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ChatGPT Wrote This 👉 All Art is at Once Surface and Symbol: The Paradox of Parachute Pants and Work Clothing in Late Stage Capitalism
A completely made up analysis of how grunge destroyed the beauty of parachute pants generated with ChatGPT.
Preface: not too much time today to write something on my own. I was finally able to sign up for ChatGPT Plus yesterday, which is fun. For today, I asked ChatGPT to write about the history of parachute pants in the style of Susan Sontag. I spent some time massaging it, throwing in new ideas (like the idea of fashion colonialism and the irony of grunge and work-cloths), and all that. You can see most of the prompting log at my lab-notebook/blog.
And, just to make it clear: THIS IS ALL MADE UP BY CHATGPT. For example, that Ruskin quote isn’t real. (I added the “in Late Stage Capitalism” to the title, cause, why not?)
All Art is at Once Surface and Symbol: The Paradox of Parachute Pants and Work Clothing in the Fashion Industry
The essence of art is to present two things, - the thought and the appearance of the thought; and to make the appearance the exponent of the thought, giving fullness and force to the thought, but giving it at the same time in such a form that it may be perceived and retained by the mind in the most grateful and effective way. John Ruskin
Fashion, like all art, is a reflection of the culture that produces it. It is an expression of society’s values, norms, and ideals, even as it shapes and reinforces them. This paradox is evident in the story of parachute pants, the tight-fitting, shiny nylon trousers that were a sensation in the early 1980s.
Parachute pants were more than just a fashion statement. They represented a kind of nostalgia for the future, an oxymoronic concept that was a hallmark of 1980s culture. The pants' futuristic, space-age aesthetic harkened back to the science fiction and pop culture of the 1950s and '60s, a time when optimism about technological progress and space exploration was at its peak. They embodied a longing for a future that never quite arrived, a sense of lost promise that was keenly felt by a generation that had grown up on science fiction and futuristic visions of the world. The pants thus had a double-edged appeal, at once celebrating the past and yearning for a future that seemed just out of reach.
At the same time, parachute pants were inherently theatrical, a quality that is essential to the camp sensibility. The pants' shiny, metallic fabric, tight fit, and often vivid colors all contributed to a flamboyant, attention-grabbing look. Their theatricality made them a fitting emblem for the era’s dance-centric culture, which emphasized physical agility, rhythm, and expressive movement. As such, they embodied a kind of performative self-expression that was at once outrageous and joyful, qualities that are integral to camp.
From the Streets to Mainstreet
Parachute pants also represented a symbol of subcultural rebellion, but one that was palatable to mainstream audiences. As a fashion statement born out of hip-hop and breakdancing, they were originally the province of subcultural insiders, who saw them as a means of expressing their outsider status. However, their theatricality and futuristic flair soon caught the attention of a wider audience, and they became a fashion statement that could be embraced by anyone looking to make a statement of individuality. The pants' subcultural roots, combined with their mainstream appeal, made them a perfect example of camp, a sensibility that has always been about walking the line between insider and outsider, between artifice and authenticity.
Everything we wear is either a disguise or a projection of ourselves. Julian Barnes
Despite their popularity, parachute pants were short-lived. Once the mainstream culture had had enough of the flamboyant theatricality of parachute pants, the fashion industry moved on to new trends. The clean-cut look exemplified by films like Wall Street, with its emphasis on power suits and sleek, tailored lines, quickly became the go-to aesthetic for those who wanted to convey a sense of corporate authority and success. This look was the antithesis of parachute pants, which were flashy, irreverent, and unconventional.
But the demise of parachute pants was just the beginning of a larger trend in the fashion industry. Work clothing, which had been largely ignored by the mainstream, was transformed into a fashion statement by grunge culture. The rise of grunge music in the early 1990s brought with it a rejection of the slick, artificial aesthetics of the 1980s. Nirvana and other grunge bands celebrated authenticity, simplicity, and DIY aesthetics, rejecting the consumerism and excess of the previous decade. For many, this represented a return to the values of the counterculture of the 1960s, which emphasized personal freedom, anti-materialism, and self-expression. In this context, the gaudy, futuristic aesthetic of parachute pants seemed hopelessly out of touch.
The dynamic of fashion colonialism continues to be a common thread in the history of fashion, as outsiders appropriate the clothing of subcultures for their own purposes, often exploiting them without regard for their long-term health. The paradox of fashion remains, as art is both a surface and a symbol. The surface, the appearance of the clothing, is constantly changing, but the underlying symbolism remains, reflecting the values and ideals of the society that produces it. As Ruskin wrote, “All art is at once surface and symbol,” and fashion, as an art form, is no exception.
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What is Tanzu?
This is a question I get a lot. Here is answer written by me, an actual human, that is factual and not made up, like the above parachute pants fuzzy jpeg.
First, Tanzu is just the name of a group of software that VMware does. It includes our Cloud Foundry distro (the Tanzu Application Service, or Pivotal Cloud Foundry it used to be called), our kubernetes distro (“distro” is not really the right framing, it’s more like “gardener,” but whatever), and our developer platform the Tanzu Application Platform. If write and run your own software, these are all things you use to help it. You don’t have to use them together, there can each be their own thing.
Anyhow, that’s just some table-setting for an excellent video from my co-worker Ben. In it, he demonstrates what the Tanzu Application Platform is for software development. If you’re one of the people who’s always asking “what is Tanzu,” you should watch all of this video:
I don’t know man; that jpeg was pretty clear.
See y’all next time!