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A Senator In NY Posted These Billboards All Over Brooklyn. Do You Agree With The Message?


Hector Quinones didn’t amount to much in life, but he managed in to make a powerful fashion statement. The statement boiled down to this: Don’t be a like me.

Not nearly enough people seem to be taking his lesson to heart.

Back in December, Mr. Quinones three men in an apartment on the Upper West Side, a described by the police as drug-related. Mr. Quinones was intent on shooting more people, they said, only he was forced to flee. He ran to the fire escape. But the low-slung pants he was fell down, the police said. He tripped over them, took a tumble and landed with a thud in the building’s backyard.

There you had it: by trousers.

Could there be a better argument for hitching up one’s pants? And yet countless young men continue to parade about the streets in their own boxer rebellion, wearing trousers so low that their shorts — and sometimes more than that — are on display.

“I was on a subway train, and there was this young man,” State Senator Eric Adams of Brooklyn said. “His behind was showing, literally. He had underwear, but even the underwear was sagging. All the passengers were looking at each other in =, but nobody was saying anything.”

For Mr. Adams, that silence was deafening. Now he is speaking up. He began a campaign this week to do something about the saggy bottom boys and the adults who have “a high tolerance for antisocial behavior,” whether out of indifference or fear.

They’re all of a piece, Mr. Adams says in the video. But what’s insidious about the latest degradation is that it is totally self-inflicted. “Let us not be the ones who make our communities seem foolish,” he says. (He himself is impeccably dressed in the video in a gray suit, green tie and white pocket square.)

Actually, the senator said in an interview, his target audience is adults more than youngsters. Grown-ups are supposed to act like grown-ups.

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“The children aren’t doing anything different, because children always push the envelope,” he said. “We have abdicated our responsibility of telling them when they’ve gone too far. Even if they don’t follow our advice, the adult is supposed to say, ‘This is not acceptable.’ ”

“Our communities have turned almost into minstrel shows,” he added.

Eye-rolling over what children do has, of course, only been going on for thousands of years. But the droopy pants look that has men shuffling along as if they were Attica inmates has hung around for a surprisingly, and distressingly, long time.

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It has prevailed over constitutionally flawed efforts by various municipalities to enact legal bans. It has defied no less than Barack Obama. “Brothers should pull up their pants,” Mr. Obama said in an appearance on MTV just before his election as president. “You are walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear is showing. What’s wrong with that? Come on.”

Nothing is guaranteed with the senator’s campaign. Should it not do the trick, how about Hector Quinones as a backup? Posters could show him after the fall, with a tag line on the order of, “Sagging pants.”

The message isn’t particularly subtle or even tasteful. But it just might work.

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