I’ve been wondering what to wear to my sedition trial. You may think this rather premature, or immature, even, but I’ve been wondering all the same. I’ve been making some pretty mouthy political statements regarding Washington in general and Mr. Clinton in particular. We know for a fact that Mr. Clinton can be quite vindictive, that is when he is not schmoozing up to Indonesia in order to ensure his own fortune and glory. So let’s just say this has been on my mind. I am a female and what to wear to important events is a matter of some concern. I mean, if I have to go, what do I wear?
I know, the State has this depressing habit of shoving its political prisoners into those horrid orange jumpsuits, but I’m a redhead and that just isn’t going to work. And the chains. They are not very attractive. But they are almost certainly symbolic rather than functional. Remember the pictures of Ted the K? He was surrounded by guards with guns and yet he was covered with the chains. I rather doubt there was much chance that he could plant a letter bomb in the courtroom, so the chains probably weren’t all that necessary. So, Ok, I’ll take the chains. Lots of them please. They’ll ruin the outfit, but at least they will create the impression for the conscious viewer that I’m dangerous to the health of the State. For my chains, I would like to request, in advance, that my leg irons be attached to one of those big heavy balls we used to see prisoners in movies wearing. Just for fun. Helluva fashion statement, and one I’m sure my mom would appreciate. (Hi mom.)
But let’s say I can choose what to wear, besides that orange jumpsuit. If I have to wear that, I ain’t going. I’ve been thinking about this floor-length gray dressu2014a very nice elegant number. It would make me look quite sedate, maybe even historical, kind of like a modern Patrick Henry’s sister when she’s not being mouthy. It goes nicely with my hair and eyes and it makes a serious, intelligent statement. It would be nice to go down in history as being serious and intelligent, although I rather doubt that I’ll succeed. However, since I won’t have to read any of the blather that will get written, I won’t mind all that much.
On the other hand, I have this great pair of red silk pants and a nifty little black velour jacket trimmed with white rabbit fur and I know for a fact I’m cute as a button in this outfit. It is much more … well, bratty, but it is cute. And it is an entirely different sort of statement to make at one’s sedition trail. I guess this is Patrick Henry’s sister when being mouthy, and so I would have to make a Speech of Import from the dock. The Irish are good at those, having had centuries of practice, so I should be fine. I’ll start practicing one soon. And the chains will look OK with this outfit, not great, but OK.
I know. You’re thinking that I’m just a lightweight. That I should be thinking serious thoughts about, oh, I don’t know. The Constitution, maybe. Or reforming the system. Or whether I should invest in the Chinese SKS or another load of dehydrated veggies. What can I say? I am thinking about those things. But I guess I need some advice on this question as well. I ask readers to send me their votes, for the gray dress, or the red silk/black jacket getup.
Patricia Neill is managing editor of a scholarly journal on the life and work of William Blake, the 18th-century artist and poet.