Mar 29, 2014

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: The North Korean Hair Rumor

Hair styles are such a symbol of cultural conformity and nonconformity. Just like fashion, we use hair-dos to fit it or stand out. We Americans relish the freedoms we enjoy to do whatever we like with our looks, even when its tasteless to the point of offensive. So the internet rumor that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was forcing male university students in the capital to sport the same 1/2 shaved style as Dear Leader Jr. understandably went viral. It speaks to our supreme distaste for the idea of communism's cultural control.

While the mass buzz cuts may be a rumor, according to the New York Times North Korea did wage war against long hair in 2005.
"... the government waged war against men with long hair, calling them unhygienic anti-socialist fools and directing them to wear their hair "socialist style." It derided shabbily coifed men as "blind followers of bourgeois lifestyle." The country's state-run Central TV even identified violators by name and address, exposing them to jeers from other citizens.

The hair campaign, dubbed "Let's trim our hair according to socialist lifestyle," required that hair be kept no longer than 5 centimeters (2 inches). Older men received a small exemption to allow comb-overs.

The campaign claimed long hair hampers brain activity by taking oxygen away from nerves in the head. It didn't explain why women were allowed to grow long hair."
Sheesh, who knew? Glad I cut my hair off, hopefully I'll get smarter now!

Mar 22, 2014

One Single Strand of Elvis Presley Hair

One single strand of Elvis Presley's hair is on sale today!
(Well was on sale as it was on English time)


But one single stand, mounted in the middle of a gold record, was up for auction in Northumberland. And it came with a significant letter of authenticity.

Apparently a man named Thomas Morgan was friends with the crooner's hairdresser, Homer Gilleland. Homer would go on tour with Elvis, bagging and saving his hair clippings. Seems like there should be thousands of these framed mementos out there, if the hairdresser had a whole bag bagged. (and yes, there are. "As he worked with Elvis off and on up through the 1970s, Gilleland kept locks of Presley's hair, attaching them to business cards and ultimately giving large collections to friends.")

Julien's Auctions, June 2012. Winning bid: $4,160

As it turns out, today was not the only time Elvis fans had the chance to own the hair of their favorite rock star. There have been a number of offerings, but in 2009, a clump of the Rock and Roll singer's hair fetched $15,000 at a Chicago auction. The hair clipping, which belonged to the late Gary Pepper who ran an Elvis fan club and was a friend, was believed to have been trimmed from Elvis Presley’s head when he joined the Army in 1958.

And if you're asking yourself if Elvis is the only famous singer whose hair people covet, well you'd be correct to think there must be. Justin Beiber, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and Keith Richards have all had their locks up for sale.

There is such a long history of fetishizing hair and other body parts, and it makes you see the ceremony around religious reliquaries as being in the same camp of hero- and celebrity-worship. The times have changed but folks' behavior and the song remains the same.

So how much did Elvis' precious single strand sell for in the end?    ..... drumroll ....    about $250.