It is one of the paradoxes of popular culture that the man who serves as an arbiter of taste and a master of style sports a haircut that shows no trace of either one.
To use his voice again, Simon Cowell has the weirdest haircut I have ever seen. (This photo does not show the latest do, which still parts in the middle and has these general proportions, but packs down more tightly on all sides.)
There a couple of voices raised in protest on the internet. One asks Simon, "where [do] you come from, Crappy Haircutstan? … Do you have gardener whack your head after he finishes the hedges?" It reminds a writer for Scotsman.com of a "loo brush." These seem unduly cruel but then Simon is perhaps merely getting what he gives…and it is a truly terrible haircut.
Simon’s haircut is actually so bad it made one American Idol contestant snap. After a regrettable performance, a hairdresser named Eric Chapman rushed the podium with gel in hand, shouting that he wanted to "fix Simon’s hair." This brought out the security guards who rushed to protect the noble do.
Symbolically, it’s hard to figure. Forbes has Cowell at 29 on its "Power list" of celebrities. It tells us Cowell is paid $43 million a year. But there is no evidence of gentrification. Cowell remains loyal to the skin tight black t-shorts and other fashion signatures that would not be out of place on a bouncer at a Karaoke bar. (Oh, right.) But the haircut this season is pure hockey hooligan, as if Simon were some kind of cultural enforcer. (Oh, right.)
Symbolically, what do we say about this haircut? Is it a measure of his arrogance? Is it an act of aggression? Is an act of self defense? Is this haircut Simon’s way of giving American Idol viewers the finger? Is he taunting us?
My guess is that the truth is simpler. Simon doesn’t care what we think. He is exactly like the contestant he hates the most: that fella without a lick of talent who is prepared to make a spectacle of himself in front of the entire nation. If Simon, by some quirk in the space time continuum, should show up as a contestant on the show this year, well, let us pity him the withering reception he is going to get from that terrible Simon Cowell.
Anonymous. 2007. American Idol Freaks and Geeks Audition. Reality TV Updates. January 20, 2007. here.
Anonymous. n.d., Simon Cowell. Forbes Top 100 Celebrity List. here.
The "haircutstan" remark comes from a comment left on the Huggingtonpost.com posting of an article called "Simon Cowell Tells Kelly Clarkson Not to Forget Where She Came From" by David K. Li and originally published in the New York Post on January 18, 2007, but now removed.
Thanks to Angry Simon for the photo here.