The People’s (mandatory) hairstyle

I don’t get my hair cut as often as I should.

The woman who cuts my hair, Nicole, usually makes a point of this whenever I actually remember to get my hair cut.

Her unhappy sighs are heard first when I walk through the door, then again as she starts to actually cut my hair.

Yes, I have thick hair. Yes, it grows quickly enough that I should get it cut about every three weeks. No, I’m not going to do that because I’ve got a lot of yelling at D-list celebrities on Twitter to do (I’m coming for you Kevin Brauch!) so I can’t always get my hair cut in due time.

I use a simple system: As soon as my hair prevents me from properly wearing a baseball cap I get my hair cut. Until then, no deal.

But it is my choice as a red-blooded American to remain shaggy until someone assumes I’m homeless; after all this is the land of the free and the home of the unshorn!

And while we take this folical freedom for granted elsewhere on our blue marble in the sky (yes, I’ve been watching the remake of “Cosmos,” yes, I think it’s too preachy) the barbers of brutality are sharpening their shears, all for a exercise in vanity by one of the last truly mad men left on this earth.

Kim Jong-un, man-child ruler of North Korea and personal besties with Dennis Rodman, has decreed that all piliferous peoples under his rule (the men anyway) are to have their hair cut to match his unique style.

Kim Jong-un’s hair style, best described as a high-top fade caught in a downpour, will now take its rightful place as part of the national uniform for North Korean men, alongside such traditional garb as “camouflage pants” and “despair.”

How can we, as Americans, let this sort of thing happen? If there is to be any justice in the Pax Americana then how can we not save the people of North Korea from looking like a nation comprised solely of Kid ‘N Play fans?

We’ve got some breaking news on this subject. According to my close, personal friends at the Washington Post (Jeff Bezos and I have matching tattoos) South Korean academics and other regional sources have come out against the story, saying that the decree is something else entirely: A fad.

This turn of events may actually make the story even more depressing. Instead of being forced by military police to adhere to the shear, regular citizens are donning this do out of … what, pride? Respect? Fandom?

Is this what’s happening in North Korea? Everyday citizens, people with no rights against government intrusion and violence in their lives, are starting to emulate their lead oppressor, up to and including his signature look? Is this the greatest case of Stockholm Syndrome ever recorded?

Now, there is a history of emulating the look of leaders. Here in the United States we had Lincoln inspiring generations of men to grow beards as a way of avoiding daily shaving and James Madison taking the bold stance of wearing actual pants instead of “knee breeches” due to the latter sounding profoundly silly.

So, perhaps even in one of the most dictatorial societies on Earth, you could imagine that the citizens are still influenced not only directly by the state but also indirectly, and in a way common to people in all countries.

Here we go again. According to the good people across the pond at the BBC News (that show that comes on after “Top Gear”) the hairstyle mandate is real, it is starting in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, and will soon be implemented nation-wide.

BBC News is dismissing earlier reports that dismissed the even earlier reports and stating, unequivocably, that within a few months time everybody’s hair in North Korea is going to look totally stupid.

Alright, we hear a rumor about something strange happening in an isolated part of the world and countless international research organizations and journalists cannot come to an agreement about what, if anything, is happening?

And where is the NSA on this? People would be a lot more receptive to their “We spy on everybody, all the time” agenda if they could just pop out of the woodwork and provide some answers to questions like these.

I don’t think I’m speaking too broadly when I say no one has any idea, ever, what they are doing.

So maybe, or maybe not, people in North Korea are being forced to get a haircut matching their deranged despot of a leader; chalk up another win for 21st century journalism!

At least we’re lucky nothing else important is happening in the world right now.

Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or