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quality posts: 17 Private Messages WootBot


Every schoolchild learns how John Quincy Adams used to deliver the State of Union address wearing only an oversized diaper and a velvet sash reading “BABY NEW YEAR 1823.” My fellow Americans, that’s just not true! And neither are the other four presidential misconceptions author and Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings will impeach this month.

Presidential Myth #3: John F. Kennedy Killed the Hat by Going Bare-Headed on Inauguration Day.

During the first season of the TV series Mad Men, the series’ fedora-wearing (and Nixon-voting) ad execs prophetically ponder the specter of a Kennedy presidency. “He’s inexperienced,” says Roger Sterling. “He doesn’t even wear a hat,” replies Bert Cooper.

In the most popular version of this myth, Kennedy decides to break with decades of tradition and goes hatless to his own inauguration. Hat sales crater and never recover. But look at a few photos of Inauguration Day 1960: Kennedy has not just a hat but a traditional silk top hat on, making him look like a younger, sexier, more Catholic version of the Monopoly guy! He wore the topper to the Capitol, to the parade, and to the balls that night. (He took it off for his swearing-in and inaugural speech, but that’s traditional.) In fact, JFK was a traditionalist in this area: Eisenhower had worn a homburg instead of a top hat to his two inaugurations. Kennedy was bringing hat-sexy back! Nixon was the last president to wear a top hat on Inauguration Day, and we know how that turned out. Jimmy Carter ended the tradition for good in 1976.

It’s true what Roger Sterling and Bert Cooper point out: Kennedy wore a hat on the campaign trail and in office much less often than his predecessors had. But that’s more a symptom than a cause of what was going on in American fashion at the time: the rise of youth culture and less formality in all areas of life. The decline of the hat was a gradual fifteen-year process, not an Inauguration Day death stroke. As Pete Campbell points out to his Eisenhower-era bosses on Mad Men: “I don’t know. You know who else doesn’t wear a hat? Elvis. That’s what we’re dealing with.”

“Remind me to stop hiring young people,” grumbles Bert Cooper.

Quick Quiz: Undershirt sales are often said to have collapsed in 1934 after what actor went bare-chested in It Happened One Night?

Ken Jennings is the author of Brainiac, Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at or on Twitter as @KenJennings.


quality posts: 0 Private Messages bakerb316

It was that drive through Dallas in '63 that made Thanksgiving uncool.

Since 2008 w00t has taken me for $1307.93


quality posts: 15 Private Messages Phil254

Clark Gable? Claudette Colbert might have sparked a different response.


quality posts: 1 Private Messages Bartleby84

This blog piece offers a different explanation as well, it was the rise of the automobile that killed the hat.


quality posts: 2 Private Messages goblynn

Clark Gable.

Meanwhile, I love men in hats. *sigh*


quality posts: 11 Private Messages Prey

Men lost their hats when women realized that to compete in the workplace men Must lose the hats, it gave them a presence women had to break, for they could never look like the men, always an outsider.
Since then men are often ridiculed for wearing a hat to work, giggles from women and men who have forgotten the power which hats provided the working man.

Now we go to work, face dozens of women who think they are your mother, a disgruntled mate or worse... a child they must scold... and women claim a war on them?!

Where did the jobs go? Women. Where did the ability to agree in gov't go? Women. Why are children failing in life? Women.
You went to work, you compete with men, you forget your children, your need to make more, showing you are the equal is More important than raising a family or seeing to the kids needs... the school teacher can raise your kid, the police can discipline them, and the jails can provide them housing, you are free to show the world you are truly the modern women.

I hear the cries... but to make enough to raise a family I have to work!
Bullocks, had women not assaulted the positions men held, had they not Doubled the workforce almost overnight, your men would be making plenty of money, they would be swimming in work and you would be doing fine... but your ego, your need to show that weak man you are his equal has brought our society to the brink of destruction.

All you need to do is see how women drive in traffic, every other driver is treated like a hated ex-boyfriend, life, limb be damned, you are Not passing this women or getting in the spot in front of her, oh no... she will run you off the road first, because she has no clue how to work together, no regard for anything but being right and being in control.

We used to wonder at Russian women who were treated like men when our troops met during WW2. Woman thought how cool it was, but let me remind you, USSR went bankrupt, it spent every penny the great Russian empire collected for 100's of years, all spent in 50 years, the richest country on the planet went broke!
Now the USA is heading to bankruptcy, about 50 years after women started competing for jobs and positions... but no one will notice the similarities, women will scoff at the comparison, but there is no getting away from the decline of the greatest power on the planet matching up with the greatest social change on the planet.

Let the hateful replies begin.


quality posts: 40 Private Messages vipermjb
Prey wrote:Let the hateful replies begin.

Bad breakup?