3 July 2011

Say “Yes” to Lies on Ties and Knots

Sen. Bob Brown, in answering a question from Mark Riley at the National Press Club, said:
I was doing my Windsor knot [he fiddles with the knot of his necktie] before I came here thinking of the House of Windsor and, of course, they always get wound into these conspiracies, don’t they.  No—look—we are moving towards a globally informed community that’s got to live with itself, and we have always espoused democracy.  I can tell you that the two moves the Greens have made for a Global democratic—umm—support for moves in the United Nations, have been voted down by all other parties, both in 2002 and earlier this year—this is conceptual.
Did anyone at that function believe that Sen. Brown really had a notion of the House of Windsor as he knotted his necktie that day?  Judging only on appearances, the notorious senator’s necktie was not noticeably tied with a Windsor knot because it was not markedly wide or particularly large.  According to the Duke of Windsor, in A Family Album (1960):
The so called “Windsor knot” was I believe regulation wear for G.I.s during the war when American college boys adopted it too.  But in fact I was in no way responsible for this.  The knot to which Americans gave my name was a double knot in a narrow tie—a “Slim Jim” as it is sometimes called.   It is true that I myself have always preferred a large knot, as looking better than a small one, so during the nineteen twenties I devised, in conclave with Mr. Sandford, a tie always of the broad variety which was reinforced by an extra thickness of material to produce this effect.  As far as I know this particular fashion has never been followed in America or elsewhere.  [p. 116]
According to Thomas Fink, co-author of The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie, the Windsor:
produces a large, solid, triangular knot, which is not worn as frequently as it was in the first half of the 20th century.  [In From Russia with Love], Bond thinks the Windsor knot is “the mark of a cad”.  Today it is, curiously, the knot of choice of (once) communist leaders and dictators; Hugo Chavez, Putin and the Chinese leaders Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao are examples.
Now, nota bene, this may seem to be a trivial matter—what knot may or may not be a Windsor knot—but of great importance, notwithstanding, is how casually the leader of the Australian Greens may prevaricate when questioned—though, we recall, the Greens “value trustworthiness, sincerity and truth”.  Sen. Brown is either unaware of how a Windsor knot (a knot of nine moves) differs from a four-in-hand (a knot of five moves, also known as the schoolboy knot) or he naturally dissembles when attempting to invent a credible response on the Greens’ policies of one world government (or, of course, both)or was referring to a half-Windsor knot: see UPDATE II below
To us here at Say “Yes” to More Taxes, Sen. Brown’s necktie appears to have been tied with a stock-standard four-in-hand knot, but we could be wrong.  We have asked the senator to settle this knotty matter and we shall notify our readers of any response.

UPDATE I (6 July):  John Dodd of Sen. Brown’s office has kindly responded to our enquiry; he writes:
Senator Brown ties his tie in what he has always understood to be a Windsor knot but, being unfamiliar with the intricacies of the ins, outs and unders described by you, is unable to say to which of the models you have described that his practice conforms.
He will however keep you in mind if he ever feels the need for a personal style consultant.
UPDATE II (8 July)We were wrong—or half-wrong.  Sen. Bob Brown (by way of Kelly Farrow) has very kindly responded; he writes:
You spotted it correctly!
It was indeed a half-Windsor made with very thin material.
We thank the senator for his message and, accepting his clarification, we apologise for our error.  Thomas Fink, by the way, writes this:
If a man claims to know a second knot in addition to the four-in-hand, it is likely to be the half-Windsor, the third of the four classic tie knots.  This symmetric knot [of seven moves] is medium-sized, with the silhouette of an equilateral triangle.  It can satisfactorily be worn with collars of most sizes and spreads.  Although the name of the half-Windsor suggests it is derived from the Windsor, there is little direct evidence for this claim.  Moreover, the half-Windsor is not half the size of the Windsor, but rather three-quarters.
We should also like to add that we here at Say “Yes” to More Taxes, though disagreeing with the senator and his party strongly on many issues, have met Sen. Brown many times over the years, and have found him always to be a kindly and courteous gentleman.  On the issue of CAGW, we consider that Sen. Brown acts honestly, though mistakenly: he is not evil, just wrong.

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