The highly evolved fashion sense of faggots

Over on ADS-L, the hounds have been tracking down a quotation about comparative degrees of cultural evolution in different groups. On the 5th, Stephen Goranson supplied this report of a quotation on the subject, concerning Benjamin Disraeli, twice Prime Minister of the U.K. in Victorian times, and the only P.M. of Jewish birth:

Mr. D’Israeli never forgets — never allows others to forget — that he is of that race whence all our prophets came and Jesus Christ himself was born….

On one occasion, when taunted with being a descendant perhaps of the thief on the cross, he replied, in proud and soul-stirring words, “My blood thrills with the traditions of my race! My ancestors were lords of the tabernacle and princes of Israel when his were naked savages in the woods of Northern Germany.”

Yesterday, Geoff Nunberg supplied a wonderful Italian variant that crucially involves the Italian sexual slur frocio ‘faggot, queer’ (plural froci).

Cultural background. Speaking very crudely, Italy divides culturally into a northern and southern region, with northerners seeing their region as the center of high culture — art, music, fashion, elegant food, and so one — and the south as populated by crude peasants.

Geoff’s ADS-L posting:

I heard an Italian version of this one several years ago, reported as if witnessed by the speaker himself. A bunch of Lega Nord (Northern separatist party) members were in Rome for a convention of some sort and were carousing in a taverna, making fun of the locals. One of the Romans finally stood up and said, “Senti, quando i vostri antenati si vestivano in pelle d’orso, i miei furono giá froci.” = “When your ancestors were wearing bear skins, mine were already faggots.”

Ok, sexual deviants, but our sexual deviants, with the famously exquisite fashion sense of faggots.

In the Italian fashion world, there are many fabulous faggots to choose from, but to my mind, Gianni Versace will always be the shining star, the emperor of excess. Here’s a Versace shot that manages to combine design excess and homoerotic flagrant nakedness:

Beats bear skins all to hell.

From Wikipedia:

Gianni Versace (… born Giovanni Maria Versace; 2 December 1946 – 15 July 1997) was an Italian fashion designer and founder of Versace, an international fashion house, which produces accessories, fragrances, make-up, and home furnishings as well as clothes. He also designed costumes for the theatre and films. As a friend of Eric Clapton, Diana, Princess of Wales, Naomi Campbell, Madonna, Elton John, Cher, Sting, and many other celebrities, he was the first designer to link fashion to the music world. Openly homosexual, Versace and his partner Antonio D’Amico were regulars on the international party scene.

Gianni Maria Versace was born in Reggio Calabria

Calabria is the toe of the boot of southern Italy, right next to Sicily. Faggots bloom in the South.

 

One Response to “The highly evolved fashion sense of faggots”

  1. [BLOG] Some Monday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky looks at the highly evolved fashion sense of faggots, in the context of Italy’s divides and […]

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