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Archive for Sunday, April 29, 2007

Common man’ doesn’t pay $400 for haircut

April 29, 2007

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I get my hair cut at this place called Tight-N-Up.

It has pretty much all the basic barbershop amenities. You've got your TV, you've got your back issues of Sports Illustrated and Jet, you've got your spirited debates about sports, politics and music. Best of all, you've got a price tag on the sunny side of reality: Give the barber a $20 and you'll get change.

I invite John Edwards to drop by sometime.

We learned last week that the Democratic presidential aspirant paid $400 each for two haircuts in California. He says he's embarrassed by the revelation and promises to reimburse his campaign.

The other day I asked my barber, Clinton Truesdale, what extras he might throw in to justify charging a customer four bills for a trim. "I'd go home and cook his family dinner," he said. "Ask him if there was anything else he needed me to do. $400 for a haircut?"

Yup. But then, Edwards' trim was by Torrenueva Hair Designs of Beverly Hills. And see, any time your barbershop is called "Hair Designs," get ready to pay out the wazoo. Add the words "of Beverly Hills" and it's time to raid the kids' college fund.

Can you say hoity-toity, boys and girls?

Granted, John Edwards is a wealthy man and he can pay whatever he wants for a trim. But those of us in the cheap seats are likewise entitled to think his pricey coif sends a message jarringly at odds with the populist theme of Edwards' campaign. After all, this is the guy who likes to style himself the "son of a millworker," standing up for the common man.

The common man, not to put too fine a point on it, doesn't pay $400 for a trim.

I'm reminded of a scene I once saw in a movie. I can't recall it verbatim, but it goes something like this: First guy says that today's woman is looking for authenticity in a man. Second guy says, "Authenticity? I can fake that."

There is a lot of fake authenticity out there these days. Perhaps you remember the headlines about post-Katrina e-mails from aides to former FEMA chief Michael Brown and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. As he was ostensibly managing one of the great disasters of American history, Brown's people were offering fashion advice designed to make him "look more hard-working." As citizens of her state were drowning and dying, one of Blanco's aides e-mailed another: "I have some great Liz Claiborne sports clothes that look kind of Eddie Bauer, but with class, but would bring Blanco down to the level of getting to work."

I will admit that I am too fashion-challenged to even know what that means. For that matter, I have no idea what distinguishes a $400 clip job from a $15 one.

But I do know a con when I see one. And in politics, I see them all the time. We are courted by blow-dried, focus-grouped, stage-managed, photo-opped, sloganeering, false-smiling, hand-clasping, back-slapping would-be leaders who say they feel our pain and understand our concerns and maybe sometimes they do, but all too often, it seems apparent they feel little and understand less. Superficiality gleams in their perfect teeth and scripted lines. They work hard to make style look just like substance.

I like to think real substance doesn't need the help, that authentic authenticity will always find a way to make itself known. But maybe such thinking is just a quaint relic of the days before media consultants, 24/7 news cycles and would-be leaders sold like dish detergent.

Still, $400 bucks? For a haircut.

If you see John Edwards, tell him I know where he can get a trim for a lot less. If he plays his cards right, he might even get dinner out of the deal.

-Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald.

Comments

Agnostick 6 years, 11 months ago

Leonard, I got you beat. A couple of years ago, we got one of these:

http://www.goodmans.net/item.asp?n=OS-76023-510&k=OS-76023-510&sc=NXTG

Now, every 7-10 days, I pull a dining room chair up in front of the TV program of my choice, and my lovely wife gives me a trim.

Of course, I don't have a lot to cut to begin with, so.... :D

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com http://www.uscentrist.org

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denak 6 years, 11 months ago

How dare Edwards pay $400 dollars for a haircut. He should have used that money to pay for an "escort" like the rest of his peers.

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i_tching 6 years, 11 months ago

I went to nursing school with a woman who worked as a waitress to pay her way through. She once served Bill Cosby and three of his guests. Dinner for four at a decent place went for just two digits back then.

Cosby tipped her a crisp $100 bill. She protested that kind of tip on an $85 tab, and he joked that perhaps "that was not enough?" with eyes twinkling.

I guess you all might say that Cosby also lived in that "other America" in which dwell the rich and famous. And you all might also sneer that "he doesn't really care" because you know deep down in your working-class and dime-per-column journalistic hearts that the rich don't give a good god damn about anybody but themselves.

That's why you vote for them election after election.

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Confrontation 6 years, 11 months ago

I love how people attack Edwards for this. Most politicians pay outrageous prices for a trim. They also pay extreme prices for cars, homes, clothing, and everything else. Don't blame Edwards. Blame all of them.

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paladin 6 years, 11 months ago

And the barber shoulda been run out a town.

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paladin 6 years, 11 months ago

Anybody pays that kinda money fer a haircut outa be horsewhipped.

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Pilgrim 6 years, 11 months ago

"Granted, John Edwards is a wealthy man and he can pay whatever he wants for a trim. But those of us in the cheap seats are likewise entitled to think his pricey coif sends a message jarringly at odds with the populist theme of Edwards' campaign. After all, this is the guy who likes to style himself the "son of a millworker," standing up for the common man.

"The common man, not to put too fine a point on it, doesn't pay $400 for a trim."


Edwards is right, Leonard. There are two America's. The one he lives in, and the other one for the rest of us. Ah, but that's okay, because Edwards "cares." If you don't think so, just ask him.

ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!

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