|[a] Happy RF|
Marine Biologist The Doorman Opposite George Newman's Mail The Bootleg Marriage
Just Dessert Sleep Desk Late Coffee High Stakes Motor Oil Downtown
Code Cracking Nonfat Yogurt Bad Boy It's Not You I Can't Be... Exploding Wallet
Elaine Flies Coach The Close Talker The Alliance Broccoli Coated Culture Dinner Party
George's Friend Jerry's Haircut Face Paint Mustachioed Smoking East River
Pool Man Dunkin' Joe Life Lessons Reckoning Dog Medicine Shower Heads
Looking Busy George Tips Kramer's Job Empty Tank
Click here for the reference to the "Argonauts" title, below.
|[b] Rooster Boy RF|
On the more mundane level we have things that still make a big difference in the quality of our own day-by-day existence. Ever had a "bad hair day?" Of course you have. What about a great hair day? Some of us have fewer of these than others.
Jerry, on the other hand, couldn't have it much worse in the haircut department. Take a look.
|[c] Barb RF|
And what is it about childhood and that first haircut that rivets parents, grandparents, and siblings? It is often worse than the first day of school for the lonely toddler sitting gamely in the cushioned chair. That it is a social occasion—a kind of kin-group gathering and gawking on the day of an initiatory ritual—makes it worse for the one to be clipped.
Our first reading deals with rituals of initiation. Arnold Van Gennep's early twentieth-century work has cast a long shadow over anthropological discussions of ritual. Philip Kuhn's story about the "soulstealing" incident of 1768 in southern China has everything to do hair. Finally, the anthropologist Raymond Firth leaves us with some hairy thoughts on mammalian culture.
|[d] Rites RF|
Rites involving hair have been the subject of [several works]. In reality, what is called "the sacrifice of the hair" includes two distinct operations: cutting the hair, and dedicating, consecrating, or sacrificing it. To cut the hair is to separate oneself from the previous world; to dedicate the hair is to bind oneself to the sacred world and more particularly to a deity or a spirit with whom kinship is in this way established. But such a dedication is only one of the ways of handling hair which has been cut off. In the shorn hair, as in the foreskin and in nail parings, there resides a portion of the personality, but very often such a concept is absent and nothing at all is done with these scraps. Where the concept is present, the hair may be buried, burned, saved in a sachet, or placed in a relative's keeping. The rite of cutting the hair or of a tonsure is also used in many different situations: a child's head is shaved to indicate that he is entering in to another stage, that of life; a girl's head is shaved at the moment of marriage to indicate a change from one age group to another; widows cut their hair to break the bond created by marriage, and the rite is reinforced by placing the hair on the tomb; sometimes the same purpose is achieved by cutting the hair of the deceased.
|[e] Steal RF|
Tales of the China Clipper (1990)
Lurking in the background, unmentioned by anyone connected with the monk's case, was the political meaning of hair: the queue, worn behind a shaved forehead, was the headdress of China's Manchu rulers. It was also universally prescribed, on pain of death, to be worn by Han Chinese males as a symbol of allegiance to the ruling dynasty.
Patrolling outside the city's west gate, constable Ts'ai heard street talk that two monks from "far away" with strange accents were lodging in the God-of-War Temple. As Ts'ai later reported to the magistrate, he then entered the temple and began to question Ch'ao-fan and Cheng-i. Getting no satisfaction, he began to search their baggage. From Ch'ao-fan's he pulled clothing, a bronze begging bowl, clerical robes, and two certificates of ordination. In Chü-ch'eng's, which he had to break open with a stone, he found three pairs of scissors, a pigskin rain-cape, an awl, and a cord for binding a queue.
An excited crowd gathered. "What's a monk doing with this kind of stuff?" These fellows must be up to no good. There were cries of "beat them up" and "burn them!" Constable Ts'ai, as he continued in his report, summoned his courage and told the mob to keep out of this...[They eventually were arrested and brought before the magistrate]. In the great hall, Chü-ch'eng and his companions, chained hand and foot before the country magistrate, who sat at his high desk flanked by his judicial secretaries." The questioning began: "How many queues have you clipped?"
|[f] Symbols RF|
A person's hair is a biological accessory, a very personal, private thing, growing and changing with his bodily condition, and capable of only very limited voluntary regulation by him. Hair is a horny product of the epithelial or skin tissue, and is a character peculiar to mammals. Man is remarkable for the general scantiness of his hair, except on the scalp, where though inferior in hairiness to gibbon and gorilla, he has bout twice as many hairs per sq. cm (312) as the orangutan and nearly three times as many as the chimpanzee. Among mammals man is unique not for his general lack of hair—whale, elephant and hippopotamus are more naked, area for area—but for his complete absence of tactile hairs, such as a cat's whiskers, which are organs of great delicacy...
It is striking to note how out of this sluggish, physiologically almost functionless appurtenance of his body, man has imaginatively created a feature of such socially differentiating and symbolic power. But in contrast to other bodily appurtenances hair has a number of qualities which recommend it as an instrument for social action. Though personal in origin, it is multiple, any single hair of a person tending to be like any other. It is detachable, renewable, manipulable in many contexts, so to some degree can be treated as an independent object. Yet there is some variation in texture and colour, so it offers scope for social differentiation. And it is associative, tending to call up important social ideas, especially concerning sex.
 Philip Kuhn, Soulstealers: The Chinese Sorcery Scare of 1768 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990), 12-15.
 Raymond Firth, Symbols: Public and Private (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 1973),262-263.
Firth, Raymond. Symbols: Public and Private. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 1973.
Kuhn, Philip. Soulstealers: The Chinese Sorcery Scare of 1768. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990.
Van Gennep, Arnold. The Rites of Passage Translated by Monica B. Vizedom and Gabrielle L. Caffee. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960.