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.
Confused? Subscribe to stay in that ecstatic state. Plus, usually more stuff about computers, as below
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!
I asked ChatGPT to write an essay about that Ruskin quote and how it relates to life in 2021. I didn't tell it it was Ruskin:
The above quote by American philosopher and writer, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, beautifully encapsulates the essence of art. It highlights the fact that art is not just about presenting a thought or an idea, but also about how that idea is presented to the audience. It is about the way in which the artist chooses to represent the thought, so that it may be understood and appreciated by the audience in the most effective way.
In 2021, we live in a world that is saturated with art. From the paintings and sculptures in museums to the music and films that we listen to and watch, art is all around us, shaping our experiences and perceptions of the world. In a world where technology has made it easier to consume and create art, it is more important than ever to understand the role that art plays in our lives.
Art is not just about aesthetics or visual pleasure; it is also a means of communication, a way of expressing ideas and emotions that might be difficult to articulate in words. The essence of art, as Coleridge points out, is to present two things: the thought and the appearance of the thought. The thought is the idea or concept that the artist is trying to convey, while the appearance of the thought is the way in which the artist chooses to represent it.
The appearance of the thought is what gives fullness and force to the thought, making it more tangible and accessible to the audience. It is through the representation of the idea that the artist is able to communicate their message effectively. The form that the idea takes is just as important as the idea itself, as it determines how the idea is perceived and received by the audience.
In 2021, we live in a world where there is an abundance of information and stimuli vying for our attention. In such a world, art has the power to cut through the noise and connect with people on a deeper level. Whether it is through music, literature, film or visual art, art has the ability to move us, inspire us and challenge us. It is through the appearance of the thought that art is able to touch our emotions, stir our imaginations and expand our perspectives.
In conclusion, Coleridge's quote reminds us of the importance of art in our lives. It highlights the fact that art is not just about presenting an idea, but about presenting it in a way that is meaningful and impactful to the audience. In a world where art is more accessible than ever, it is important to appreciate the thought and appearance of the thought, and the power they hold in shaping our experiences and perceptions of the world.