Monthly Archives: October 2013

About Hats…

Whilst recently watching Star Trek Into Darkness, I was somewhat disturbed to see that in this “reimagined” version the familiar old clothing had mutated into something more like Star Wars (or worse still like Starship Troopers).  Indeed, there was Spock in a hat! In a HAT!

This cognitive breakdown is very weird and massively confuses the genres where previously the identification was very simple, thus:

Star Wars

Star Trek

darth vader - iStock_000016847829XSmall (cropped)

⇒    Many hats

⇒     No hats


I suppose the issue is that I have a personal “thing” about hats – I just don’t get what they are for, what is their purpose, their raison d’être, their shtick, their meaning and significance

I observed this particular idiosyncrasy really early in life, when I would roll up my school cap and stuff it in my pocket, just couldn’t hack the headwear.

Indeed I can honestly say that I have NEVER put on a hat and said “Mmm, I look good in this”, no, no, no, just never, ever

If we were to draw a Venn diagram (based roughly on trusty old Aristotle’s three modes of rhetoric), then my world view is something like this:

Hat Venn

That’s me in the small yellow zone, looking out across from my ivory pillar to the array of vast human variety, like feathered, bicorn hats beloved of plenipotentiaries past and present, and so many more…hats

For the rest of the world, it breaks down roughly like this:

Rational – Practical, functional – protect the precious seat of mind, like this:

Rational Hats

Social – Demonstrate the user’s status and authority, thus:

Social Hats

Emotional – Provocative, decorative, “fun”, scary, viz:

Emotional Hats

For me – No hats, except for safety purposes…occasionally, rarely…

…and probably Spock too, I am sure he would dismiss them as “Illogical, Captain”

Of course there is greater complexity in the love of hats than this rather simplistic analysis (for other people anyway) – it is not black and white, or red-green-blue, or cyan-magenta-yellow or even taupe and teal – and one can draw up some Intersections of the Venn

  • Rational + Social => Hats to recognise advancement (in some rational sphere)?
  • Social + Emotional => Hats to signify membership of particular groups or hats of some spiritual significance?
  • Rational + Emotional => hats that provide some sort of user comfort?
  • Rational + Social + Emotional => often labelled the “sweet spot”, this intersection is likely very small.   Except in Mad Max, the fringed, feathered crash helmets?.

Of these intersections, perhaps one of the most interesting surprising, is the Rational + Emotional as these two domains are often considered to be at different ends of the spectrum, even mutually exclusive.   Although the like of Dan Ariely have shown that this juxtaposition can be very fruitful with his study of behavioural economics.

Maybe “placebo hats” might be a better name for this R+E grouping, since this psychosomatic effect is indeed a big  feature of behavioural economics.

Not just warm woolly head socks, but tinfoil confections and their ilk that give psychological comfort?

The other observation is that the peaked hat is now a conspicuous sign of global millinerial colonisation, as this is one of the most common military and police hats you see in news footage, even from the most exotic, far flung locations!

Projecting this particular observation into the future, with Darwinistic inevitability, everybody in Hatty Town will be wearing peaked hats (By Order, zu befehl), a triumph of militaristic millinery…

Moving on to apply these thoughts to the more detailed classification, we can derive this convenient framework to classify the universe of hats…


If you can explain hats to me, then do drop me a line…and to paraphrase Homer Simpson, I’d love to engage with you in a discourse on the relative merits, but I’m just not interested.

(By the way, if you do succumb to the temptation to look in a mirror wearing your new tapatooey (sic), and think “Mmm, I look really good in this”, then just remember me)

Proprietary hardware sales heading south…

For IBM, hardware news is bad news –

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