Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Hoodie Conundrum

Neither being young nor owning a hoodie, I stumbled on this iPod article in MacWorld quite by chance. I have to say that, in the UK climate, the concept of wearing a hooded sweater seems to be most sensible. Obviously retailers think so too as they sell plenty of them. What becomes somewhat sinister is the idea that people who wear hoodies are somehow dangerous to society, likely to cause trouble and therefore should be discouraged from meeting places like shopping malls.

A shopping mall is usually private property, unlike the Main Street or High Street, so the owners can insist on special rules if they believe such rules are in the public good. Last year the Blue Water Shopping Centre in Kent made the headlines by banning hoodies.

Perhaps hoodies deny security cameras a clear look and a reasonable ability to make an identification of a suspect, say, observed to be shoplifting. While events of July 7, 2005 certainly suggest that the more CCTVs we have the easier it is to catch terrorist bombers, I also wonder about the Orwellian concern of a "Big Brother" and how the information on peoples' movements might be used.

But the most bizarre part of the hoodie ban from shopping malls must be the fact that the wearers almost certainly bought them in the same Mall that now bans them from being worn! Isn't that a bit like a bar that sells you a drink but then says you can't drink it on the premises?