In this morning’s New York Times, there’s an interesting article in the Fashion and Style section entitled “The Newly Uptight”. The article is all about the upcoming Fashion Week in NYC and the “new” styles that we can expect to see on the runways of the top designers. They predict a return to the Jackie Kennedy look (which my wife tells me never goes out of style), a return to a tailored, more conservative look.

I have to admit, I do prefer Jackie Kennedy’s style to that of Britney Spears, but that was not what struck me about this article. It was the reason for this move by the designers.

“We have certainly reached the time where people want to feel good again, to go back to Camelot and pre-Camelot days,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst with the NPD Group, a market research firm. “Boomers especially are harkening back to a day before there were issues,” among them global warming and teenagers overdosing on prescription drugs.

Fascinating! The appeal of living in denial is strong, is it not? We want to go back to a time that covers over dysfunction and unrest. Jackie Kennedy admitted that she created Camelot in The White House to project an image of fairy tale perfection because she felt the reality was too much for the country to handle; that is, the President was unfaithful, and she suffered from depression, being often overwhelmed by the spotlight. The interesting fact is that no matter how much truth comes out about that time, our country still remembers it as the fairy tale, as Camelot.

Fast-forward to today: the sword of impending doom of a recession, the continual war in Iraq, the prospect of losing our superpower status as a nation, etc – according to the article, all this is proving too much for our society. We want to dream about a “better” time. As a result, the fashion shows “are expected to pay homage to a period, the late ’50s and early ’60s, that was, in retrospect, an interlude of prosperity and stability”.

How ironic! I thought the ’50s and early ’60s were, “in retrospect”, a time of suppression and denial that led directly to the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll of the late ’60s.

Still, I understand the desire to return to Camelot even if it is a fantasy. One look at my dvd collection and it’s clear that I like to escape reality as much as the next guy. Reality can simply be too painful and too scary to handle sometimes. It’s hard to hold on to the hope that things will be okay, when nothing in life seems to point that way. Denial and escape come much more naturally. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that hope doesn’t really exist in me; it has to come from outside. It has to come from Someone who knows what this world is about, what my life really is, and who has overcome the world.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have over come the world.” (John 16:33)