“Pants on the ground, pants on the ground;
Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground…”
— “General” Larry Platt, 2010
It may be bigger than, “I’m going to Disney World!” and a visual that will take some time to fade from our collective memory:
Brett Favre leading the Minnesota Vikings in a locker room rendition of the new American Idol hit “Pants on the Ground”. The 40-year-old quarterback broke tradition deviating from his standard post-game two-hands-up posture to lead his team in the hottest hit song to sweep the Internet.
Depending on the size rock you’ve been under, you might have missed “General” Larry Platt’s audition in the Atlanta installment of American Idol. We don’t usually watch Idol until it gets late in the game, but if you’ve seen any public communication in the last week, you couldn’t have missed this phenomenon.
Here’s Larry Platt, an otherwise unremarkable looking 63-year-old guy who looks like a lot of other 63-year-old guys in Atlanta. He’s not just different from the 20-somethings who suffer whiplash attempting Mariah Carey-style rifts in an effort to demonstrate their vocal versatility but end up just annoying everybody else. He’s an inspiration to other unremarkable folks who believe what they have to offer is nothing anyone else would find redeeming.
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”
Larry Platt has offered a social commentary on what many — too many, in fact — young people have embraced as unique personal expression, but has resulted in them quite literally showing their fannies. It’s not new that we sometimes look at folks and wonder whether they passed a mirror on their way out of the house. And, yes, there are days when I’m doing good just to have on one of everything without regard to whether my attire is even coordinated, much less a demonstration of my fashion savvy.
While my daughter believes my wardrobe to have been culled from the old lady racks at the thrift shop, there are some basic fashion mores embraced by her generation that are not only unattractive, they’re downright offensive. Call me a prude, but I do not care to see your fanny crack, ballooning BVDs, festooned Fruit of the Looms, tongue studs, or boobular matter. We’ve become so tolerant of folks’ perceived right to self-expression that taste and decorum have been thrown out the window. We’ve allowed our standards of propriety to be so lowered in order to accommodate self-expression that we find ourselves not only being subjected to public displays of indecent dress and behavior, we’re told to embrace it, for cryin’ out loud.
There was a day when people were expected to be accountable for their choices of self-expression. Now we’re so busy being politically correct that we’re allowing the homogenization of America to the point we’re compromising the security of our homes, families, work places, and life as we know it. We’ve forgotten to let folks know that there are certain modes of behavior that just ain’t okay. Will somebody please explain to me why I have to be tolerant of someone else’s blatantly bad behavior because it might hurt their feelings to tell them they’re a clod?
“Get it up, hey! Get your pants off the ground,
Lookin’ like a fool, Walkin’ talkin’ with your pants on the ground.”
Larry Platt, my hat’s off to you! In less than a week, your “Pants on the Ground” has become one of the hottest videos on YouTube.com, as well as the subject of numerous blogs, news stories, commentaries, and talk shows — publicity all the agents in the world could probably not have purchased on his behalf in order to get his message to the public. You employed humor to speak to those of the younger generation who are so busy trying to express themselves that they’re offending the sensibilities of everyone with whom they come in contact.
If we can’t do anything about imploding governments, maybe the General can get the kids to pull up their britches. We can always hope.
Helen Person is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. E-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What AI failed to mention, in lieu of comedy, is that General Larry Platt is a Civil Rights Activist who got his "General" moniker from Hosea Williams. The General marched with Dr.King and Williams and was beaten on the road to Selma.
Back in September 2001 there was General Larry Platt Day here in GA granted by our State Congress for his many works for civil rights.
There is also a guilty verdict, handed down by a jury of his peers, and that has been repeatedly upheld up on appeal that says he isn't. I would rather a convicted murder get his just reward swiftly and decisively.