Let me tell a story. I won a leadership award at a ‘leadership recognition’ ceremony at the University of Puget Sound for, actually, “protesting” I guess (or something like that). I think it’s great that protesting has rewards. (Tangible results, too.) Carrying home a plaque with my name on it was pretty amazing. But there was something else too.
…I felt like a hero.
But then some parent ruined it. After the ceremony was over, a parent of a student came up to me and congratulated me for “looking mainstream”.
Since a “protester” was being rewarded for “protesting”, the parent expected to see a kid (me) with long hair and smelly clothes. To her amazement, she said, a “clean-cut, mainstream-looking” student stood up and walked onto the stage. She said, “I’m glad to see SDS has become more mainstream than what I remember from my youth.” I sauntered off wishing I had long hair to strangle her with.
John Lennon, who had long hair and worked hard to make that hair look good, had a word for her hair prejudice. He called it “bagism”. I’m not sure how he came up with that word, but bagism is present everywhere. The older generations are inundated with bagism. When they view the youth they look to bagism as an indicator of their credibility, class, and criminality, and pot-smoking status.
Having the right hair is simply another way that the Spectacle has made them believe they must adhere to its “higher” standards of professionalism and obedience.
Maybe I should have protested the award ceremony… for reinforcing bagism.