The appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary has brought howls of anguish from all quarters. e.g. Huffpo:
Theresa May’s New Cabinet: Boris Johnson Ridiculed After ‘Joke’ Appointment As Foreign Secretary.
It reminded me that the same thing happened last year when Donald Trump announced he was running for the presidency, and was greeted with scorn and outrage and derision. That was a joke too.
What is it about such people that brings such impassioned responses to them?
Perhaps the simple answer is that they both look a bit comical. And a lot of people can’t imagine – or don’t want to imagine – a clown like Boris as Home Secretary, or a clown like Trump as US President.
But what in particular is so clownish and comical about them? I think it really just boils down to hairstyle and hair colour. Nothing else is remarkable about them. Both are unusual in that they have blond/red hair. And both have unusual hairstyles. Boris has a blond mop of unruly hair. And Donald has a carefully coiffured orange quiff.
And the response to both of them is laughter. They’re both figures of fun. And, to many people, simply not credible politicians.
And if they’d looked just like most politicians, they wouldn’t seem at all clownish or comical . On the right there’s Trump minus his trademark quiff. Looks quite ordinary, doesn’t he? Maybe even a tad Churchillian. Certainly not comical.
I haven’t tried to rid Boris of his blond mop, but if I could, he’d look just like any other politician.
And both of them could have dyed and cut and combed their hair so they would look like normal, responsible politicians.
So clearly neither of them wanted to look normal. They wanted to stand out from the crowd. And they’ve both succeeded spectacularly. They’re both political stars in their own countries, loved by their fans, and loathed by all the people who still just see them as a pair of clowns.
Their unusual hairstyles and hair colour have worked for them just like long hair worked for the Beatles. People didn’t know what to make of them at first, and thought they were a bunch of comedians. But that soon wore off. And the same will happen (and perhaps already has happened) with both Boris and Donald: after a while nobody will notice their hair, and they’ll cease to look like clowns.
In her own way, our new Prime Minister Theresa May has pulled the same trick. Except she did it with shoes rather than hairstyle 10 or 15 years ago. She was pretty much indistinguishable from any other woman politician until she appeared at some Conservative party conference wearing a pair of leopardskin “kitten heel” shoes. It was rather daring, and it made her stand out from the crowd. That was the first time I noticed her, and thought she might go places one day.
Now that she’s Prime Minister, I think we’re going to see some fairly adventurous hairstyles and clothes and shoes from her. I think she’s going to stand out on the world stage. I think people will be asking, “Whatever is she going to wear next??”