Commerce & Culture
Vets As Reviewers
In 1640, tailors gathered on London’s Savile Row to begin handcrafting the world's finest suits. Their stretch of shops known today as the “golden mile of tailoring” serves the essential masculine attire dressing storied figures like Lord Nelson, Winston Churchill and even Jude Law.
The suits stitched with finest fabrics like hand sheared wool and soft eastern silk require a customer to be custom fitted at the tailor’s hands. Each piece is a payment in time (100 hours), coinage (£5000-£10000) and trust (immeasurable) between the tailor and the customer as each acknowledges without the other they can cannot create something akin to a work of art.
This post isn’t about clothes. Rather it is a tailored image of favor and its impact on a person.
Arthur Ashe, the American athlete once said,
"Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance."
A new suit highlights a favored man. They reflect his status and how he is presented to the world. It changes how people perceive you and ultimately how you are received. But the exterior refinement for all its beauty does little for one’s soul.
A man cannot be a good without a garment of praise. It is the very article that distinguishes.
But it is easy to forget that, to sink into despair looking at what is happening in our world. It is easy to watch the worst of humanity’s cruelty and nature’s power and become changed ourselves. If we are honest, each passing day, our minds are easily becoming stained by the sorrow around us.
London famous for Savile Row was also notorious for it coal filled air. Brick homes, majestic statues, swift carriages and living men and women would perpetually be bathed in a darkness that Charles Dickens once described in Bleak House as:
“Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun….”
While spending the night with a prostitute in Gaza, the biblical Samson depicted above is surrounded by his enemies. Instead of waiting for them to kill him at sunrise, Samson wakes up in the middle of the night, tears down the city doors with its pillars and carries them on his shoulders up a hill.
The image above, unearthed from the Huqoq synagogue’s brightly colored mosaic floor in Israel is over 1600 years old.
It depicts a hero of the oppressed Jews dressed (strangely) in Roman soldier garb consisting of a red cloak and white tunic.
What was it that the people saw in Rome?
It was an empire like Samson that had torn down any barriers to its own desires. Rome had destroyed the Jewish Temple in AD 70, killed the last of the rebels at Masada and banished its people from the land they had returned to after the Babylonian exile in 586 BC.
More than anything Rome and its soldiers represented the power gap between the imperial ideal and the its people whose land was invaded. While refusing the accept a foreign army on their soil (see Sicarii) the Jews allowed some part of their own identity to be transformed by the culture of another.
It is easy to see how modern forces like the US after more than decade at war are influencing the culture of nations like Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, not to mention changing its own soldiers.
Culture is a nebulous thing. At its core reserved and traditional but in its fringes, willing to don the garments of another if only to ensure the survival of what it holds important.
The artists of Huqoq mural understood this, learned to change and be changed in return.
Perhaps we as returning veterans can do the same.
If you’re looking for a career in tech, the Veterans Affairs Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VETTEC) practically free program is the best place to go.
It’s a housing paid opportunity to learn at a coding camp in computer software, programming, data processing, information science and media application or so the pitch is. That along with 7 step process towards enlightenment your future is secure*.
Why shell out your GIBILL when qualified vets receive certification to apply for the select tech programs that can make you the next Zuckerberg**?
Here’s the bad part:
1. You will have to work. No guarantees of getting accepted or passing in the programs.
2. All but one require a physical presence for 8+ hours. No part time options. Coding is life!
3. Most are away from tech centers of New York City and California and Texas which brings us to...
4. No guarantee of finding a job. Only one of the programs took up the offer from the VA to return the funds if their students didn’t find employment so caveat emporium.
Considering that this is the VA that is still working on providing meaningful healthcare for veterans, it is a novel pilot program.
If your options are unemployment/low employment or trying your hand at a new career, this program could be right for you.
Spread your wings, say goodbye to the military and Hello, World!*** through the VETTEC program.
*past tech employment returns is no guarantee of future growth.
**You will not be Zuckerberg.
***This is a programming joke. Print “laughter”& “applause” now.