New fogeys are particularly sensitive to foreign fashions, and are often well informed about current concerns. Younger fogeys have less respect for their elders; they will often feel superior to them (and vice versa) because they do not view their elders as intellectual peers. This has led to a sharp increase in educational standards and a sharp fall in general literacy, which is why so many young people read Vogue or the New Yorker. It has also led to some solid arguments about whether America is turning into the Soviet Union. It is thought in some quarters that the difference between the two is that the Soviet Union is now run by fogeys. Even then, fogeyism is beginning to wane, and the number of people that fit the descriptions in the previous paragraph is decreasing. It is not entirely clear whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.
The revival of the revival is often caused by the desire of clever young people to try to look clever in the eyes of their elder colleagues. It was common in the 20th century for young people to dress according to the fashion of their elders, and if they were conscious that their elders were no longer impressed by that fashion, they would simply adopt an older style. What we have now is the same idea, but applied to clothes.
The names fogeyism is a useful shorthand for the taste of a generation (or more precisely, a group of closely related generations). It is not to be confused with the older and less fashionable revival in taste, which sometimes re-occurs in fashion.
It is quite usual for a fashion to have a short revival, but to have a long-lasting revival, a style must be old and must become fashionable again. The same is true of fogeyism; you can only have a long revival of it if you forget it, and if it is fashionable again.
However, even in the twenty-first century, the term “fogey” still carries a negative connotation. While some people might consider James Sharpe a good friend, most people would probably consider his parents a pair of fools for ever naming him after a Shakespearean character. It’s a word that was originally used by the ruling elite to describe their young nieces and nephews (they were “fogyish”) and then came to be used to describe younger men who were overly fond of books, cricket, and the royal family.
I have two reasons for calling him a fogey. First, I think that his childhood dream of studying a field as impractical as anthropology was a sign that he was a man of character, and that this in turn would make him a more interesting adult. Second, I think that his love of antique instruments, books, and fine clothing is a sign that he is an honorable man. If he had been something more like me, he would have joined a friends-and-family discount liquor store and become a stockbroker.
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