Take a look at of football management in the media-driven world of the Premiership, and ask yourself, are any of the managers follically-challenged? I can only think of one, and that is Tony Pulis. Fortunately Sunderland have in their boss Steve Bruce a pretty good head of hair. Why do I say fortunately? Please have a read the brief article below, submitted to Newsweek late in 2008 when election fever was dominating the US media.
This is a sad insight into the superficial, modern media-driven world, but we really do need football managers to have great hair, as well as coaching ability. Look at our two Italian imports from 2009-10, Ancelotti and Mancini, they both have outstanding manes. The others who are a bit lacking in that department just do not survive; Benitez is the latest casualty. He may have won the European Champions League for Liverpool, but as his hair gradually receded, so did his popularity with the club Directors, and they had to bite the bullet...Rafa just had to go. The same fate befell Zola this season at West Ham, as his hair started falling out, he also fell out with the new regime at Upton Park.
What have all the truly successful managers such as Ferguson, Wenger, Rednapp and Moyes in common? You guessed it, in a word, hair. So by this reckoning, the managers most likely to move on next season are Pulis at Stoke, possessing of a 100 mph hairstyle usually covered in interviews by a baseball cap, and Martin O’Neill at Villa, who has been looking a bit thin on top recently. McLeish will also have to start watching his step now, but on the other hand Dalglish appears to be a banker for the Liverpool job.
To understand more what I am talking about, take a look at the post-match interviews with national managers and coached in this World Cup. It’s not just tactical nous these guys have in common, but from Maradona to Eriksson, Capello to Aguirre, Olsen to Queiros, they all have great hair!
A Head Counts More Than We Know In The Race For President.
What if there was a way to cut through all the deep analysis of the candidates, what sort of weeks they are having, keeping an eye on the polls and all the associated stuff that fills the media at election times. What if there was a simple analytical tool, obvious to anyone, that could predict with almost unerring accuracy, who would be selected from either party, and accurately predict who might become Prime Minister or President? What if there was a formula that would show if a candidate had any chance at all, well before the day of the election, giving the party the opportunity to select the right candidate.
Well there is a way, a deceptively simple way of accurately assessing candidates. And it is very intuitive – all we have to ask is “do they have hair?” More specifically, the lack of it. Not anything to do with the 1970s musical, but whether each candidate has an impressive mane.
Forget all the well-run campaigns, the media profiling, the fundraising, all the political junkies who feed off the campaigns. Unfortunately my conclusion over many years of observing politics here and in Europe, is that the “follically challenged” candidates have no chance of winning this or any other election.
This is a sad insight into the superficial, modern media-driven world. It is an even sadder insight into how much the average voter looks at the policy, value and integrity of each candidate before exercising their democratic right. Forget policy on Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy, universal healthcare, the candidate’s religion or their moral values, having hair beats all these policy issues into a distant second place.
Unfortunately, and we may as well admit it now, but the slaphead with a terrific photogenic wife and wonderful supportive family, and the most well-thought out policies and serene stage presence has no chance – having a decent mane is what counts. Ask yourself a simple question – who was the last British Prime Minister or American President with a less than full head of hair? I guess that was Gerald Ford, but he was not really elected to the position, he just held the reins for a while when the hotseat was vacated by Richard Nixon. Before that was Eisenhower, in an age before media image was everything. Check the pictures out at http://www.americanpresidents.org/gallery/
Is it only the USA where these rather superficial voting habits rule? A very definite “No”! We have just elected the Debonair David Cameron, with a full head of hair, and Tony Blair was one of the longest-serving British Prime Ministers until his retirement in 2007. His-Tonyness at least stared with a full mane. Blair was rather regularly challenged by spectacularly hairless Conservative party candidates for Prime Minister, and easily beat them off every time. His replacement, Brown was elected unopposed by the Labour Party, and yes, he had a decent thatch. I cannot think of a bald UK Prime Minister in my lifetime, and although Churchill was a natural leader, he was bald in a time when the media did not decide voting patterns. Look at Nicolas Sarkozy, he is debonair in that way in which only the French can be, and is definitely not showing signs of thinning on top.
Perhaps this simple theory helps to explain why more women are now in the frame for senior government positions. Angela Merkel rose to Chancellor in Germany. Of course the role model for all recent female political leaders was the appropriately-named Margaret Thatcher, who in 1979 formed one of the strongest transatlantic alliances, with Ronald Reagan. Reagan may have been criticized for some aspects, but he had great hair, and was re-elected for a second term. Bill Clinton may be remembered for other events, but his great hair has outlived all his critics.
OK, exceptions “prove the rule” – this is prove in the old English usage, as in test, for example in “proving” bread. Vladimir Putin is getting a little thin on top, and has been in charge in Russia. Just one problem though, in his case the opposition in the form of Garry Kasparov was prevented by the media and the system from running a campaign. Kasparov has a full head of hair, but to quote him – “there is no choice in Russia”.
So the sad conclusion is that we are so media-influenced and somehow see bald men as being unworthy to run our governments. What does that say about us as educated voters? I felt maybe after this humorous insight into the electoral process, perhaps it was time to break the mould in 2008. Such a change, at least for me, would restore my faith in the political process, but what happened, Obama beat the balding McCain into a distant second place. .
©Lars J.S. Knutsen