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Hi

Someone says: I started to see two Americas, the mythic America and the real America. It was an age of greed, Wall Street, button down, win, win, win, no time for losers. New York was bankrupt. There was a harsh reality to America as well as the dream.

--- Does "button down" mean something like "conservatism"?

---- Does the last part of the sentence say that both American reality and its dream were harsh?
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When they invented button-down collars, the term was applied to a lot of things (e.g., "the button-down mind"). Now it seems like it was only a fad. It was part of an image, like "the man in the grey flannel suit" - the success-oriented urban conformist. You may be right about "conservatism." I'm not sure.

I think you're wrong about "the dream." I'll admit it's ambiguous. If I had wanted your version I would have written "as well as to the dream." I take it as the harsh side and the dream side. Again, I'm not sure.

- A.
OK, Avangi. That was helpful !!
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Newguestthe mythic America and the real America.
The dream is the mythic part.

There was a harsh reality to America.
And there was also the dream.

There was a harsh reality to America, not just the dream.

CJ
It strikes me that the phrase used may have been "buckle down," which means to work hard and single-mindedly. Could that be the case?
Delmobile It strikes me that the phrase used may have been "buckle down," which means to work hard and single-mindedly. Could that be the case?

I wouldn't bet on it in a million years. button-down sounds perfect to me in connection with Wall Street.

CJ
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Looks like you were right , CJ. But I would like to point out that we are discussing a Bono quote.
I see your point, Del. I couldn't fit "button-down" into that sentence (not even "conservatism," as Newguest suggested.) But I can't see him making that kind of a mistake. How about "batten down the hatches"? Could "button-down" have a regional meaning?

I'll admit "buckle down" fits the "win - win - win" thing, as in "Buckle down, Winsocki, buckle down. You can win, Winsocki if you knuckle down." (I've never seen that written.) I'm sure it was considerably pre-Bono - not to be confused with pro-bono.

Edit. I just looked up "Winsocki." I had it spelled wrong.

Taking CJ's point into consideration, Bono may have been making a deliberate pun, intending "button down" as an imperative. He ain't no dummy. (He was pals with a certain famous Rhodes Scholar.)
AvangiI see your point, Del. I couldn't fit "button-down" into that sentence (not even "conservatism," as Newguest suggested.) But I can't see him making that kind of a mistake. How about "batten down the hatches"? Could "button-down" have a regional meaning?

I'll admit "buckle down" fits the "win - win - win" thing, as in "Buckle down, Winsocki, buckle down. You can win, Winsocki if you knuckle down." (I've never seen that written.) I'm sure it was considerably pre-Bono - not to be confused with pro-bono.

Edit. I just looked up "Winsocki." I had it spelled wrong.

Taking CJ's point into consideration, Bono may have been making a deliberate pun, intending "button down" as an imperative. He ain't no dummy. (He was pals with a certain famous Rhodes Scholar.)

So, is the answer "buckle down"? Because I got a little bit confused. He says "button down" but it is a pun, I'm not sure I understand now.

What do you mean by your last sentence Avangi: "He was pals......" - does it mean he had a friend who was very well educated?
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