Monday, April 21, 2008

The AP Gives Us a Healthy Dose of Twittery

I can't think of a more appropriate example of "bad news judgement" than the publication of this article, which is disguised as news but is really, without pulling any punches, a terrible piece of faux news wrapped up in a thin verneer of twittery and ridiculousness:

For a society accustomed to the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, the images of the women from the polygamist compound in Texas are almost shocking in their understatement: Ankle-length dresses, makeup-less faces, hauntingly uniform hair.

And while no one would accuse the women of making a fashion statement, the pioneer-style outfits are a rare example of how in an age of overexposure, modesty, too, can give pause.

The puff-sleeved, pastel dresses worn by the women in the sect are a combination of original 19th-century wear and 1950s clothing that was adopted when the church took a conservative turn, according to Janet Bennion, an anthropologist who studies polygamist women.

The dresses are meant to show modesty and conformity: They go down to the ankles and wrists, and are often worn over garments or pants, making sure every possibly provocative inch of skin is covered.

John Llewellyn, a polygamy expert and retired Salt Lake County sheriff's lieutenant, says the women cover themselves "so that they're unattractive to the outside world or other men."

Shame on you, Associated Press. Given that the initial reports speak of widespread child abuse and allowing men to procreate on a terribly unhealthy scale in the name of "religious freedom," exactly what we don't need right now is an examination of the "fashion sense" of women who are being investigated along with their "husbands." We're not accustomed to the twits you speak of--we have them shoved down our throats by your ignorant employees.

Anyone who lives in what they call "flyover" country is well aware of various non-polygamous sects that favor old fashioned clothing--the Amish, for starters. There's nothing wrong with people dressing different. There's something seriously wrong with the AP for thinking it merits a story or a cutesy-poo examination of the length of the dresses. Are they trying to soften the blow for people who are uncomfortable with brazen polygamy? It ain't working.

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