G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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There’s a thing called the No Pants Subway Ride which is a mass, widespread act of improvisational comedy for people who get their jollies from engaging with the hive mind i.e. Participants are supposed to ride the subway pantless and pretend that they aren’t and also not acknowledge other pantless passengers. Below is a picture of a soldier partaking in the silliness:
A picture being worth a thousand words – what does this one tell us about the modern American military? We shouldn’t stop at judging only this lone soldier for feeling the pressure to actually de-pants himself in the face of peer pressure on the subway – “everybody else is doing it, here I’ll go over the cliff too.” His behavior is a function of his institution. This is a display of a lack of respect for the employer – the U.S. Army or, to be more precise, the American people that are both employers and the people they’re supposed to be protecting. Or, if a soldier has the luxury of taking off his pants, he has rendered the uniform and the institution it represents worthless in a more fundamental way. Why the hell do we need this soldier and others like him running around sopping up tax dollars if they’re so useless as to be able to take off their pants because everyone else is doing it?
Above all, this scene conjures mockery. If you’re a soldier, act like one. Take pride in the fact that you don’t have to be silly in order to get respect and gain esteem.