I’ve long had a reaction to the claims by your typical racist chap that harps on about how black people look like apes.
The problem is that some black people do look like monkeys and apes, but this is in the same sense as the fact that there are people from all races who look like the FA Cup owing to a prominence of ear in the East and West of their head.
And in another similar sense, you then have those white people that look like chimpanzees; like my Northern Irish American-Film Lecturer: Ken Somethingsomething.
All in all, people look like things; it’s a human tradition.
Some look like dolphins, some look like insects; ultimately the fact that you look like our closest relatives throughout the Animal Kingdom (fellow humans aside) is probably a good thing.
This is just a thought I’ve had throughout the years, since meeting Ken.
And it’s not as though Ken wasn’t a handsome chap.
He had a desk-bound ruggedness, a man filled with poetical passion that let itself loose as he lectured the sweet-protestant-Jesus out of me and gave some rather fabulous ticks as he marked.
He was a ultimately an attractive man, if attractive men are you’re thing, and it was just the sheer shape of his face and the recession of his hair into full-blown male pattern baldness that made him appear more monkey-like than your average American-Film lecturer.
Also, for the record, male pattern baldness (MPB) is not a cause for unattractiveness.
Since we’re talking about it, yes, I do have an example.
Hunter S Thompson.
Thompson is an icon, a man who has transcended the mortal world and become a literal folk-legend; one of those historic men of whom there are countless anecdotes of his presence at scenes and his actions that caused scenes.
His works inspired generations, with 40 crucial years of extraordinary output that forged a new genre of literary journalism, and this is his writing alone. His attitude, the demeanour with which he strode the Earth is legendary.
He is amongst those men, such as his hero Hemingway, who made writing one of those very masculine occupations – not a world in which women were not equally capable – but one in which miners and welders and other such grizzled and anti-intellectual stereotypes wouldn’t be able to call them pussies.
Because Hunter S Thompson was not a pussy.
His into-the-fray technique of gonzo journalism evokes those terms that just feel masculine in this context. Much like my favourite Monty Python sketch in which good ‘woody’ words are discussed (not ‘tinny’ – “sorry old horse”).
Novelist (bit tinny…).
And Hunter changed the world from behind a type-writer and a cattle-prod, dousing the reader in the glory of the righteous crime of ‘not-giving-a-fuck-with-intent’ and wearing long white socks and with male pattern baldness.
And the male pattern baldness is only relevant here by its irrelevance.
Thompson changed the world, and my life, with utter and total freedom and male pattern baldness, and all whilst looking slightly like an aging chimpanzee.
And what I also adore is the fact that he took the helm of his head; echoing the essence of him being Master of his Fate and the Captain of his Soul by shaving his scalp and changing the world.
But still, I catch my Dad eyeing me fondly from the eyebrows-up, missing my hair that was his.
But to his fortune, he doesn’t look like a monkey. Or an ape.
They’re different, you know.