June 4, 2017

"Adults — they wear shorts everywhere, and they have cereal for dinner, and they treat comic books like they're literature."

Said Bill Maher at the beginning of that famous interview he did Friday with Senator Ben Sasse. Maher began the interview by offering to "bond" with Sasse, whose book — "The Vanishing American Adult" — is, according to Maher, "so right about how we have lost the thread about what adults are anymore in this country." Then Maher, with his trademark sneering contempt, launched the line I put in the post title. I loved that he began his image of the problem with what is my trademark peeve, shorts.

51 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

No link (other than to Sasse's book) because the transcription is by me.

wildswan said...

What about see-through lace shorts for men?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4566954/LACE-SHORTS-MEN-totally-through.html

Better, different, even worse?

readering said...

Cereal? Wasn't Seinfeld 1989?

readering said...

Things were different when men were drafted.

Bob Boyd said...

Short shaming. Its not just for pygmies anymore.

tcrosse said...

While we're on the subject of short pants, what about all those variations for the ladies: capris, crops, pedal pushers, clam diggers, toreador pants. My wife, God bless her, is a Woman of a Certain Age, and is convinced (correctly) that they look ridiculous on her.

Laslo Spatula said...

I made a Starbucks Girl comment awhile back that fits in perfectly here:

Did your parents make adulthood look THAT scary to you...?.

I had also commented on the Starbucks Girl / Althouse Nexus of Cruel Neutrality.

My comment was along the lines of 'Starbucks Girl and Althouse share Cruel Neutrality'.

So: Nexus.

I am Laslo.

David Begley said...

Men at church in Omaha wearing shorts; I can't get used to that.

Achilles said...

I have decided you can't wear shorts and socks at the same time.

D said...

People try to p-p-put us down. Just because we read Iron Man.
Think my pants need more m-m-material.
I hope i die before i stop eating cereal.

Paul Ciotti said...

If one hates shorts because they show a man's hairy legs one must also hate to see one's husband naked. I wonder how that makes him feel?

The Godfather said...

Who/where is Maher talking about? Leave the shorts issue aside -- I know it's controversial in this venue -- but what group of adults in the US regularly eats cereal for dinner and treats comic books as literature?

Char Char Binks said...

At least he didn't say the g-word.

Birkel said...

To each, their own.
Bear the consequences of your behavior.
It is odd that some people care, to me.
But to each, their own.

Paddy O said...

I didn't click the link. Is he talking about now or Ancient Rome?

Alex said...

Literature is overrated. Why should I read Beowulf or Shakespeare? What will that give me compared to the joy I get from reading comics or history? Yeah I actually find history books far more useful in that they increase my understanding of the world comapred to some stupid sonnet or poem.

Professional lady said...

My husband has really nice long tanned legs and he looks great in shorts. I don't see why he shouldn't be comfortable in casual situations in hot weather.

Kate said...

"Why should I read Beowulf or Shakespeare? What will that give me compared to the joy I get from reading comics or history? Yeah I actually find history books far more useful in that they increase my understanding of the world comapred to some stupid sonnet or poem."

One third of Shakespeare's plays are known as The Histories because they dramatize real events experienced by real people.

D.E. Cloutier said...

"It's hot," a 50-year-old guy in shorts told me other day. "You should get some shorts."

"I stopped wearing short pants when I was in the first grade," I told him.

His face flushed with embarrassment.

John said...

Then Maher, with his trademark sneering contempt, launched the line I put in the post title. I loved that he began his image of the problem with what is my trademark peeve, shorts.

I used to appreciate Maher more about 10 years ago. At least he listened then. Now he just waits for them to get off stage before he makes his 'sneering contemptuous' remarks...

This, in my opinion, is one more reason to get over your silly 'anti-shorts on men' diatribe.

gadfly said...

Ben Sasse likes red shorts.

tcrosse said...

I have decided you can't wear shorts and socks at the same time.

If you wear them both with sandals, people will think you're German.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Then Maher, with his trademark sneering contempt, launched the line I put in the post title. I loved that he began his image of the problem with what is my trademark peeve, shorts.

Oh, so then you have sneering contempt, also.

Sounds so much better when you project it onto the left.

If you and Maher miss adulthood, wait 'til you find out what leg wear they are adorned with in those traditional, tough, survivalist cultures - where adulthood rituals kill off all the cowardly and weak: Loincloths.

That's right. Some conservatives are actually old enough to remember the day when Tarzan was portrayed that way on the silver screen, and to not go all a-titter with anxiety about it.

Of course, you could just wage your war against the plump, indoor pastiness that would be just about the only reason someone would bother sneering at shorts. But then that would set you against your Republican commentariat. Trump is fat, has pasty legs and like his fellow Republicans - thinks Michelle Obama's efforts to improve the nation's fitness and diet was the worst tyrannical overreach since the Soviets invaded Hungary.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

When Republicans lambaste Michelle Obama, why don't they just spell out their gripe in plain terms?

The right to be fat.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Literature is overrated. Why should I read Beowulf or Shakespeare? What will that give me compared to the joy I get from reading comics or history? Yeah I actually find history books far more useful in that they increase my understanding of the world comapred to some stupid sonnet or poem.

Millions of lifelong virgin bachelor males have asked themselves exactly the same thing.

rcocean said...

Most young guys I know don't read literature. Its the internet, video games, sports, TV, and graphic novels. And even TV is going away as they 'cut the cord'.

The graphic novels seem to be popular because the target audience is male and they're action packed and a quick read.

Reading a book is too slow for them.

Alex said...

I can't imagine young, white males reading Marvel comics these days as they've been totally cucked. Are DC Comics still uncucked or cucking underway?

Alex said...

Oh and I can confirm Japanese manga is very popular with white men because they tend to not have feminism or social justice, just good stories.

Unknown said...

Words. Put them on paper and you can be a poet, a journalist, a novelist, win the Pulitzer, the Nobel, the Man Booker, live in history.

Pictures. Put them down on canvas and you can inspire millions, grace the finest galleries, command millions of dollars, become a cultural icon.

Put them together and you're a lowbrow hack.

rcocean said...

"Literature is overrated."

You're in the majority. The percentage of the population that cares about "Literature" let alone great literature like Shakespeare or Tolstoy is incredibly small.

Hell, even college professors and the elite don't care about "Great Literature". Go on line and look at the "English Classes" at your local college. It'll shock you, if you care about "Great Literature". But its been 30 years since Jesse jackson led the chant at Stanford:

"hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civilization got to go".

Thorley Winston said...

Who/where is Maher talking about? Leave the shorts issue aside -- I know it's controversial in this venue -- but what group of adults in the US regularly eats cereal for dinner and treats comic books as literature?

I have cereal for dinner sometimes when I don't feel like cooking or going out to eat and I often bring a graphic novel with me to read while I'm eating. Are they literature? It depends on which ones you read.

rcocean said...

As Althouse has pointed out, she's the target audience for stuff like NPR and The New York Times.

Almost all TV drama and current literature is aimed at young or middle aged females. They're the ones that watch it or read it. As a result, young guys turn to video games or graphic novels. Or comic book movies.

rcocean said...

Now if Laslo would write a novel, they'd probably read it.

If it was illustrated.

Lucien said...

Given the subject of Sasse's book, it's interesting that the interview led into the infantile "He said a bad word, Mommy" criticism of Maher; and then that Sasse abdicated his own adult hood, to knuckle under and apologize for not immediately attacking Maher for speaking the forbidden word.

Who really believes that grown-up black people can hear a word dozens of times a day in music and conversation with their black friends, only to be traumatized whenever someone who's not black uses it in any way? Is there a Schroedinger's cat version of this: where someone hears or reads the word, but can't know whether they've been shocked and offended until they find out the race of the speaker or author?

Ann Althouse said...

"If one hates shorts because they show a man's hairy legs one must also hate to see one's husband naked. I wonder how that makes him feel?"

The objection to shorts was never about hair, it was about infantilization. A man in shorts, especially if he has a loose, boxy t-shirt, looks like a gigantic boy and not a man.

Hairiness cuts the other way.

Alex said...

Ann... what about Ryan Reynolds in a t-shirt & shorts? Would that be offensive? Or are you just saying that pudgy men in shorts is kinda gross?

readering said...

We need to go back to the days of men in tights.

Ann Althouse said...

"My husband has really nice long tanned legs and he looks great in shorts. I don't see why he shouldn't be comfortable in casual situations in hot weather."

I've always recognized an exception for genuinely hot weather. Where I live, men start wearing shorts when the temperature is in the 40s.

I also recognize an exception where shorts are the traditional attire for an activity (like basketball or cycling). And I've made exceptions when the particular man looks great in shorts.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ben Sasse likes red shorts."

Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten about that picture. Maher should have brought it up.

But it fits one of my exceptions. I think he'd been out running. Of course, you wear running shorts.

wildswan said...

Shakespeare Macbeth online
BBC TV movie 240,000
Macbeth movie 1978 307,000
Shakespeare Animated Tales 209,190

To me this shows, that you can't judge interest in Shakespeare by what university departments are doing. And, the animated version is very popular though it is using Shakespeare's words, mostly

Other examples:
What Shakespeare's English Sounded Like - and how we know
643,041 views

10 Things School Never Taught You About Shakespeare
927,123 views

Fritz said...

I've always recognized an exception for genuinely hot weather. Where I live, men start wearing shorts when the temperature is in the 40s.

That's what you get for living in Wisconsin. Here in MD, the 80s are usually the trigger.

epador said...

LOL.

Try living in the Mohave Desert.

Fernandinande said...

"Adults — they wear shorts everywhere, and they have cereal for dinner, and they treat comic books like they're literature."

Would Maher be "cool" if any part of that statement was meaningful and (non-trivially) true?

No.

glenn said...

Went to dinner two nights in a row (unusual) first night in a nice restaurant nearby, nice crowd, one longhair 60 going on 12. Next night, hometown, fun place, loud crowd in shorts and worn t-shirts. Lots of 60 going on 12 folks. You Boomers are lucky us old guys ar dying off.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

It's summer vacation season and my social media feeds are filling up with family pics of people at Disney World and national parks. I keep asking my husband what is the deal with all these guys whose grandkids are going to see pictures of them looking like homeless people. Big bushy beards are evidently a trend now, as is baggy below the knee shorts, superhero t-shirts and ratty baseball caps. I'm sorry fellows, if you are posing with your attractive wife and half grown kids and wearing cargo shorts and a Spiderman t-shirt, you look 150% ridiculous.

The Sage of Altadena said...

There was an Anglican priest from England who would teach a summer class here at the local seminary (we're in California). When he was here, he went totally native -- Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and sandals. He would sometimes guest preach at our church, and it was alarming to see his hairy legs and toes underneath the alb as he dispensed Eucharist.

Bill said...

An usher at 7:30 Mass a few weeks ago wore shorts, sandals, and a hoodie (the hood was down), and kept one hand pocketed as he maneuvered the offertory basket.

Fortunately, he wasn't chewing a wad of gum, though it wouldn't have surprised me.

Sigivald said...

And Bill Maher pretends to be a serious person I should give a damn about.

(Disclosure: I am a grown-ass man and I never wear shorts, and am ambivalent about graphic novels, for the most part.

But I really, really dislike sneering contempt ala Maher.

And I'll note that most modern "literature" is awful tripe trying way too hard to be Important Literature, so no wonder people avoid it.)

mishu said...

My dad wore shorts in his leisure time. He served in WWII, earned his bachelors and MBA while working a full time job at the same time. He was a comptroller for a Fortune 500 corporation. Yet he still wore shorts on his day off when it was warm enough. Get over this thing. It's not a kids these days. The reason you'd see people wearing suits and starched shirt collars back in the 20s through 40s is that was all they had. They were Sidney Poitier in To Sir With Love -- washing that same shirt every day in the only sink they had.

mishu said...

"The objection to shorts was never about hair, it was about infantilization. A man in shorts, especially if he has a loose, boxy t-shirt, looks like a gigantic boy and not a man"

Ward Cleaver was a myth. The fact that a guy would go home, trade his suit jacket for a cardigan, and consider himself relaxed is a myth.

toxdoc said...

I saw a fellow wearing a romp-him today in Seattle outside the convention center. Nice pale blue and white plaid very much like the short bibs I had in my 1966 Easter outfit. I was 3, I had an epiphany and got Anne's point. I must say, I do make one hell of a manly toddler when I wear shorts, but I get her meaning.