Geoffrey Bund

An experienced technology and media professional with subject matter expertise in virtual reality and complex realtime capture solutions.

Proud Boys and Fred Perry Shirts

Below is a letter I wrote to Put This On about problematic fashion choices and an incident that happened near my house: 

I recently read this post.

I also live in Los Feliz next to Atwater Village and learned about something that happened here this weekend.

I also am a progressive liberal jew that owns a whole bunch of Fred Perry polo shirts. 

I was aware of the Proud Boys group wearing these shirts or ones like them in the past but shrugged it off. I would say to myself something like, "The prior assumption in this area is that all people are politically far left and so would therefore not infer that you are a Proud Boy by wearing this shirt." or "Most people here don't know what a Proud Boy is or what shirts they wear so this clothing choice will not be mistakenly interpreted as a political statement." These statements no longer seem valid.

I won't wear my yellow-trimmed Fred Perry shirt anymore but I was wondering if there's more to discuss.

Is there any kind of work that should be done on reclaiming this style? It is more important to me to feel good about my choices than to have access to one style of shirt that I like but that being said, it doesn't seem fair that a group or movement can just claim a thing and then it is ruined hence forth. Would there be a way to reclaim this for liberals who look good in Fred Perry polos? Styling it differently, etc.? Is there historical precedent for reclaiming a style? I know wearers of Doc Martens differentiated themselves with colored laces when the style was co-opted by white supremacists. For now, I will stop wearing my yellow-trimmed Fred Perry polo, but I am wondering if there are more active steps I could take with my dress to protest the presence of the Proud Boys in my area. 

This is somewhat tangential but I think it's interesting how this group is using this specific style choice to further its goals of confusing its public reputation. The Proud Boys seem to try to distance themselves publicly from being tied to fascism and nazism but any investigation into the group makes quite clear that they are at the very least a hate group. 

Using Fred Perry is germane because it references prior styles and movements like British skinhead which in and of itself became problematic. I think this furthers the group's mission of obfuscating its underlying nature by outwardly referencing something that can be construed as liberal, punk or edgy and hip but also has ties to hate groups of the past just as the British Skinhead movement was co-opted by hate groups in the late 60's and 70's. 

Also, and this is even more of a tangent, what of the effect on businesses who make these clothes? Fred Perry as a company has publicly disavowed the Proud Boys. What about the negative effects on their business? Are they obliged to take any action beyond press releases? Wouldn't it be interesting if Fred Perry announced that some portion of profits from said shirt would go to support LGBTQ groups or some other such cause?

I feel very new to taking style and dress seriously but I am very interested in this topic. I would love to see a further discussion about it on Put This On. 

Thank you for your time reading this.



Thinking Fast and Slow

I've been reading "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman and came upon a piece that resonated with me and echoed experiences I have had while working on stunt-driven features.

It has stuck with me because it is an eloquent explanation of an internal thought process when working on high stress problems. Often, it seems a vital piece of equipment will break, or have some unpredictable hiccup, right at the time when a major stunt is set to occur. The camera or support will not work as the stunt van is set on fire, the hero is hanging off a cliff or some other such high stress and time-sensitive scenario is underway. In these moments, production budgets run into numbers like $25,000/minute and failure to move forward can be costly. There is an interesting comparison here in observing experienced firefighters. 

Kahneman quotes a colleague, Gary Klein: 

The initial hypothesis was that commanders would restrict their analysis to only a pair of options, but that hypothesis proved to be incorrect. In fact, the commanders usually generated only a single option, and that was all they needed. They could draw on the repertoire of patterns that they had compiled during more than a decade of both real and virtual experience to identify a plausible option, which they considered first. They evaluated this option by mentally simulating it to see if it would work in the situation they were facing—a process that deGroot (1946/1978) had described as progressive deepening. If the course of action they were considering seemed appropriate, they would implement it. If it had shortcomings, they would modify it. If they could not easily modify it, they would turn to the next most plausible option and run through the same procedure until an acceptable course of action was found. This recognition-primed decision (RPD) strategy was effective because it took advantage of the commanders’ tacit knowledge (Klein et al., 1986). The fireground commanders were able to draw on their repertoires to anticipate how flames were likely to spread through a building, to notice signs that a house was likely to collapse, to judge when to call for additional support, and to make many other critical decisions. 

I can recognize this process in my own experience with troubleshooting camera equipment. The stakes are admittedly far lower than in life-saving scenarios but the stress is still high. These things tend to happen so quickly that one does not observe one's own mind while going through it. Stumbling upon this apt description pleased me and helped me describe to people what it can be like to work in high pressure situations and the excitement and satisfaction of solving problems quickly.  

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