If any publication has the authority to deem a common gesture a "new" status symbol, it would be the venerable Vanity Fair, chronicler of the glamorous, the powerful and the Gaga. So when writer Jamie Johnson reports that the "classic, mid-conversation yawn" is making a run at becoming a "coded indicator of status that can effectively signify both affluence and leisure," well-heeled urbanites should take the cue. Yawning, sloth, and unabashedly sleeping in have become "increasingly fashionable topic[s] to brag about," Johnson writes.
While some plebeians, presumably those with an "untrained eye," have been viewing the yawn as simply "natural response to fatigue" it's obviously a more sophisticated gesture than that, she explains. It conveys that a weary apathy toward the world is "particularly chic at the moment."
For much of the nation’s existence, industry and productivity represented what the rich wanted to project as a persuasive image. Unwavering devotion to Wasp-fundamentally Protestant—discipline was all the rage. Wealth and accomplishment were cast in material molds, the marketable fruits of productivity and profits. Now, it’s less tangible and more ethereal, like the dreams of carefree sleep. Today, there’s a growing appreciation for what isn’t done, rather than what is, a phenomenon marked by the telling yawn.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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