The Republican Hair Club For Men

Say what you will about the Republican candidates for President, but you have to concede one thing:  they are displaying a fantastically diverse set of hairstyles.  With 16 men ranging from 40s to nearly 70 in the field and not a chrome domer in the bunch, the GOP guys have beaten the odds.  In fact, it’s so statistically improbable that you have to wonder if it isn’t random chance and instead was the a plan of a shadowy, secret organization . . . .

Chairman TRUMP:  OK, I’m calling this meeting of the Republican Hair Club for Men to order.  Gentlemen, congratulations on a good first debate.  Governor Bush, do you have a report for us?

Gov. BUSH:  Yes, Mr. Chairman.  As you all know, our plan was to subconsciously appeal to the deep-seated hair fantasies and vanities of the American male by presenting candidates who cover the broadest possible range of different coiffures short of outright baldness  And I’m pleased to say it has worked beyond our wildest dreams.  Our studies show that not only did that first Fox debate achieve record ratings, but the vast majority of men who tuned in really were just checking out our different stylings.

Sen. CRUZ:  And I’m betting a number of those viewers saw the benefits of Brylcreem, didn’t they?  The success of Mad Men made American men recognize that “a little dab’ll do ya” is a darn good look.  In fact, you might even say it’s slick.  Get it?

Chairman TRUMP (sighing):  Senator — we get it, we just don’t want it.  I’m from the “wet head is dead” school myself.  And I know Governor Bush prefers his distracted professor look, Governor Walker has the “boyish front, bald spot in back” ‘do covered, Dr. Carson’s strongly representing the short hair contingent, Senator Rubio and Governor Huckabee are displaying the benefits of a razor cut at both ends of the age spectrum . . . .

Sen. PAUL (interrupting):  And don’t forget us Kentuckians who want a haircut that reminds everyone of Davy Crockett and his coonskin cap!

Chairman TRUMP:  Still having a bad day, eh?  Yes, Governor Kasich?

Gov. KASICH:  To add to Governor Bush’s report, I wanted to note that the polling data is showing that my little surge in New Hampshire is almost entirely attributable to my coiffure.  I was going for a rumpled, devil-may-care look, but in the North Country where they hibernate for most of the winter, it’s been interpreted as “bed head.”  It just shows the political value of an ambiguous, multi-purpose styling that covers a number of bases.

Sen. RUBIO:  That’s an excellent point, Governor.  And it reminds me:  the barbers, hair stylists, and product manufacturers that have been of our strongest supporters have identified a gaping hole in our coverage of the spectrum of men’s hairstyles.

Dr. CARSON:  It’s the mullet, isn’t it?

Sen. RUBIO:  Precisely.  How about it, Governor Christie?  As the representative of the Garden State, you’re the logical choice, aren’t you?  Of course, you’d have to get a tattoo and maybe a piercing, too.

Gov. CHRISTIE:  I think you’re confused there, Senator.  I could see it if you were asking me to adopt a greasy or spiky Jersey Shore-type cut, but a mullet really is more of an Appalachian look, so I’ll have to defer to Senator Paul to take his tousled ‘do to the obvious next level.

Gov. WALKER:  Speaking of the next level, Mr. Chairman, when are you going to share with us your secret about how you hold that extravagant mane of yours — whatever it is — in place?  Is it a gel or cream?  Is it some kind of top-secret spray?  Lacquer?

Chairman TRUMP:  Sorry, boys — but that information is more classified than the email found on Hillary Clinton’s private server.

Gov. HUCKABEE:  It’s about time that someone talked about the opposition!  I suggest that each of you stop this orgy of self-congratulation and think for a minute about the Democratic front-runner.  Let’s face it:  Secretary Clinton, alone, has covered more hairdos than our entire group.  She’s had short cuts, long looks, hair flipped up at the end, hair curled under — I’m sure if I did enough internet research I could find an ’80s big hair coiff and maybe even a beehive in her past, too.  It’s incredibly impressive.  She’s just one woman, yet she’s managed to span virtually the entire spectrum of women’s hairstyles!

Chairman TRUMP (suddenly somber):  He’s right, men — we’ve definitely got our work cut out for us.  This meeting is now adjourned.  Senator Cruz, could you clean off the back of your chair before you go?

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Squashing Free Speech On Campus

When I attended The Ohio State University in the 1970s, colleges were free speech zones. Diverse opinions spanning the political spectrum were tolerated because hearing competing viewpoints was part of what college was all about. Students didn’t need to be shielded from certain views. Instead, they were viewed as intellectually capable of sifting through the clash of ideas and reaching their own positions on the issues. That’s why groups like the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, among others, were permitted to set up tables on the Oval to hawk their philosophies and solicit new members.

Apparently that approach no longer holds sway — at least on some campuses. The latest evidence can be seen at Rutgers University, where Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to give the commencement address. The Rutgers Faculty Council has passed a resolution asking the school to rescind the invitation to Rice, arguing that she should not appear because of her role in the Bush Administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq. Even worse, an editorial in the Rutgers student newspaper, the Daily Targum, agreed with the Faculty Council.

Condoleezza Rice is one of the most impressive and accomplished Americans of her generation. She’s written books, taught and served as provost at Stanford University, and served as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor. Her story of achievement and success is an inspirational one that the Rutgers community should consider itself fortunate to hear. If the Rutgers faculty members disagree with her role in the Iraq War, the appropriate course is for them to offer competing viewpoints when she is on campus to give her remarks, rather than trying to quash her speech altogether.

Incidentally, in 2011 Rutgers invited “Snooki” Polizzi from Jersey Shore to give a speech to its students, and paid her $32,000 to do so. Snooki apparently told the Rutgers students to “study hard, but party harder” and spoke about the benefits of being tan.

So Rutgers students can hear the vapid musings of a “reality TV” celebrity, but shouldn’t be exposed to the views of an African-American woman who has reached the top levels of academia and government? The Rutgers Faculty Council and the Daily Targum are embarrassing themselves.

Assigning Priorities, And Saying No To Jersey Shore

Today provided another reason why I wish New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would throw his hat in the ring for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Christie vetoed a $420,000 tax credit that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority was going to give to the MTV show Jersey Shore.  Christie’s veto message says, “[i]n this difficult fiscal climate, New Jersey taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize projects such as Jersey Shore” and adds, “as Chief Executive I am duty-bound to ensure that taxpayers are not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the State and its citizens.”

New Jersey, like other states, has been grappling with serious budget concerns that have required Christie and state legislators to make some tough decisions and decide where to put scarce government resources.  Giving tax breaks to a hit TV program — especially one that makes your state seem like a repository for perma-tanned, muscle-bound idiots — has to be at the bottom of the priority list, as Christie recognized and explained in clear, unmistakable language.

I like those qualities.  That’s why I’d like to learn more about Christie and hear his take on how to tackle the federal budget deficit.

Royal Wedding Versus Jersey Shore

On Friday many Anglophilic Americans will get up extra early, brew some good strong tea and let it steep, heat up scones with clotted cream, and tune in the royal wedding.  Great Britain’s Prince William is getting married to Kate Middleton, and the royal watchers will be agog at the extraordinary display — commenting on every nuance of the ceremony, the cost of the event, the origins of the silks and satins in the bridal gown, the nature of the floral displays, and countless other details that no rational person would even notice.

The British people have a hereditary monarchy; they more or less have to pay attention to this stuff.  Why do any Americans, who fought the Revolutionary War 235 years ago to throw off the British monarchy, care?  Who knows for sure?  But Americans do like celebrity, and the British royal family are just about the essence of celebrity.  They’re super-rich and seemingly stylish, they live in castles and palaces, they take fabulous vacations and holidays, they wear crowns and medals and kilts and fine hats and gowns, and they don’t have jobs in the normal sense of the word.  What’s not to like?

Some haughty Americans will use the occasion of the royal wedding to make fun of the Brits and their American cousins who are obsessed with the royal family.  However, in a land where the dim-witted cast members of Jersey Shore are famous, we shouldn’t be so quick to cast judgment on our friends across the pond.  After all, even “Fergie” is not more appalling than Snooki.  If you have to live in a culture that seems to inevitably make otherwise unremarkable people famous, at least let it be folks who can speak the King’s English properly, who live in Windsor Castle, and who don’t apply make-up with a trowel, flaunt their perma-tans and cleavage and pumped-up muscles, blather to a camera about their inane personal problems, and routinely engage in drunken misbehavior.

So, good luck and best wishes to the Prince and his bride!  Now, let us get back to our fixation on American low lifes.

Jersey Shore Can Bite Me

Today JV, the Domer, and I went to lunch.  On the walk, JV mentioned Jersey Shore and I responded that I didn’t know what he was talking about.  He professed astonishment.

I admit, my response wasn’t entirely true.  I first became aware of the program when the President was criticized for claiming he did not know who “Snooki” is.  Russell watched the show when he was here before returning to college, and as a result I saw a few snippets.  The parts I saw consisted of shirtless guys who look like they work out constantly and absurdly overtanned, scantily clad women walking around, whispering about their problems, talking earnestly to the camera about supposedly important relationship issues, and similar activities.  The parts I saw, at least, looked hilariously insipid.  I really don’t give a crap about body-proud twenty-somethings strutting in front of the camera, getting drunk, making out, and wrestling with their obscure and uninteresting personal issues, and it is hard for me to believe that anyone else does, either.

I was amazed to read recently that this pathetic excuse for entertainment has been one of the most popular TV shows of the summer.  Obviously, I don’t appreciate modern popular culture.  Does this make me uncool?  Sure, but then, I’m 53 years old.  To the extent I ever could be cool, those days are long since behind me.  In my dotage I’ll just settle for being entertained — which means I won’t be watching Jersey Shore.