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Monday, February 20, 2006

Sub fusc under threat?

Ox Stu and Times. This strikes me as a very bad idea, not for the reasons offered in the Times piece, but because it is (I think, and I know plenty of others do) psychololologically helpful to put on particular clothes for matriculation, exams and graduations. This is partly for the very simply reason that all worry over what to wear is instantly removed, and any residual anxiety can be directed into ironing one's shirt (this can take a wrong turn when the laundry room iron turns out to spread black gunk... still bitter...). The existence of gradated seriousness in dress also, I think, helps one to regard the matter in hand in the right light. Matriculation may not consist of much in the doing of it, but it is an important and real thing, in which one becomes a novice member of a corporation with new rights and responsibilities, so full sub-fusc is worth it. Collections (of both sorts) are less significant, but still demand an attitude of reasonable seriousness (and, be honest, would it be remotely possible to take beginning-of-term Collections seriously if one didn't wear a gown?). Public Examinations, especially Finals, are obviously the real thing, and it does no harm to feel like it as a result of one's clothes. Finally, changing one's gown during Graduation is a rather beautiful thing, as one enters the corporation of Bachelors or Masters or whatever of the University; but it would lose something if one hadn't worn the formal garb of an undergraduate very often first.

At this point I feel I should say something clever about ritual and performativity, but don't think I'm quite up too it.

Perhaps more importantly: carnations would look silly if one didn't have sub fusc on...

(Question: what, if anything, is the usage of sub fusc in Tabland?)