccoons and rats in the attic, which was a bummer and of course there are giant spiders half the year, everywhere, but no roaches and no rats like you see in New York where they are just pouring out of the gutter.

John wishing he had moved to New York when he was 30 (RW190)

Listening to this song in the context of Hamilton John felt a melancholy of a life not led, the melancholy of: ”Oh, right! There was a time when…” and the time he should have moved to New York was at age 30 because he had his 10 years in Seattle, it had been amazing, but when he was 30, which was year 2000 Seattle had seemingly run its course. Most of his friends at 30 years old had decided that they couldn't just sit around in cafes all the time, they had to go get jobs, and people were shacking up and it was that initial turn of the corner that a lot of people make where the ones that wanted to be serious about theater moved to Los Angeles or New York and the gang broke up a little bit. It wasn't clear to John that he had a future in music. It seemed unlikely, and he did move to New York.

He had a bad breakup with a girl in Seattle and was walking around town all the time, both looking for her and also when he saw her drive by or walk past it broke his heart again, so he was in this terrible state where everywhere he looked there was a reminder of this girl and he couldn't swallow for weeks at a time. Then his friend Kristen, who had moved to New York told him to just through his stuff in a bag and come to New York and it just made so much sense at the time and John bought an Amtrak ticket for $100.

John had already recorded the first Long Winters record, but hadn't come out, and he got on the train and the owner of Barsuk, Josh Rosenfeld… John had mastered the record with the mastering engineer the day before and it was being duplicated or something into a cassette tape that John could play. He was actually sitting on the train and Josh Rosenfeld came running down the platform, looking in the windows of the train, and John saw him and ran to the platform between the cars and Josh handed him this tape of his first album: ”Here you go! Good luck!”

The train started moving, it was pretty romantic, pretty nuts and John listened to that record all the way across the country. Then he got to New York and Kristen met him at the station and they took a train up to Harlem where John’s friend Chris was living, and he moved into his apartment and it was a hot summer in New York and John wrote pretty much half the songs of the second Long Winters record When I Pretend to Fall that summer sitting in his living room. It was a really great time in John’s life and he should have stuck it out.

He got there in the first week of June and left first week of September 2001. The day before he left he went to the top of the World Trade Center with his friend Chris and looked around and marveled at it, talked about the earlier attempt to blow it up and talked about what it would take to blow it up and wouldn't that be incredible if they had succeeded in blowing up the World Trade Center and fallen down, while standing on top of it, looking out. When 9/11 happened, John was like: ”Ah man, I kind of wish I had been there for all of the trauma of it!” At the time it felt like where he belonged and going back to Seattle felt like going backwards.

That feeling persisted in him until maybe 3-4 years ago, which was the first time he went to New York and on that first day walking around he had that feeling for the first time that he doesn’t want to live there. He had always wanted to live there and every time he went he said: ”God, I want to live here! Why am I not living here?” and it was the first time that he said: ”Oh, I don't have any interest in living here anymore!”, probably because his New York friends also graduated to a place where they no longer were doing anything interesting or exciting.

They just had their routines, they went to the store, they went to their job, they went to the places that they went, they went to see shows sometimes, but not that often, they saw their own friends only irregularly. Basically, they were living in the greatest city in the world, but they actually were living in a five block area where they had their routines. Nobody was making plays, nobody was coming up with cool stuff, but everybody had their stuff to do and they did their stuff, basically.

John also finally felt like he now feels in Seattle that when he goes downtown he thinks: ”Oh, this isn't my town!” Seattle isn't his town anymore, not even in the way it was four years ago. He knows every inch of this place, you can't point to a building in the city that he doesn’t have a memory of, he did something there some time in the last 30 years, but who cares? When he goes back to Anchorage it is the same. He walks around and thinks: ”Yeah, I know every street corner, but who cares? What does it matter?”

That feeling that there are so many lives John could have led, so many lives that are being led right now. Maybe they have listeners in Istanbul, but regardless there are millions of people in Istanbul right now who are living lives that John can begin to comprehend. He knows what it smells like in Istanbul, he knows what the sunlight is like certain times a year.

John doesn’t even know what his neighbors are doing. He can't imagine what his next door neighbor’s lives are like and how it feels to be in their house. The neighbor across the street uses one of those plug-in air fresheners which makes everything in the house smell like it has got rancid oil on it. Every once in a while they make a batch of chocolate chip cookies for John’s family and the cookies smell and taste like their plug-in air freshener. They are not edible. You have to plug your nose to eat them!

John doesn’t know what it is like to live in the next door neighbor's house, but there is a version of him that has been living in Barcelona for the last 12 years. Probably 13 years ago was when he was most likely to move to Berlin or Barcelona and he has pictured the lot what his apartment would have been like. He would be speaking German or Spanish pretty well, and he would have German and Spanish friends, he would be their American friend, it might have even been better for his music career because his band was popular in those countries and he would have been the exotic foreign Indie Rocker.

Maybe he would have been very popular with his friends and with the ladies. Who knows? He could have six kids living in Barcelona, maybe he wouldn't have a cool apartment, but he would be living in some housing project. Or maybe he would be back in the United States and have six kids living in Spain who didn't know him. Anything could have happened!

John looking into genealogy (RW190)

John talked to Dan about his genealogy last week. He discovered that he had some very important and influential ancestors that he did not know about. Having spent more time twiddling around in there he realized that by the time you get back to ten generations ago you basically have 1000 ancestors. You don't have to go that far back to where, like in almost any family, there are situations where cousins are marrying cousins and often it is not second cousins who knew each other, but you are just living in a small town and nobody is aware of the fact that your great great great grandparents are the same because it doesn't come up in conversation.

It doesn't take very many of those to shrink the number of ancestors because of exponential growth. If you share a great grandparents with your spouse, that means you have closed off one of the routes to having 1000 ancestors. John is interested in what happened ten generations back. That was a pretty fertile time and he realized there were so many people back then that discovering something interesting about one of them is so disconnected from…

At the point that we are back 15 generations we are basically all cousins and back 20 generations there were only eleventytwelve people, which is why everybody is related to Joan of Arc. At 20 generations, if cousins didn't marry cousins you would have one million ancestors, but of course that is not true because that is insane and there were too many kissing cousins for that to be true.

That genealogy stuff is really fascinating and the further back you go it gets more interesting in a different way, buy it also gets more and more irrelevant and doesn't answer any questions or solve any problems for you in terms of whether or not you should have moved to Berlin.

John still working on his house (RW190)

John is thinking about all this because he is working on a house that he still has not moved into and he still hopes to move into and because he has a child he looks into the future in a different way than he ever did. He never looked that far into the future, he didn't make plans for his future, really. He didn't say: ”Where am I going to be five years from today?”, but he woke up every morning without a plan. If there were an appointment in his calendar that was coming up he dreaded it more and more the closer it got.

With a 9-year old you can’t help to think that in 10 years she is going to be 19, and 10 years doesn't seem that long looking back. This Paul Reed Smith jacket he is wearing right now he had 10 years ago, he owned this microphone he is talking into 10 years ago, and 10 years from now John’s little darling who right now has to be nagged to do the dishes and likes to read comic books about Star Wars is going to be riding around in a Camaro with some kid named Brad on her way to college, if college even exists, still needing to be nagged about the dishes.

Looking at this house that John is working on, and thinking about it not in the terms that he would have thought about it in his 30s, which is: ”I am building this house that I am going to live in for 1000 years and in this house everything that will ever happen to me happens!” He thought that way about everything that he laid his hands on. He would find a cool jacket and he would say: ”I will wear this jacket until one day I am standing on the shores of the Black Sea and I will take this jacket off and hand it to my grandson and say: Good luck climbing Mount Ararat!” and his grandson will say something to him in Phoenician. His imagination was didn't have any boundaries.

Now he is picking tile and thinking: It is already too late for this house to be the house she grew up in. This is the house that she is going to live in just like John is looking at his own past and thinks: ”Well, that is the house I lived in until I was in 4th grade and then that is the house I lived in from 4th grade to 7th grade” This house is going to fit into her life that way as one of the houses that she lived in in her life. John is building this house with the idea of she move into it as a pre-teen and this will be the house she lived in in her teenage years. John remembers the house he lived in in his teenage years and in some ways it is the house he has the most affection for.

John does not have two kids. He has one kid, and when she turns 18, whatever she decides to do, whether it is move out or move into the basement or join the Air Force, John is going to be in his early 60s, hopefully still fit, he can't really look much older than he looks now, so he will look the same. Hopefully in the next 10 years he will look less shabby, not more shabby. When he looks at 60 year olds that don't look shabby, like your David Burns that just looks like they are carved out of ice, or Duff McKagan who is carved out of oak.

John is not carved out of anything, he is made out of scoops of stuff. You don't widdle him away from a piece of driftwood, but you put a bunch of scoops of things together and then basically in the attic of a synagogue in Prague you throw a bunch of mud into a pile and animate him somehow to exact vengeance on the part of your people. John can't get more shabby. He has been catching glimpses of himself…

The Boogaloos co-opting the Aloha-shirt and hoping for the civil war (RW190)

The fact that the boogaloos have co-opted the Aloha shirt as part of their boogaloo culture. Dan says that nobody can co-opt the aloha shirt, just like nobody can co-opt the come-and-take-it flag, the don’t-tread-on-me flag. That has preexisted for so long and is still used with the original meaning that someone else can't come in and co-opt it and say: ”Well, it means this now!” when there are still people using it to mean the first thing.

The name Boogaloo started on 4chan where a lot of people used to be trying to be funny, just like Twitter used to be, except on 4chan it was quite a bit darker, but also it was raunchy and rowdy. It was a cesspool for sure, but it felt like Twitter like a new thing in the world, an anonymous place where people said and did whatever they wanted and there was no archive. That was the genius of 4chan. Not only was it anonymous, but there was no archive. You said something and no matter how bad it was or how awful an image it struck it was gone by that evening.

The ephemeralness of it inspired a certain kind of culture that used to be interesting. It isn't anymore because it has gone through 10 generations of cultures that populated it and the current generation is garbage and it will be garbage forever now, there is no coming back to it. Of course within the legend of 4chan it has always been garbage, and that is true, also.

It has long been a joke to to say: ”Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” in refer to anything that has a second installment. If you say Jaws 2, and you are a certain age, you almost can't help but say Electric Boogaloo because Electric Boogaloo was the second installment of the Breakin’ film series, which were breakdancing exploitation movies. Dan loved listening to that cassette tape in his Sony Walkman for hours.

At some point some survivalist or some young kid that liked guns said something about the second civil war and said it is going to be Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo and that took on a life of its own and all the people hoping for a civil war, and there are a lot of them, used the boogaloo as a shorthand for the culture that surrounds people who are preparing for / hoping for a society ending palate-cleansing civil war and at some point very recently those people started to be called Bugaloos in the way that the Argott changes reality, not related to Juggalos at all, although there is surely a small set of Juggalos who are also boogaloo, but they haven't yet stood up and waved a flag or anything.

The idea of an imminent civil war, one that we have to prepare for, really overlaps with a lot of subcultures: The disaster preparedness people, the gun people, the everyday carry people. The whole concept of everyday carry is rooted in the idea that things could go wrong at any moment and you better have a knife, a flashlight, some band aids, a fishing wire, a shortwave radio. Roderick on the Line used to have a whole gag about the fact that John keeps a small bag packed, the idea that he is always ready just psychologically ready to have everything taken away.

It is fundamental to John that everything he has is a gift for now, but if somebody walked in the door and said: ”You got to get off the phone with Dan! Follow me!” and John got up and followed this person and they asked him to get in the back of the truck and he never ever came back here and never saw any of this stuff again and never saw his friends or family again and just went into the forest or went out to sea, at some level he is psychologically prepared for that to happen. That is not to say he wouldn't be devastated at the loss, but it is related to wanting to not be dependent on anything to such a degree that John is always prepared to lose everything. That is a ”keep a small bag packed” thing and an everyday carry thing, it bleeds into all this stuff, this other world.

The Boogaloos, at least the ones that get a lot of press, tend to be people that are play-acting as though a civil war is going to be fun. They got to spend some money on some rifles and some knives. They got their flashlight and their compass and their wraparound sunglasses and some tactical webbing and what they really wish they had is some grenades, but they don't have a class-A license and so they don't have grenades or maybe they do. There are a lot of these people, and they are not all young white kids, but the American West is full of people that have bunkers and caches of weapons and food.

You can’t spend that much time preparing for a disaster without beginning to hope for the disaster. Nobody stockpiles that much shit and continues to in their heart of hearts hope they never have to use it. They say that, but if you have spent that much energy preparing for something, you hope it happens. A lot of people probably genuinely hope to never have to use it, but they are doing that preparation because they think it is plausible and there is a line somewhere for a lot of people where something goes from being plausible to being probable.

Until very recently John felt that a lot of that stuff was plausible, but it would require a dramatic, inciting event and was highly unlikely. John doesn’t have a stockpile of guns and he only keeps food around because the supply chain is fragile and is capable of having at the absolute maximum a 10-15 day interruption. It is extremely unlikely that the supply chain would be interrupted to the degree that people would starve unless there was an inciting event.

Even if a nuclear bomb went off at Boeing Field, within 15 days the region would be flooded with aid and help and systems would be in the process of beginning to be restored. It would be awful, but it is like when a hurricane hits Florida. Sometimes it takes weeks to get everything working again, but by the following year it is all up and running. It doesn't even take that long.

But these days? Just recently John started to feel like there are more people alive now who have absolutely zero conception of what it would be like to live through a war, even a war that was happening elsewhere, to live through a war where we were the home-front. Not these wars of adventure that we are having in Afghanistan, but an all consuming war. We are generations from the last person that knew what it was like to live in a war, unless we are talking about people who have emigrated here and who survived wars.

John’s dad fought in World War II, his mom was a teenager during the war, a kid his daughter's age and John has that kind of proximity to war, but neither of them saw any atrocities. His mom collected cans for the war effort and they didn't have real coffee. The majority of people now in America don't know what it is like really to want for anything. A percentage of people in this country are truly needy and are truly going without nutrition, but the vast majority of people in this country don't really know what it is like to want. They desire, but they are not suffering from deprivation.

You have this enormous population that can't conceive of what it is like to be really fucked and so there is all this talk about violence now as though it is necessary and inevitable, but nobody has run the numbers on what that would mean for them personally if the country came apart in a violent way, and if it came apart, it would be in a violent way.

All of a sudden the idea that that was implausible is starting to go away for John. He is starting to feel like it happens all the time. This crazy love of mine. One thing that reading history teaches you is that it doesn't take long for stable societies to come apart, thousand year reichs last 25 years, not every Roman Empire anymore lasts 1000 years. The number of years that empires last seems to get shorter and shorter. What does that mean? What is John’s plan, having put some thought into how miserable it would be. He is 50 and not 25, but the 25-year olds, the Boogaloos feel like what they think they are doing is fun and the revolution and disintegration they are looking forward to is going to be fun.

Boogaloos are not about revolution. They are about surviving an apocalypse. There are a lot of other people who are about a revolution who think that what we have is so bad that to rip it asunder and to live for 20 years in a period where millions die is necessary to right some injustice. They and the boogaloo are birds of a feather, they just don't know it, or they wouldn't acknowledge it.

The Boogaloos wear Hawaiian shirts. People started recognizing that Boogaloo was code for this and they started to try and mask it by using homonyms like Big Luau instead of Boogaloo when they discussed their movement online and then Big Luau turned into wearing a Hawaiian shirt because they are ready for the Big Lualu and then you are talking about a bunch of 25 year old white dudes. so Hawaiian shirts already had a little bit of a hipster resurgence. Hawaiian shirts are easy for guys who don't have any fashion to wear something that is loud without being feminine. It is fun without being fruity for people who don't know how to be stylish.

It is the reason Hawaiian shirts are popular with middle aged white dudes and John has acknowledged that from the very beginning. He likes a certain kind of Hawaiian shirt that are exciting to him and he likes to search for them and collect them and he abhors 90% of all Aloha shirts because he doesn't like them, but he does like this certain little segment of them that remind him of his childhood.

As he caught his reflection in the mirror many times he thought: ”This shirt says all these things to you, but to the world you are indistinguishable from every other fat boomer in a Hawaiian shirt who is working on his GTO in his driveway!” The Hawaiian shirt and the gray beard and the big white dude with the pot belly is a form of invisibility, a Jimmy Buffett pan man state of: ”I have given up. I don't care anymore. I quit my job at General Electric and now I get to wear Hawaiian shirts every day and they are loud and fun and they are like socks that say Fuck You, but at the same time I don't have to worry about color-coordinating it with anything and I don't have to worry about looking like I'm a girl or like I care.” It is the ”I don't care”

For John the amount that he cares about this Aloha shirt versus that one is almost like an irony, that he looks with it on just like all these other people that don't care about anything. He does feel like this is a gift that the Boogaloos have have given him. Although he agrees that the Boogaloos cannot steal aloha shirts, they have no right, they don't have that power, they are not big enough and they won't last long enough.

Did hipsters steal the fedora? (RW190)

Long before Hipsters stole fedoras it was cigar-smokers who stole fedoras, assistant district attorneys who enjoy a good Cuban cigar, who stoled fedoras from history 20 years ago, and then they lived in a world where fedoras belonged only to them. They could wear their fedora and their ankle-length black trench coats and drink single malt scotch and smoke cigars and no-one wanted anything to do with them. That was their private universe.

Then Hipsters started with the Trilby hat because there was a generation of hipsters that came out of Justin Timberlake and Michael Bublé and whatever else who believed that somehow they equaled Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack levels of cool because they wore skinny ties and trilby hats, 15-20 years ago where all of a sudden you got Michael Bublé with his jacket slung over his shoulder and a little pork pie hat going ”Shooby doo dooby doo!”

John doesn’t know who that fooled. It fooled people younger than him and it was a hot topic cool, but as those people got older and we went through that phase 10 years ago where there was a recognition that heritage brands and Made in America things were worth the money and preferable to cheaply made throwaway World Trade Organization clothes and garbage, when people started buying Red Wings again because they realized they could wear a pair of Red Wings for 40 years and just get them resoled.

If they buy a pair of Timberlands and they blow out in two years you just buy another pair of Timberlands. You buy a pair of Red Wings or you buy a Filson bag, and John was along for that ride for a while because he came out of the vintage side of it. He bought a pair of Red Wings from the 1960s and they were still great. Presumably that means you could buy a new pair and they are still great.

We are still in that era of heritage brands, the mustache wax generation. Then the recognition that things like Stetsons were still being made in America and still were things of beauty that conveyed a constellation of taste and class and they are expensive, so it was money, but they are not so expensive that it was crazy money. That is when the Fedoras and the Hamburgs and the hats came back into the world as a hipster thing, and we are not talking about hipster as in 2002 hipster or 1992 hipster, but 2012 hipster, which is a different unrecognizable kind of hipster. That is where those hats still live.

Their finest iteration is the high desert hipster, the turquoise jewelry wearing 10-gallon hat sun-baked Yucca Valley and Taos hipster. They wear those hats and they really do feel like an honest new expression of a Tom Mix hat on top of a sun-weathered gal with blond hair in a loose braid, being followed around her artist's compound by four mangy dogs, and she is working on a sculpture that she is welding out of her mom's Volkswagen Squareback. John is all in on that look. It is way better than the Fedora, black trench coat, cuban cigar, Nat Schurman world.

Like all good fashion evolutions you can't quite put your finger on all the references. The trench-coat Fedora cigar people are a straight reference. They are trying to 1940s men's club Indiana Jones in town, while the 10 gallon hat people are slightly more inventive because it is ”Sunset magazine rich housewife meets tattooed welder artist meets Palm Springs refugee Coachella, but a little bit of old Mexico.” It is annoying as fuck when you see it in Portland because it doesn't belong, it is not native to Portland.

Wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots in and out of Texas (RW190)

If multiple generations of your family have lived in Texas and you own a cattle ranch, then a cowboy hat is the thing you put on in the morning to do your work. You are wearing the hat as a matter of practicality for doing your job and it is part of your life and the culture that surrounds you. Your father and your uncles all wear cowboy hats, and so do the women in your family whenever they are out working. The cowboy hat is considered a business hat, you wear a bolo tie, and cowboy boots are standard issue for you.

If you visit somebody in Portland, then swapping out the cowboy boots for New Balances and not wearing the cowboy hat would be as wrong for somebody from Portland to show up in the Dallas airport, buying a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, and then walking amongst their new Texan neighbors and saying: ”I'm a Texan now!”

If you live in Texas long enough you will wind up buying a cowboy hat, or at the very least a Western style hat, and you wind up with cowboy boots eventually, even if you don't ride horses, and you can wear any of these things as often as you want, and nobody really thinks anything of it. In Austin you don't see a lot of cowboy hats, but you see them. As a test Dan wore cowboy hat and boots around just to see if anyone would comment on it or say anything about it or even really bat an eye at it or make a joke or anything, but no one did it. He got the same reaction as if he was wearing no hat or wearing a baseball cap, it made no difference. No one cared.

But if he did that in where he lived previously, in North Carolina or in Florida or certainly in Philadelphia, it would get a lot of looks and people would refer to him as that cowboy or Tex, but in Texas no one does that, even though Austin is the least of that kind of Texas of the places that he visited in Texas. No-one thinks anything about it.

What Dan is talking about is code switching. There have always been people in Texas that wear boots and cowboy hats who then have to go to town to do business and the degree to which the clothes that you wear in your native environment are the only clothes that you can conceive of is the degree to which you look like a hayseed when you go to town. The same is true if you are a Portland Emo Rocker and the only clothes you know are T-shirts that are two sizes too small and sta-prest jeans. If you wear that to a wedding or you wear that to a meeting, you are going to look like somebody that doesn't know what they are doing.

There is a version of Texas which has always worn expensive cowboy boots with a suit. George W. Bush tried to do that in the White House, and that has always been a very self-conscious badge, indicating that we do things differently in Texas. In Texas the bolo tie is 100% considered to be a tie, as it is in old Anchorage. A cowboy hat and cowboy boots are also considered, for people who wear cowboy boots they are absolutely considered dress shoes, and if Dan goes to a formal event, the most formal shoes he has are actually a really nice pair of cowboy boots.

It is a question of whether or not you are in a situation where you want your fashion to communicate to other people more about you than about acknowledging the situation. If you are somebody that is like: ”I only wear cowboy boots!”, then that says something about you. If you go into a meeting in New York City where everybody else in there is wearing wingtips and you are in cowboy boots, then you are making a statement about yourself.

Sometimes it would be completely inauthentic for someone from Texas to go buy a pair of wingtips just to go to a meeting, but at the same time there are things in fashion that are bigger than both things, that are there to show respect for the thing. If you go to the Kentucky Derby or if you go to a wedding, for instance, or if the president is giving you the Medal of Freedom, there are things that the event suggests and you can absolutely wear cowboy boots with a tuxedo if you are that kind of fun Texan.

A tuxedo is a thing that is bigger than you. You are not pretending to be somebody you are not if you wear a tuxedo and if you wear a tuxedo you should have shoes that go with it. If you are from Texas, the rules may not apply, but Tuxedo still doesn't go with cowboy boots. Dan agrees you would look foolish if you did that, but it doesn’t look foolish to have a nice pair of Lucchese cowboy boots with a suit.

If you went to Portland you can have your Lucchese boots, your Wranglers, a belt buckle that you won at the state fair, and a shirt with Mother of Pearl snaps, but if you then also put on a cowboy hat, that is the point at which you are basically wearing a tiara. A cowboy hat is your work hat, as Dan said, but if that is your fancy hat? Look around and if nobody else got a fancy hat on, then leave it in the hotel room! That is just John’s hot take.


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