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Dressing Down


Police try to restore order by attacking personal style.

Today, Minyanville Founder and CEO Todd Harrison asked, "How can you not be scared, given what's going on in the world?"

The Dow has fallen to 8500 from a high of 14000 last October; just last week, about $800 billion in shareholder wealth was wiped out.

The National Association for Business Economics forecasts a US unemployment rate of 7.5% by the end of next year.

The United States is fighting 2 wars at once, at an estimated cost of $16 billion a month.

How are people dealing with the fear and anxiety?

Some go the pharmaceutical route - there's Paxil from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Lexapro from Forest Pharmaceuticals (FRX), Zoloft from Pfizer (PFE), and a raft of other, similar medications on the market.

Some stick with tried-and-true, non-prescription medications: Jack Daniels, proudly manufactured by the Brown-Forman Corporation (BFB), Johnnie Walker, from the fine folks at Diageo (DEO), or any member of the Anheuser-Busch (BUD) family of fine beers, including, but not limited to, Natural Light, Michelob, Tequiza, and, of course, the quintessential American lager, Budweiser.

However, Dr. William Scheick, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, whose focus is in American literature and culture, has a different take on individuals' response mechanism to societal acrimony.

Dr. Scheick told the Dallas Morning News that, "During times of societal discomfort and anxiety, especially if a war is under way or people merely perceive some outside threat, fashion has been a recurrent target for people in authority who hope to exert some sort of control in a world that seems in so many ways out of control."

People targeting fashion to exert some sort of control? What exactly was the professor referring to?

Frightened investors shying away from Gap, whose shares hit a 52-week low of $10.54 last Thursday?

Sell-offs in Urban Outfitters, down 44% since January, even though the company earned $0.36 per share for the third quarter, beating analysts' forecasts?


Scheick was talking about laws being introduced across the country that prohibit people from wearing loose-fitting, low-hanging pants in public.
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