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The Art School Haircut
A mix of scraggly and shaven, the art school haircut is the signature look on “creative” campuses everywhere. Though these heads of hair are badly dyed, awkwardly textured, and strangely tapered, they are beautiful. Not actually, of course, but what they represent is beautiful: idealism. Somewhere today, a few young artists or writers or filmmakers are doing wacky things to their bangs or sideburns or scalps to take their first step on the road to revolution.
It is a snow day and, therefore, in the minds of many suffering from cabin fever, a good day to drink and take out a pair of craft scissors and see what happens. Because that’s how the road to revolution usually starts on campus: not quite soberly eyeing one’s reflection in the mirror and declaring it time for change.
One may ask why the art school haircut is necessary. Can’t people fight for revolution without ironic mullets? Sure. You can protest and volunteer and write letters to your local politician in a $100 salon cut and J. Crew outfit bought new at the mall a ten-minute SUV drive from your subdivision. But you probably won’t.
The art school haircut is part of a uniform. Like any uniform, it has its advantages and disadvantage. Call the art school haircut ugly if you wish. Call out the posers. Yet the art school haircut is also an immediately recognizable symbol of shared beliefs. To quote political columnist Mark Shields, “There is always strength in numbers. The more individuals or organizations that you can rally to your cause, the better.” Spot the art school haircut and you know you have an ally.
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