Academic journal article Antipodes

In Defense of Hawaiian Shirts

Academic journal article Antipodes

In Defense of Hawaiian Shirts

Article excerpt

Too many uniforms mean a country's turning dangerous,

that's what I thought as I watched Triumph of the Will*

masses of Germans marching (in step)

kitted out in matching threads and shod with leather boots (named Jack)

and the film's star is The Fuhrer (he of curt salutes and silly poses)

who shouts a lot about the rules for partying with his tidy mob.

And today it frightens me nobody simply works a job,

they are members of a team and trussed

in corporate garb for fish shops, planes and pubs and banks

and embroidered with their masters' names - even those

who drive a taxi are buttoned in a company shirt

(with insignia, epaulets and badge)

and every one of them commands that I enjoy my bloody day.

So it's with some fondness I remember

(and I don't believe I've made this up)

being served one cold July (in Customs) by a silent splendid clerk

who wore a loud Hawaiian shirt

where the waves were blue and the sands were gold

and lithe brown girls in grassy skirts

with hibiscus flowers in their raven hair

swayed beneath his printed palms and shimmered with Alohas. …

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