The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘hats’

Pity the Fool

May 16, 2016 | by

From Paris à travers les siècles, 1879.

Good madonna, give me leave to prove you a fool. —William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

I feel sorry for people who don’t suffer fools. They’re missing out on so much! The quotidian, absurd human comedy; several of Shakespeare’s finest characters; TV. 

I can speak with total authority on this point, because I am a fool. I am also descended from a long line of fools. I don’t mean we’re given to gnomic utterances on the futility of existence: we’re just idiots who don’t know how to do practical stuff. We’re also very prone to prancing around and singing. True, some of us are also asses, a couple are gullible, and a few are jerks—and there are occasional exceptions that prove the rule, like my brother, for instance. But I think fool is our genus. Read More »

Mad Hatter

January 15, 2015 | by


From “Wacky Hats from Gay Paree,” a fifties-era magazine feature.

In the first half of the twentieth century, America experienced what might be called the “silly-hats craze.” Maybe it was the influence of the surrealists, who were by then commercialized and nonthreatening. Perhaps it was a spate of postwar frivolity. Or maybe it was just a safe way to act out—still conventional (no one was suggesting you actually go hatless!), but fun, wacky, and full of safely contained “personality plus.” 

In this lineup of “Wacky Hats from Gay Paree” you can see the form at its most extreme. A search reveals atomic hats, hats made of lightbulbs, hats that look like flowerpots. Nothing was off-limits, and glossies delighted in featuring examples of millinery whimsy. Read More »

Kid Gloves

February 4, 2013 | by

work-gloves1I lost my gloves at a crowded bar over the weekend. Frankly, I’m surprised my hat survived. I usually squash everything together in my jacket’s shell pouch, a crumpled ball of wool, fleece and wax, sprinkled with loose tobacco. These were not particularly warm gloves, though they were usually better than nothing.

I’ve always wanted “kid gloves,” even before I knew what they were. I must have seen an especially exquisite pair in some heavy catalogue. For whatever reason, they have always signified unimaginable luxury. I also spent a lot of energy coveting “driving slippers” and a “barn coat.” This probably had something to do with a few different schools I attended that had large packs of equestrian-minded girls and other well-appointed types. Everyone had very expensive hobbies and clothes for every occasion.

In my writing workshops I noticed that our professors fell all over themselves if you wrote stories about blue-collar work. They loved obscure types of screws and knots. They loved tools. I’m sure they enjoyed the juxtaposition between the language and the noble drudgery it described, and they may have felt a certain kinship with other forgotten craftsmen, and many of them had risen to prominence during the golden age of Carver’s hardscrabble realism, and I’m sure these stories were something of a relief from the more bellybutton-based submissions (epiphanies abroad, window-box-gardening failures, roadtrip-tested romances) received each week, but there was also a hint of that WASPy remove, the aggravating way rich people often find peace in the exclusionary pleasures of nautical terminology or expensive farming equipment. Read More »


Dr. Seuss’s Hats, and Other News

February 4, 2013 | by


  • “In Plath’s case, her writing began, soon after her death, to be relegated to a supporting role in a seductive, but intensely misleading, narrative of victimhood.” How to give the poet her due
  • Are these the fifty key moments in English literature? Discuss. 
  • The strange mystery of who firebombed London’s oldest anarchist bookshop, Freedom Books. 
  • “Believe me, when you get a dozen people seated at a fairly formal dinner party, and they’ve all got on perfectly ridiculous chapeaus, the evening takes care of itself.” A display of Dr. Seuss’s hats is going up at the New York Public Library. 
  • Related: Jon Stewart gets Seussical.