John Kerry’s obnoxiously full head of hair

Posted by on May 24, 2004 in | 0 comments

I have complicated feelings about John Kerry. Specifically, his hair. Anybody that can afford to fly his barber on a Gulfstream V and pay $1,000 for a trim is–well, a better, and less hormonally challenged, man than me. As this newsflash from the Drudge Report points out, the hair care is a little excessive–but, for whatever it’s worth, I strongly disagree with pundits who vilify the hair, such as this one, with the headline, “Kerry Names Sharpton’s Hair as Running Mate”:

“Kerry vowed to shave his bizarre mane, which appears to either be a dead wombat that crawled onto his scalp and died, or the world’s poofiest brillo pad. He plans to debut Sharpton’s hair as his running mate at the Democratic National Convention later this year.”

I guess, above all, I feel a kind of awed envy towards the man’s hair. It’s much the same as the embittered crush I had on his daughter, Vanessa, in high school. If I were to conduct an interview with the hair, in person, I suppose it would be something like this back-and-forth with the Corsair:

Interviewer: Well, there is no denying that you are a striking coif.
John Kerry’s Hair: Even by the considerable standards of Massachusetts, which were instituted by the Kennedy family. I am the measure of all things hair.
Interviewer: What about John Edwards? He has impressive hair, no?
JKH: (averted gaze) Well, if you go in for that sort of thing.


–I think it was another New Yorker writer, Philip Gourevitch, who compared the rest of the face, sans hair, to an “an impenetrable African mask.”

My envy has been so all consuming that lately I’ve been thinking about my write-in options–people like Dean and Giuliani, still sportin’ the comb-over loud and proud. But then I came across Jeffrey Tobin’s May 10 New Yorker article about Kerry’s time as a trial lawyer. It’s easily the best thing I’ve read about the man so far–far more enlightening and even-handed than the Atlantic Monthly piece a few months back. Clearly, Kerry’s law career was brief, but his stints as a prosecutor and defense attorney are at least as compelling as his experiences in Vietnam. Take, for example, the story of him successfully reopening the case of a wrongly convicted inmate, George Reissfelder, and then getting his life-imprisonment overturned, a la Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. (Ignoring, of course, the part about the inmate OD’ing on cocaine after being released.) While the prosecutorial tenure shows he’s hardly a softy on crime, the Reissfelder case shows that he’s not blind to the flaws in the justice system.

But I’m getting off topic. In my opinion, the most powerful, and honestly moving, event of Kerry’s all-too-short legal career was his crusade against hair plugs. All right, actually it was a series of cases where patients had received, as a treatment for baldness, implants of carpet fibers. These were passed off as real hair. To quote the Ker-meister:

“They were absolutely fascinating. I loved those cases. … They represented a really grotesque abuse of people. You’d see the photographs of the infections they got. It was just awful. The patients figured since we were new and young they would see if we could try the case.”

In addition to winning the cases, Kerry and co. convinced the authorities to clamp down on any further such “hair” implants. Score one for the bald men. And God bless the man with the mane for not forgetting about us.

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