Peacebang, the minister who writes the blog Beauty Tips for Ministers, sent an email message to me yesterday. Apparently she is being interviewed by a Major Daily Newspaper, and she gently and politely asked me if I’d mind if she held me up as an example of How Not To Dress. They might even include a photograph of me as a Bad Example. I told her I wouldn’t mind a bit, under the condition that they mention that I’m the minister at First Unitarian in New Bedford — as the great Universalist P. T. Barnum once said, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
The only down side is that Peacebang is going to point out exactly those things that Carol has been trying to get me to change for years now, so this article could make things a little difficult on the home front (I have visions of Carol doing the I-Told-You-So dance). But it will be worth it. We will post it on the First Unitarian Web site: “Come to First Unitarian and see Dan Harper, the minister criticized for his poor personal appearance in a Major Daily Newspaper! You will marvel at the fashion atrocities you will see!”
If the story actually gets published, I’ll provide a link to it. In the mean time, to demonstrate my geekiness I’m off to Boskone, the annual convention of the New England Science Fiction Association. I doubt I’ll have a chance to post tomorrow, so see you on Sunday.
As your big sister (age, not size, darnit), I love how you dress! It’s you! I can’t imagine you dressing like, say, some Brooks Brothers smoothie. Ew! Besides, there is an approachable and fuzzy charm to being rumpled and a little geeky. Do not even THINK about changing your style. It’s you, all you.
Love, your sister
yeah – love ya – AND love PB’s “Ministry” and glad you can see the awesome opportunity and responsibility that would come to the pastor “exposed” in the Globe…”marvel at the fashion atrocities you will see!” Brilliant writing – must win for blog of the year in 07….
p.s. put the “I told you so dance” on YouTube!
Obviously, your friend doesnot understand your dress code. What does she think it should be? But, as quoted from P.T. Barnum, the publicity will not be bad. Nuff said.
IF we look at clothing as a system of signs, which in large part it is, then Dan’s can be decoded as saying this:
Hey, I like to be outdoors; I like to walk (really fast) and these shoes help me do that, anywhere; I get sunburnt easily so that’s why I’m wearing long sleeve shirts in August; I’m wearing lots of layers cuz I like to walk and I get hot and layers can be removed easily; I’m tall and this happens to fit so I bought it; I’m a frugal kinda guy and this happened to be on sale so I bought it; I reject the notion of dressing up to impress; in fact, I am not even *rejecting* the notion, I didn’t even know you could do that…and, can we stop talking about clothes and go look at some cool birds, please!
All in all, the message of these signs seems pretty positive to me. Let’s hope Ms. Peacebang, or her website, and this big newspaper too, recognizes the importance of deconstructing particular codes rather than wielding an external code as lens, which distorts rather than clarifites. Grrr.
But yeah, Dad, you’re right: if publicity is important, good or bad, it’s all useful…
The front page story in today’s Globe did not mention Rev Dan. In fact it was entirely about dress recommendations for women ministers.
So be it.
Jean and DadH — Aw, shucks, my family is sticking up for me *blush*. Thanks, guys, love ya both…. Fortunately, part of the subtext of Peacebang’s blog is that women ministers take a whole lot of guff from their congregations about what they wear in the pulpit. It’s the ol’ double standard in action (I can get away with things, as a male minister, that would cause rumor and scandal for a woman minister). The real argument about Peacebang’s blog is sort of like the argument around Madonna’s feminism — is she deconstructing, or reinforcing stereotypes about women? — then when you meet Peacebang in person, she can be so sarcastic and cutting that it’s clear that the emphasis is on deconstruction. Actually, I think you’d both probably like her as much as I do.