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Crocs: What God Wears on Her Feet

You read Meghan O’Rourke, Slate’s cultural empress, with the sort of heightened interest reserved for those who’ve got game. She’s good. She’s young. And she’s aware of both. I was shocked, then, when I swung by Slate this afternoon and … Read More

By / July 16, 2007

You read Meghan O’Rourke, Slate’s cultural empress, with the sort of heightened interest reserved for those who’ve got game. She’s good. She’s young. And she’s aware of both. I was shocked, then, when I swung by Slate this afternoon and saw her byline gracing the lead story whose headline (“What a Croc! The peculiar popularity of a truly heinous shoe.”) bespoke an article of trifling idiocy. But not reading Meg would be like turning away from someone undressing in front of an open window – heinous or hot, the person is always interesting. What we get is a morass of priggishness, albeit well-researched priggishness, on Crocs — the greatest single innovation in the history of footwear. At the heart of Meg’s story is what one blogger calls the “Croc conundrum:” that is, “Crocs make you look absurd, but they can change your life.” In her final analysis, the shoes’ “absurdity” outweigh the continual low-grade ecstasy they introduce into one’s life. And thus, O'Rourke pegs Crocs as but another passing fad. Meg, you’re crazy!!! So called fads and laughable fashions almost always outlast their critics (Meg’s probably counting the minutes when the decade-spanning body mutilation movement – piercing, tattooing, et al – comes to a stop. And sneakers! I’m sure Meg’s been shorting Nike since her days at Yale).
Most importantly, when you wear Crocs, it feels like you're walking around on marshmallows. Marshmallows, Meg! How pathetic it is to perpetuate the tyranny of stiff, uncomfortable footwear, this unchanging dictatorship of unnecessary formality. The senselessness of it might force one to find a deeper, more abiding reason for such a particular madness that would squeeze America back into their marshmallow-less shoes: is she a “defender of fashion,” as she says, or a defender of a repressive social structure that only allows college kids and the politically marginalized (i.e anyone voting for Nader) to acquire a bit of podiatric heaven?

So get up now and buy your first pair of Crocs. You have nothing to lose but your chains!

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