These are objectively terrible times, so give us our cargo short arguments and our Taylor Swift factions. Our mental health depends on it

I used to love cargo shorts. I had them in camouflage, army green and even a light khaki, all from Abercrombie & Fitch.

I would even wear corresponding polos with my collar popped to the sky, and maybe some obnoxious bracelets or a trucker hat. I would stuff my cellphone, which back then was still exciting and new, in the right over-sized pocket, and my wallet in the left.

And then one day I stopped doing all of this. Why? Because I grew up, and because cargo shorts are a ridiculous and outdated form of fashion. This is pretty much indisputable.

But the Wall Street Journal nonetheless stirred up a cargo shorts controversy this week, exploring the slight decrease in what has been a $700m annual business. Every time I put them on, I am conscious of the fact that I am now being disobedient in my marriage, reads a representative line from the story.

The whole thing is incredibly silly. But whats not silly is the climate in which this great debate has exploded.

Just this week, Donald Trump has openly fought with a Muslim gold-star family who spoke at the Democratic convention before spending the next day asking around about the USs nuclear capabilities.

A young black mother, Korryn Gaines, in Maryland, tried to livestream a police raid into her house. She was killed by police fire as she held her five-year-old son, who now stars in cellphone video footage of him describing what he remembers while recovering in a hospital from wounds sustained in the shooting.

Over the past month, weve memorialized the one-month anniversary of the Orlando mass shooting, weve witnessed the massacre in Nice, and we were forced to endure the circus of the Republican national convention and then imagine a world where Donald Trump is president, and his wife spends at least one term plagiarizing more of Michelle Obamas speeches.

We are exhausted. We are tired. We are looking for a distraction. So we are obsessing about flossing and cargo shorts in between obsessing about gun violence and fascism.

And this is fine, because we shouldnt be plugged in to all things grim 24/7, even though our news cycle never sleeps. We need to take time away from debating whether or not the impending election is a sign of the end times, or whether 2016 is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded.

If this breather plays out as a heated cargo shorts debate or in the form of intense Taylor SwiftKimye factionalism, then so be it. These superficial controversies dont actually mean anything, but they at least keep us alert, refreshed and potentially ready to debate something that matters, like the size of Donald Trumps tiny hands.

Oh, wait: thats what our national discourse has become, except in Trumps case, the stakes of his ridiculous arguments are much larger than our stress-relieving trend obsessions. But if you can convince someone that a shapeless short with oversized pockets is an important style statement deserving of devotion, then maybe when you reenter the news cycle, refreshed, you can use your persuasive powers for the greater good.

Either way, stop wearing cargo shorts to work.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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