Bye Bye, Necktie

Andrew Yang. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before–what did the shirt say to the tie? “You’re antiquated and do not belong in a professional setting nearly as much as gatekeeping elitists think you do.” Classic. 

On June 27, 2019, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang stood on stage in Miami, Florida, for the first Democratic debate of the 2020 Election. He stood there without a tie. The move provoked the ire of Brian Williams and led to the ascension of Yang’s missing tie to meme-status. It fascinated me that an act as seemingly benign as eschewing a necktie could elicit such an intense response. As Americans, are ties an indispensable facet of our professional discourse? Can we simply not function without them? I would say no. In fact, I would argue that the age of the required necktie should come to a close.

The internet is awash with clips of good samaritans aiding Millenials and members Gen-Z tie ties. Most people describe these videos as heart warming–or they say something like, “this restores my faith in humanity,” but to me, these videos reveal a more serious truth: The de facto requirement of neckties is another layer of unnecessary gatekeeping that disincentivizes both young and lower-class people in particular from participating in professional and formal settings. The simple fact of the matter is that one can dress professionally without the added complexity of a necktie hanging them up (no pun intended). 

It was refreshing to see Andrew Yang appear on a stage in front of millions of Americans with the implicit message, “You do not need a tie to be taken seriously.” When Yang visited then-President Barack Obama in the White House he arrived without a tie. One of Obama’s staffers removed his tie and gave it to Yang to wear, which he did. It seems ridiculous that Obama would be offended by Yang’s lack of a tie, but Westerners, Americans in particular, seemed to have it ingrained in their psyche that not wearing a tie is somehow unprofessional.  

For my woke readers out there, I will present another argument for why you ought not to wear a necktie. You may not know this, but neckties are successors of the cravat–an ascot-like neckband that was the height of fashion in Europe some three hundred years ago. The word “cravat” is actually a bastardization of the Croatian word for Croat, “Hrvat.” The Hrvats were a Croatian mercenary troop hired by the French emperor as auxiliary soldiers. So, by wearing a necktie, what you’re really doing is appropriating Croatian Mercenary Culture. You should be ashamed of yourself. 

Unlike Americans, Iranians typically do not wear neckties. Sure, there are those out there who will tell you that they do this symbolically to show that they are throwing off their perceived oppression by the west. Some will even tell you that there is a nationwide ban on the accessory because it is deemed “unIslamic.” But I’ll tell you the truth–Iranians have figured out the neckties are just confusing bullshit that should have been left to Croatian mercenaries, not a 22 year old car salesman dependent on his commission to keep the lights on.

I look at neckties the same way I look at wristwatches, or cufflinks, or any other accessory. Yes, they can look nice, but they are by no means required to look professional. Just look at billionaire Mark Cuban–unless you google, “Mark Cuban necktie,” you probably will have a difficult time finding a picture of Mark Cuban in a necktie. Even when you do google “Mark Cuban necktie,” you’re greeted with more photos of him without a necktie. This is all to say that ties are not earmarks for professionalism and success. They are overly complicated pieces of fabric stuck out of time, and thrust upon western men of all walks of life; from the lowly interns navigating coffee orders to the stock broker doing line equations with his fellow dude-bros, every man will find himself in a situation where he is required to look in the mirror and don a tie.

Indeed, it is time to close the door on this accessory. Maybe, even slam it.

Benjamin Kahn is a senior writer at the UB Post. He writes a weekly column, KahnJunction.

University of Baltimore Law School professor tests positive for COVID-19.

John Bessler, professor at the Angelos Law School at the University of Baltimore, with his wife U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar in their home state of Minnesota. Photo credit: Jim Mone, AP

The Baltimore Sun reported on Monday that Dr. John Bessler, a professor at the Angeles Law School at the University of Baltimore, has tested positive for COVID-19, the latest and most deadly strain of the coronavirus. This makes the first confirmed case within the University of Baltimore.

“He is exhausted and sick but a very strong and resilient person,” writes his wife, U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar in a statement released earlier today. “Now he has pneumonia and is on oxygen but not on a ventilator.”

Members of the university community were notified about this case through an email from President Kurt Schmoke.

“The professor was last on campus on March 11. We are working to ensure that anyone on campus who was in contact with this person can take appropriate steps to self-isolate for a two-week period and stay alert for possible symptoms,” said Schmoke. Furthermore, he encouraged UB community members to “as much as possible, stay away from other people in your home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.​”

Klobuchar writes that her husband quarantined after the earliest signs of symptoms. She has also stated that since they have been apart for two weeks and that since she is outside of the 14 day window, she will not be tested.

Students at the University of Baltimore are returning to classes being held online this week and for the remainder of the upcoming semester.

For anyone who may have been exposed, President Schmoke writes, ” Self-observation is an important first step. Be alert for symptoms. If you feel feverish or develop a cough or difficulty breathing during the self-observation period, you should take your temperature, self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or the local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.”

Leonard Robinson is editor-in-chief of the UB Post.

MICA Mondays: RJ Sterling

RJ Sterling is a graduate student at MICA studying comic book artistry. His art, inspired by his love for storytelling, draws on experiences from himself and social conflicts within minority groups. Sterling currently teaches aspiring comic artists and has his own LLC, Hilarious Comics.

MICA Mondays is a project of the UB Post (University of Baltimore) showcasing the talent and work of students and alumni of the nearby Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) released every Monday during the fall and spring semesters.

Produced by: Benjamin Kahn and Jeff Dominguez

Host: Benjamin Kahn

Edited by: Jeff Dominguez

Friday Groove: #CancelEverything

Coronavirus has upended SXSW, Coachella, and a slew of other live music events. Source: Rolling Stone

Last week, I wrote about the upcoming D.C. Jam, a one-day music festival planned for July 4. While no announcement has been made yet concerning the cancellation of the festival, this event may be in jeopardy of being postponed or cancelled, like so many other events that are swiftly being modified to meet the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has affected various communities worldwide. While more cancellations are likely to come, COVID-19 has already drastically impacted a number of annual festivals, tours and concerts. 

On March 6, the city of Austin, TX announced that South by Southwest, the celebrated tech and music festival would be cancelled, and potentially rescheduled sometime later this year. Austin Public Health said, “there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer.” Despite their statement, many are taking such precautions out of an abundance of caution. 

On Tuesday, Coachella also announced plans to postpone the annual music festival six months, until October 2020. Coachella organizers apologized for the inconvenience but asked people to “follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials.”

Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease physician specialist at Columbia University, says that music fans everywhere should expect cancellations and postponements. “The concern we’re seeing now is that, as we have an increased capacity to do testing, we’re seeing that this virus is already widespread in the country. You go to a concert, there’s that many people and that level of transmission that occurs at a concert. Unfortunately, those will be big spreading events.”

Concert promoters like Live Nation have taken measures themselves to be proactive about fighting the virus. Yesterday, Live Nation announced that they would halt all large-scale tours, in addition to requesting that artists return home. This comes as many local and state governments begin to institute bans on large gatherings (generally 500+ people).

Local venues like the 9:30 Club and The Anthem in Washington, D.C. are seeing a dramatic impact from the virus as they halted all performances through the end of the month. “The health of our employees, patrons, community and artists is paramount,” said I.M.P., the promoter for the 9:30 Club, “We look forward to seeing everyone in April and beyond.”

Tony Sheaffer is a staff writer at the UB Post who writes a weekly music column, Friday Groove.

Four Items for Four Looks

Wanna change your look? 

Here’s four suggestions based on four personality types and items to help you get there. 

The Dad

Saturdays are for Costco runs. Your New Balance sneakers just arrived in the mail. Your response to, “I’m hungry,” is, “Hi, Hungry.” If these statements apply to you, consider the following. 

Starts at $9.25 on Amazon.
$18.99 from Costco
Starts at $21.25 on Amazon
Starts at $38.34 on Amazon

Eviscerate the other fathers at the neighborhood barbecue with this reasonably priced and stylish ensemble. You will earn the coveted title of “World’s Best Dad” when you step on the scene looking like you walked off the set of HBO’s Silicon Valley. 

The Dude-Bro 

Saturdays are for the boys. You watch stocks during class but you don’t really know what any of those funny numbers mean. You told that girl she’d look better if she smiled more, because she would. You probably already dress like this.

Starts at $6.06 on Amazon
Starts at $13.63 on Amazon
Starts at $15.48 on Amazon
Starts at $37.99 on Amazon

Nothing quite says, “Do you know who my father is? What’s your name and badge number?” like a pair of loafers. Cover your drinks ladies, it’s the Dude Bro. 

Mr. Street Smart

Saturdays are everyday. Bank account on E. Shows up to class toasted. 

$9 from Thread    
$35 from Thread 
$72 from Thread
$52 from Thread

If it looks like you could have paid $50 for your outfit, but you actually shelled out more than $100, you are Mr. Street Smart.

Heaven’s Gate Cultist

Saturdays are for Earth being recycled. You live an ascetic lifestyle. You respond to “I’m hungry,” with, “Hi Hungry, are you ready to graduate to the next level?”

Starts at $8.35 on Amazon
Starts at $11.09 on Amazon
Starts at $63.80 on Amazon
$10 on Etsy

Who knew that graduating to a higher plane of existence could be achieved on such a modest budget.

Benjamin Kahn is a staff writer at the UB Post. He writes a weekly column, KahnJunction.

MICA Mondays: Dylan Jones

Dylan Jones is a senior at MICA studying painting. His art, inspired by his love for sports, draws on experiences from himself and other athletes to include perseverance, injury, defeat, and triumph.

MICA Mondays is a project of the UB Post (University of Baltimore) showcasing the talent and work of students and alumni of the nearby Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) released every Monday during the fall and spring semesters.

Produced by: Benjamin Kahn and Jeff Dominguez

Host: Benjamin Kahn

Edited by: Jeff Dominguez