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November 18th, 2017

Insight

Haircuts and Hillary: The First Amendment gets a trim in America

Bob Tyrrell

By Bob Tyrrell

Published May 5, 2016

If I were to confess my prejudice for Greek barbers, what would be said of me? Well, it depends on where I said it. If were in Athens when I said that I prefer Greek barbers, my preference would be perfectly understandable. I might even become an instant celebrity. Times have been tough in Athens. If I expressed my preference for Greek barbers in Rome, I would be dismissed as an ignoramus and offered an Italian barber. If I were in Paris but most Parisians of my age do not have much hair left and are in little need of a barber. Many wear toupees. Even among middle-aged French women toupees are often favored, though I am told the cue ball look is gaining acceptance.

Yet back here in the United States, to confess my simple prejudice for Greek barbers is to run the risk of being denounced as a racist. No, it is true. Just ask Al Sharpton who, by the way, could use a good Greek haircut. His coiffure looks increasingly shaggy. There are many Greek barbers in Manhattan, and while he is at it, he might get a shampoo. If he would desist from calling me a racist, I might even give Al the name of a fine barber up on Lexington Avenue and might even ask Demitri to throw in a manicure for Al.

Yet I am afraid Al would not be able to resist calling me a bigot for admiring the Greek art. Why not an African-American barber, the progressive refrain will go. Why not an Italian or an Icelandic barber? Am I not denying other barbers the opportunity to cut my hair, shave my chin, and perhaps clip my mustachio? Well, let me admit. I have never gotten a good haircut from an African American. I have never come into contact with an Icelandic, and only occasionally have I received a haircut from an Italian. However, I will admit that Italians are better than most non-Greek barbers, but they are never as good as the real thing, Greeks.

Truth be known, I drive almost 50 miles round trip once a month to visit my Greek tonsorial wizard. I shall not reveal his name because he might suffer violence at the hands of his non-Greek competitors. He is that good. And he only charges $14 for a haircut. There are lady barbers in downtown Washington who charge a minimum of $50 a haircut and then they begin tantalizing their customers with manicures, shampoos, even a chaste massage.

Well, I simply do not care if I am called a bigot and a sexist by the "politically correct" policia. In America today we have been intimidated by the PC crowd to the point where the First Amendment is all but extinct. Just the other day we saw how political correctitude ensnared even Hillary Clinton. When asked by Jake Tapper of CNN about Donald Trump's claim that she is "corrupt" (actually all Mr. Trump did was allude to her lifelong record of scandal and controversy by calling her "Crooked Hillary," a coinage at once accurate and more lyrical), she employed characteristic sophistry while traducing the entire nation of Native Americans.


She yawped, "I have a lot of experience with men who sometimes get off the reservation in the way they behave and how they act." What was she talking about? Was she referring to Bill's years of adulterous affairs, forcing himself on innocent women, and many documented cases of fondling them and in one case raping one? What did she mean by saying she had "a lot of experience with men who sometimes get off the reservation"? Was she referring to her "experience" covering up for her husband's transgressions and often enabling him? Was she referring to her role in slandering Monica Lewinsky? This is her record and Bill's, not Donald Trump's.

Finally, what did she mean by referring to men getting "off the reservation"? Was she disparaging the lives of Native Americans? On their reservations they might live impecunious lives, perhaps even marginal lives, but Hillary ought not to demean an entire nation.

So I will admit to my bigoted preference in barbers. Hillary and Bill ought to admit to their record with women. No other presidential couple has accumulated such a record, and I can think of few other first ladies who would speak so politically incorrectly about Native Americans. And while I am on the subject of public speaking, I listened to the White House Correspondents Dinner the other night. Nothing the Republicans have said through their long campaign in terms of bigotry and vulgarity can compare with what was said in one evening by the president and his comedic genius, Larry Wilmore.

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R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator, a political and cultural monthly, which has been published since 1967. He's also the author of several books.

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