If someone told me it wasn't "fashionable" to talk about freedom, I think I'd just have to look him square in the eye and say, "Okay, YOU TELL ME what's 'fashionable'." But he won't. And you know why? Because you can't ask someone what's fashionable in a smart-alecky way like that. You have to be friendly and say, "By the way, what's fashionable?"
Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm sexy enough. When I walk into a singles bar with my "fashionable" shirt, "fashionable" slacks, and a big new rubber manta-ray helmet, I can't help wondering: Do women want to talk to me for myself, or do they just want to get a feel of that nice rubber manta skin?
Fashionable women regard themselves, and are regarded by men, as pretty toys or as mere instruments of pleasure; and the vacuity of mind, the heartlessness, the frivolity which is the necessary result of this false and debasing estimate of women, can only be fully understood by those who have mingled in the folly and wickedness of fashionable life.
Sarah Moore Grimke
Like it or not, it's the society we live in. Even the standard of right and wrong has been subdivided, made sophisticated. Within good, there's fashionable good and unfashionable good, and ditto for bad. Within fashionable good, there's formal and then there's casual; there's hip, there's cool, there's trendy, there's snobbish. Mix 'n' match.
Justice Rehnquist was friendly and unpretentious. He wore scuffed Hush Puppy shoes. That was my first lesson. Clothes do not make the man. The Justice sported long sideburns and Buddy Holly glasses long after they were fashionable. And he wore loud ties that I am confident were never fashionable.
While the fashion industry may, at least at the top end, be thriving, the notion of fashion itself is becoming more and more meaningless. Any discipline in fashion has long since evaporated; the idea of a single fashionable skirt length, or heel height, is incomprehensible. The definition of the fashionable has become so skimpy that it refers not to the mode of dress of everyday people--the clothes that have sufficiently caught the popular imagination to be worn in a widespread manner--but only to the styles that momentarily excite members of the fashion caravan.
Latter-day capitalism. Like it or not, it's the society we live in. Even the standard of right and wrong has been subdivided, made sophisticated. Within good, there's fashionable good and unfashionable good, and ditto for bad. Within fashionable good, there's formal and then there's casual; there's hip, there's cool, there's trendy, there's snobbish. Mix 'n' match. Like pulling on a Missoni sweater over Trussardi slacks and Pollini shoes, you can now enjoy hybrid styles of morality. It's the way of the world - philosophy starting to look more and more like business administration.
Watch out, brother, ' his professor had told him more than once, 'you have talent; it would be a sin to ruin it. But you're impatient. Some one thing entices you, some one thing takes your fancy-and you occupy yourself with it, and the rest can rot, you don't care about it, you don't even want to look at it. Watch out you don't turn into a fashionable painter. Even now your colors are beginning to cry a bit too loudly. Your drawing is imprecise, and sometimes quite weak, the line doesn't show; you go for fashionable lighting, which strikes the eye at once. Watch out or you'll fall into the English type. Beware. You already feel drawn to the world: every so often I see a showy scarf on your neck, a glossy hat... It's enticing, you can start painting fashionable pictures, little portraits for money. But that doesn't develop talent, it ruins it. Be patient. Ponder over every work, drop showiness-let the others make money. You won't come out the loser.
Literature is impossible, in exactly this sense: every new generation has so much 'catching up' to do that the real choice that presents itself soon is the following one: one either spends ones entire life just reading all the classics, or one pretends to be 'contemporary and hip' and never reads any of the classics because in order to pretend to be contemporary one has to at least superficially read the works of contemporaries. Hence the dilemma: one either does not care about being fashionable, or one is fashionable and just learns to mimic some knowledge about the classics. As time develops this rift just becomes bigger, because the amount of books written grows and grows to insane proportions. Conclusion: one can only be hip in the future if one does not read at all, which is a phenomenon I am already witnessing in the media.