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Several large Italian companies have instituted a new energy-saving policy for summer: no ties. Open shirts (presumably without jackets) will mean the menfolks can live with less air conditioning, saving on electricity costs and environmental impact.

Al Gore, giving a speech in Rome on the day of the Live Earth concerts, missed an opportunity to embody this philosophy: he was dressed in a suit and tie, and sweated like a pig on stage. I guess no one told him that Italians don’t crank up the A/C nearly as much as Americans do (even before these new ideas came along).

i’m all for it – I always thought ties were fairly silly anyway, though I do understand that for some men they’re a chance to add a touch of personality to the otherwise dull male uniform. But not everyone is happy. Enrico saw an article in the Lecco paper that a local tie manufacturer was furious – if this goes on, his business will be ruined. Which leads me to wonder: how is the tie industry doing in the US these days? Surely the office casual revolution of some years ago pretty much killed it.

It seems to me that in the US nowadays, ties are most often worn by politicians and bankers. Wearing a tie may become a status statement: “I can wear a tie because I can afford a lot of air conditioning.” Which will, in turn, get flipped around by the environmentally-conscious: “You wear a tie, you must be wasting a lot of energy on air conditioning. And I’ll bet you drive a Hummer, too, you asshole.”

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