The closest I will ever come to a Marketing department is to have my university office one floor below one, as I do. I was bemused yesterday to hear a story on All Things Considered about the Marketing Department at the University of Illinois at Normal (irony ahead) that describe the department's decision to institute a dress code for its students: business casual is now mandated. I wonder how many other cynical old hippies -- I was sent home from high school one day for failing to wear socks under my sandals -- were chuckling to themselves, having read the lengthy story in the NY Times Magazine the day before on marketing genius Rick Rubin. That picture in the Times, now that's what I call business casual! I became aware of Rick Rubin when he revived the career of my hero Johnny Cash, but I'm not offering him here as a model, just as a contrast to the folks in Normal. In fact, I see Rubin as an almost entirely empty figure, the very American type Harold Bloom describes as "gnostics" in his book The American Religion. (I have my problems with Harold Bloom as well, but I don't want this to become an endless regression . . . ) But I wonder how the marketing profs at Illinois State deal with an obviously successful figure like Rubin. By having their students buy a closet full of chinos & sports coats, apparently. As a way of making them stand out from the crowd.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

1 thought on “Marketing”

  1. Dress code for business happily flexes well for those who wear sensible exercise shoes and walk to work. With humnility I wish to note a holiday that is listed on the Internet for September 22 – World Car Free Day.

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