Monday, 7 May 2012

Hat death

NPR looks at whether President Kennedy is guilty of killing the hat and concludes that the culprit is more prosaic: Motor Cars.

This has always been my theory.  Modern cars from the '50s onward have tended toward lower tops until wearing a hat while driving becomes quite impractical.  I rediscovered this a couple of months ago when I was driving in a crowded car.  Since it was raining, I wore my customary Australian rancher hat, but with the cab filled I had no way to remove it–and no way to turn my head because of the brim.  The neck ache lasted two days.

Not that this is a simple explanation.  I also believe that the second factor was the complete collapse of taste in the Western world as civilisation began to slide toward the abyss.


eon said...

Another factor militating against the hat in an automobile is that by necessity, it has to be tilted at least somewhat toward the back of the head.

This completely eliminates peripheral vision due to the brim, a problem which does not exist when on horseback.

I speak as someone who also wore an Australian drover's hat, when riding. In a car, it was more likely to be a baseball cap for the above-stated reason.



Cambias said...

The hat has actually made a comeback, just in a different form: the ball cap. It avoids all the problems mentioned with driving, etc., but still accomplishes the two primary functions of a hat: keeping the head warm and dry, and shading the eyes.