A relative sent me this “joke” today, and it brought out some thoughts.
A teenage boy had just passed his driving test and inquired of his father as to when they could discuss his use of the car.
His father said he’d make a deal with his son: ‘You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible (Say what? DH), and get your hair cut. Then we’ll talk about the car.’ (Notice, no commitment from the father here. He’ll just be open to more begging and pleading. DH)
The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he’d settle for the offer, and they agreed on it.
After about six weeks his father said, ‘Son, you’ve brought your grades up and I’ve observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I’m disappointed you haven’t had your hair cut.
The boy said, ‘You know, Dad, I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair ~ and there’s even strong evidence that Jesus had long hair.
You’re going to love the Dad’s reply: (Don’t count on it. DH)
(Sure, make me scoll down to get your predictable punch line. D.H.)
Did you also notice that they all walked everywhere?” (Because cars hadn’t been invented yet, shithead. DH)
Grrr. I left home at seventeen because my dad got all bent out of shape about my hair. That makes me sad. Such a stupid reason to leave home, but at the time I felt I was forced into it. I wasn’t going to have anybody telling me that his values trumped my own, and allowing him to use money and power to enforce his neurotic authority just made me feel like a prostitute.
If I tried to think of a stupid reason to cause tension and conflict in a family, I’d have to think for a long time before I could come up with something stupider than trying to get your kid to fit your idea of what he or she should wear as a hair style. If that effort could be effective, we’d all be wearing high starched collars and women would still not be allowed to wear trousers.
We’ve come a long way since the fifties.
My father fired a sales rep back then because he wore a neatly trimmed goatee. “Don’t send any bearded weirdo around to sell me life insurance.”
I have personally been refused service in a restaurant because my hair and beard didn’t fit the owners idea of proper style. Thank the FSM we seem to have left those repressive days behind us.
Peeling the onion down another layer, I can’t think of a better way to turn a kid into an atheist than to force him to read the bible, so full of genocide, rape, incest, adultery, and slavery, most of it either ordered by the Christian god or done in his name. Should we approve of this father because he makes his son read the bible? Why couldn’t he get his kid to read something of actual value, like Scientific American or Nature or maybe Mad Magazine?
We have “battle of the sexes” humour, reactionary versus counter culture humour, generation gap humour. This is a great example of how we reveal ourselves in what we find funny. What this reveals to me is a culture that has severely misplaced priorities, valuing appearance over substance, style over values.
I guess this “joke” comes from a culture that I rejected many years ago, and a mind set that I don’t have a lot of use for. I’m sure I sound bitter and angry in this response to it. I’m not, really. I am bemused. I feel like an anthropologist looking at a strange primitive tribe, and trying to understand how their thinking could be so fucked up.