Friday, June 19, 2009


Woody Allen's films have always been distinctive. His early films reveal a clever eccentric whose unexpected juxtapositions make it impossible not to laugh. In his 1971 film Bananas, the early scene with Howard Cosell announcing a presidential assassination in a Latin American banana republic, as if it were an Ali fight, is so over the top... it works. I'm smiling as I write this because it's still hilarious as I replay it in my mind.

There are, of course, many memorable scenes with favorites including the courtroom spoofs and the guerillas in training. But this blog note wants to draw attention to an unforgettable scene late in the film where the revolutionaries have overthrown the arbitrary rule of the dictators and now have all the peoples lined up to announce the new rules. One of these new rules is the requirement that everyone must regularly change their underwear. "To enforce this rule everyone will be required to wear their underwear on the outside."

So it was with great amusement that I read an Associated Press story last night about a new law passed in Brooksville, Fla.... Workers Must Wear Underwear. Evidently when this story crossed the wire it turned many others' heads as well because a quick Google search shows more than 300 newspaper editors have picked up the account.

I understand dress codes in the work place. But this story underscores the problems that ensue when legislators attempt to turn common sense into laws, regulations or codes. In this instance, city workers are required to use deoderant. How, might we ask, will this be enforced? If you are digging ditches and it's ninety degrees in the shade with 100% humidity, is there a sweat-meter that will measure if you are sufficently schlocked with Right Guard. I can see a great PR campaign here... "Right Guard keeps city employees out of jail with a free Xtreme Clear Power Gel Arctic Refresh."

But that underwear clause is what has me confused. Who will be the enforcer? Will all men have to keep their flies open so we can see that they are properly suited for work?

Apparently Bananas was more relevant than we realized.

1 comment:

Pedro H. Albuquerque said...

Great example of government failure and how unbounded political power inevitably steps over the line.