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Troy Patterson’s “The Politics of the Hoodie”

In Troy Patterson’s “The Politics of the Hoodie” he discusses the history and connotations of the garment in a descriptive and engaging way. When discussing teenage culture Patterson writes, “And if, in its antisurveillance capacity, the hood plays with the visual rhetoric of menace, it is heir to a tradition in teen dressing stretching back to the birth of the teenager, when he arrived fully formed in leather jacket and bluejeans.” [1] This sentence, while complex in vocabulary and structure is actually quite simple in meaning. Teen culture has always incorporated the hoodie much like they have the leather jacket and blue jeans. Also, the hoodie represents a menacing nature because it is anonymous and mysterious. The sentence combines a lot of ideas into one, the excessive use of commas allows him to write about a lot of ideas all at once. He chooses to use the words “visual rhetoric” instead of something simpler to emphasize how clothing communicates a strong message. He also chooses “menace” because many teens are seen as disruptive and annoying and menace has a lighter quality to it than criminal, threat or nuisance. I think the rhythm of the sentence lends itself well to engage the reader.



[1] Troy Patterson, “The Politics of the Hoodie,” The New York Times, March 02, 2016, , accessed October 25, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/06/magazine/the-politics-of-the-hoodie.html.

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