20 July 2011

Fashion Faux Pas

I never expected my friend Brian to find himself at the center of a media storm regarding his fashion sense. Now don't get me wrong, the fine Dr. Skotko has always been a snappy dresser. He somehow manages to make even scrubs look one step above the pajamas they actually are. Unlike most people in our generation, he brings to mind spats and walking sticks. He inspires the word dapper. But he also, and this is one of his more important qualities, is one of the kindest and sincerely sympathetic physicians I happen to know.

He is quick to smile, the first to welcome a stranger, and (when I was expecting Emmaline and still taking overnight call) was always willing to ask the cafeteria staff for a plateful of pickles for the crazy pregnant lady upstairs. In the five years we've known each other, I don't think I've ever seen Brian get angry. I honestly didn't think it was an emotion he could possess. But then GQ's John B Thompson suggested that the reason Boston topped their list of the worst-dressed cities in America was that “Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome, where a little extra ends up ruining everything.”

Even if Brian's sister Kristin had not been born with the extra 21st chromosome that results in Down Syndrome, I think he still would have been miffed at the language. Like I said, he's just a really nice guy.

Brian's eloquent response to the GQ post can be found here.

But I don't think you have serve on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress and the National Down Syndrome Society to recognize when language is simply in bad taste. You don't have to have written books on the subject to realize that marginalizing a segment of any population is potentially hurtful and that hurting others is, generally speaking, a not nice thing to do.

So well done Brian on raising your hackles. I didn't know that you had any. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, but then you have always been the sort to put others to shame, especially when shame is what they deserve.


  1. The only time I came close to hitting one of my students was when one used the r- word as an insult.

  2. Thanks, Meghan, for your nice credit, but the praise/blame for my fashion sense must be given to my wife, Carrie, who enjoys dressing me up, it seems. You should see what I look like in green pants. Yikes!