May 03, 2014

Camouflage, Sawyer's Chaps, and Culture War

I went into one of the hardware stores in the next county north recently to buy some saw chain and a new depth-gauge file.
Sawyer's chaps

Then I decided that if Kevlar chaps were good enough for the fire department (we upgraded last year, as well as getting a second saw, a Stihl* with 30-inch bar for taking down big hollow cottonwoods), I should have my own.

So I started looking for my size in the fluorescent orange, but what was this? Camouflage sawyer's chaps. Huh?

Meanwhile, the store's sound system was thumping out Justin Moore's culture-war** anthem, "Bait a Hook," in which the speaker denigrates his ex's new boyfriend:
He can't even bait a hook
He can't even skin a buck
He don't know who Jack Daniels is
He ain't ever drove a truck
Obviously, since no one holding a screaming chainsaw is interested in concealment, the cammie chaps are just a fashion statement.

Yes, camouflage has fashions. Not improvements necessarily, but fashions.

Colorado wildlife photographer and writer Tim Christie, who likes camouflage, wrote in the March/April 2014 Colorado Outdoors how one magazine's editor rejected three-year-old photos: "It's a super photo, Tim, and we could use it except the camouflage clothing is outdated."

"Our advertisers," continued the editor, "appreciate seeing their latest patterns on hunter images in the magazine. It's a reality of the publishing business . . . . You've got about two, or at most, four years after a pattern's been released before camouflage clothing worn by a hunter dates an image."

What is this, The Devil Wears Realtree?

And Christie could only write that paragraph in a state-supported magazine like Colorado Outdoors that takes no ads.

But for culture-war purposes, any pattern on your ball cap or jacket is enough to make a statement — even WW2  "jungle camo" for the retro look. Or Russian klyaska, which you wore before anyone else had ever heard of it.

* Stihl is sure ahead with the brand marketing — hats, shirts, sunglasses. I am waiting for the seat covers and dog collars.

** Aside from Hank Williams, Jr.'s "A County Boy Can Survive" (1982), when did C&W music get all culture-war-ish?

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