The Comb-Over Effect
I like listening to Robert Krulwich’s Radio Lab. Along with his host Jab Abumrad they make science fun for adults.
Today on Morning Edition Krulwich submitted a story about the hairiness (or lack thereof) of Russia’s leaders. He pointed out that it seems to go back and forth between them, with one leader being bald and the next one having a head full of hair.
When the Communists took over in Russia in 1917, the first leader, Vladimir Lenin, was bald. His successor, Joseph Stalin, was hairy.
Stalin’s successor (we’re skipping an interim leader, Georgy Malenkov, who never got to be chairman), Nikita Khrushchev, was bald. Next up: Leonid Brezhnev (hairy). Then, in rapid succession, came Yuri Andropov (bald), Konstantin Chernenko (hairy), Mikhail Gorbachev (bald), Boris Yeltsin (hairy), Vladimir Putin (very, very thin on top) — and last and maybe least, today’s Dmitry Medvedev (hairy).
In America he points out that we have only had three bald presidents (Eisenhower, Harding and Ford). Noting that those sans hair have a hard time getting into the highest office in the U.S, he calls it the “Baldness Barrier”
I instantly think of Steve Chabot.
Chabot is bald but acts like he doesn’t know it. He has the worst comb-over in the House (if you disagree please post pics of your own State Rep’s comb-over below). I have tried to look beyond a candidates looks and focus primarily on the issues but in this instance I think the looks and issues go hand in hand. How can one trust a politician with a comb-over?
Basically he’s lying to himself, telling himself that he had hair when in fact he doesn’t. He could get implants to correct the problem but he doesn’t. He could go bald and just shave all his hair off (or, at the very least, the offending comb-over) but he won’t do that either. Instead he looks in the mirror, parts the long hair on one side and then carefully drapes it over the top of his head to hang on the other side and thinks it looks good. It really doesn’t. He obviously can’t see the truth.
And if he can’t see the truth about his hair how can we trust his judgement on other things?
I guess we can blame it on the American public’s desire for youth and our preference for politicians with hair. A politician with a hairline on his forehead instead of close to the back of his neck looks more youthful and strong, nevermind the fact that bald men are thought to have more testosterone. Heck, I’m not even getting into the guys who dye their hair.
I guess the barbers in Washington can rest assured that politicians who come in will have nice locks to run their combs and scissors through. The guys in DC may be many things, but one thing they are collectively is hairy.