Wednesday, June 20, 2018

1959 Culture Shock: Who Wears the Pants in This Band?




News Item: The New York Philharmonic is getting ready to overturn a 176-year-old ban, women in pants on stage.  Lincoln Center has been shaken to its very core. No longer will women members be forced to wear skirts or (shudder) dresses.

Okay, it’s not a done deal yet. But the biggest of the “Big Five” symphony orchestras has sent out trial balloons. And when the New York Philharmonic sends up hot air, it usually cools and lands in reality.

Part of the trial balloon leaked to the NY Times which leaked it to the Associated Press.  And that’s how we all found out about it.  This is the only major orchestra that forces women to put their dresses on, except for outdoor events.  

No one will accuse this band of making hasty decisions.  This one started in the 1980s when a woman horn player in San Francisco got one of her valves caught in the folds of her dress, hitting clinker after clinker and awakening the audience of flower power people too high to understand it wasn’t part of a new arrangement.

If a musician gets her valve caught in a skirt in San Francisco in 1980, it sets up a chain reaction of events lasting decades and finally lands at Lincoln Center.

Good thing it didn’t happen sooner, else CNN would be doing endless stories of women with skirt-fold-caught valves.  Talk radio would label it another left wing conspiracy to force people into costumes not of their own choosing.  And Bloomberg TV would be analyzing historic charts of Selmer horn sales.

We are, at least, spared from “How does it feel to get your valve caught?” And tours of French horn factories interspersed with brief “fair use” clips of Leonard Bernstein waving a stick at a bunch of guys in tuxedos.

It’s fine to have a dress code if you’re a symphony orchestra.  If not for that, the musicians would show up in rags that used to be sweaters or those figure-enhancing yoga pants.  But there are limits. And limiting what women can wear from mid-thigh to ankle must violate half a dozen anti-discrimination laws.  If an orchestra bars women in pants, then someone will find a way to send management to jail.

Hmmm.  That may not be the worst possible outcome.

So, relax, ladies.  It’ll soon be okay to search the fashion magazines for pictures of Hillary Clinton and tips on where to get the best deals on LadyTuxes.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “¡Papa! ¡Papa!” -- child at a Border Patrol children’s’ prison camp as he is removed from the arms of his father.

SHRAPNEL:
--Literally ripping kids and their parents apart and putting the children in cages?  What’s next, trains to the camps and their showers?  What country is this again?

--The administration says the kids are being “well treated.”  You call traumatizing a toddler “well treated?” This is the kind of response that turns ordinary apathetic citizens into anarchists.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
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© WJR 2018


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