Jon Lovett is a straight shooter widely respected on all sides. He earned this reputation (which is seriously fantastic, ask people) as a speechwriter for Hillary Clinton and as a presidential speechwriter in the Obama White House.
Karie Luidens is an Albuquerque-based writer of criticism, commentary, current events, and semi-connected musings. She’s yet to earn much of a reputation. When she heard Jon’s off-the-cuff explanation of his rainbow pants on the latest episode of Lovett or Leave It, she found it so compelling, she spent the rest of the episode doodling the above.
Here’s a typed transcript of the handwritten transcript for anyone who’s color-blind, using a screen reader, or generally not a fan of that penmanship.
What’s the story of your pants?
Tell you the story of the pants.
You want to know the story of the pants?
Well, uh… you see, over the last 40 years, America and the world developed an international trading system that shifted the production of goods and services to places where the cost of manufacturing was lower. Places like China and Vietnam and Bangladesh and India. Through that, we developed a system of supplying Western capitalist societies with cheap clothing and other products that allowed us to have a higher standard of living while depleting the manufacturing base of the country and leading to widening inequality as the wealth of our capitalist system accrued to the hands of those at the top while the kind of middle class jobs, the backbone of our economy, was slowly ripped away, the trade-off being yes, you get a $600 Vizio at Costco, but you lack a sense of dignity, a sense that your life has meaning and purpose, and slowly but surely, without fully understanding why, your politics become more brittle and crass, and you grow angry and intemperate in a way you can’t totally describe and politicians of both parties struggle to speak to that inherent contradiction, a sense that society is getting richer and yet I feel poorer, that we have more and more things and yet we feel more disconnected from one another.
Somewhere along that path, I went to a website called, I believe, Top Man, and was able to purchase these pants for I believe $39.95.
And, um, they arrived in my home and I put them on and I thought, these’ll do nicely.
And that’s the story of these pants.