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SIMMONS: Sagging pants not cool, fool

- The Washington Times - Friday, January 22, 2010

Hope and change. There's a lot of the former making the rounds and too little of the latter. But a glimmer of what can be is in the forecast.Did America devolve from radical feminism to misogynistic lyrics and videos to misandry?

Boys and men are wearing their pants on the ground, and girls and women are not challenging them.

That's why I said glimmer. We've seen and heard activists who take on a cultural issue but seem to fade away or be assailed in the media. Tipper Gore crusaded for warning labels on records, C. Delores Tucker railed against gangsta rap, and Bill Cosby warned us to get a grip on wayward youths. Now there is a not-so-young new kid on the block.

His message is that something's terribly awry when we fail to tell boys and young men to buckle up.

Watching them walk around day in and out with their pants on the ground speaks volumes about the decline in American culture, and that won't change unless we recommit ourselves to change.

A man named Larry Platt appears to have recommitted himself, and he is an inspiration. His platform was an audition on the hugely popular "American Idol." His song is "Pants on the Ground."

"Pants on the ground,

"Pants on the ground,

"Lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground!

"With the gold in your mouth,

"Hat turned sideways,

"Pants hit the ground,

"Call yourself a cool cat,

"Lookin' like a fool,

"Walkin' downtown with your pants on the ground!

"Get it up, hey!

"Get your pants off the ground,

"Lookin' like a fool,

"Walkin' talkin' with your pants on the ground.

"Get it up, hey!

"Get your pants off the ground,

"Lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground!"

Mr. Platt, an e-sensation, says he was inspired to write the song after the chickens came home to roost - that is, he felt offended, as a foot soldier of the civil rights movement, to see a young man holding a young child in his arms while his pants were on the ground.

Mr. Platt is no spring chicken like today's "Idol" contestants; he is in his early 60s, but he is as serious as others of his generation who want youths and young adults to lift up their pants.

The message and the music are permeating the entertainment industry. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, famous for his Wrangler endorsements, led his teammates in a post-game locker-room chant of the song. Late-night talker Jimmy Fallon performed a country version on his show. And stories about Mr. Platt are rounding the globe.

So, folks, it is time. It's time to be "old-fashioned" and demand that boys and men wear pants that fit. Principals, teachers and coaches should carry rope and scissors and take care of business themselves if parents won't. Male and female clergy should raise their voices.

Look at it this way: The government's plans for health care reform, immigration reform, education reform - on top of last year's $787 billion stimulus package, which was on top of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 - have left Uncle Sam rummaging thrift stores in search of larger trousers.

Now imagine this: Uncle Sam coddling the next generation (laden with debt) with one hand and holding up sagging drawers with the other.

Don't ask the government. We don't need no stinking government to tell our boys and young men to straighten up, buckle up and fly right. Or, as Mr. Platt says, "Get your pants off the ground."

Deborah Simmons can be reached at