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01 August 2006

At what point in life do people begin wearing bermuda clothing? People who previously dressed with some modicum of taste or, failing that, restraint? Is draping yourself in oversized, neon-pastel floral prints a conscious decision or a biological imperative, like fattening up before hibernation, flying south when the days grow short? And could this be explained genetically?

Most people would consider the last question ridiculous, and yet not think twice about the search for genetic explanations of violence, sexuality, assertiveness, behaviors far more complex than sartorial choice. So I hereby propose the Bermuda Standard for evaluating genetic explanations of human conduct: if the behavior explained is more complex than wearing bermuda shirts, looking for a genetic origin is foolish, or at least ought not to be funded before more sensible courses of research are explored.