Lori Lightfoot gets a haircut

Up to now we’ve had a tough governor (J. B. Pritzker) and a tough mayor (Lori Lightfoot) at the helm, and they’re not about to tolerate any violations of the quarantine restrictions. (They’re Democrats and I voted for both of them.)  Pritzker just extended our lockdown to the end of May, and Lightfoot has even closed the lakefront path, a move I thought unnecessary. Lightfoot is almost scary in her intensity, which has given rise to a number of memes about her no-nonsense attitude towards lockdown. Here are two:

So people were naturally ticked off when the Chicago Tribune reported several weeks ago that Lightfoot got a haircut at home (click on screenshot below). The foul deed was revealed when Lightfoot’s hair stylist put up a picture of the haircut on social media. (I’m sure that stylist is toast.)

Now this is not a good move for several reasons. First of all, it’s illegal: as I understand it, if you’re a licensed hair stylist in Illinois, you are not allowed to go to people’s homes to cut their hair.

Second, if Lightfoot thought this was okay because her stylist “wore a mask and gloves”, then why did she close all the hair salons and barber shops in Chicago? Why couldn’t she leave them open, but dictate that stylists and customers wear masks and gloves? She is making herself an exception to her own rule.

Finally, it’s what they call “bad optics” for a leader to keep herself shorn when the rest of us are getting shaggy. Frankly, I’d like to see our leaders behaving the way they want us to: wearing masks (the ponderous Pritzker usually doesn’t, even when giving a press conference), and becoming shaggy over time. Leaders lead by example.

What’s worse is that Lightfoot defended herself by explicitly claiming that, as Mayor, she was an animal who was more equal than the rest of us animals; and she tried to evade further questions. As the Trib notes:

Mayor Lori Lightfoot defended getting a haircut over the weekend even though barbers and stylists were shut down under the state’s stay-at-home order, saying she’s the face of the city and the woman who cut her hair wore a mask.

Asked about photos on social media showing her with a stylist, Lightfoot acknowledged getting a haircut, then said the public cares more about other issues.

“I think what really people want to talk about is, we’re talking about people dying here. We’re talking about significant health disparities. I think that’s what people care most about,” Lightfoot said.

In response to a follow-up question, she said, “The woman who cut my hair had a mask and gloves on so we are, I am practicing what I’m preaching.”

No she’s not: she closed salons even though they could have been opened with the same restrictions she practiced. And then Lightfoot stepped further into it.

A reporter asked the mayor about one of her “stay home, save lives” public service announcements where Lightfoot admonishes an off-screen person by saying, “Getting your roots done is not essential.” Asked about that, a visibly annoyed Lightfoot said, “I’m the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye.  “I’m a person who, I take my personal hygiene very seriously. As I said, I felt like I needed to have a haircut,” Lightfoot said. “I’m not able to do that myself, so I got a haircut. You want to talk more about that?”

What? The rest of us don’t take their personal hygiene very seriously? Give me a break; most of us feel that we need to have a haircut, but we can’t get one.

In times when many of us are peevish and captious, this really bothered me. At least Governor Pritzker isn’t getting haircuts, saying that at some point he’ll turn into a hippie.

 

26 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I’d be annoyed, too.

  2. Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    “Frankly, I’d like to see our leaders behaving the way they want us to”

    Agree. I would include the police in this too. They should follow all the laws us regular folk do, except when chasing bad guys of course. It’s a pet peeve of mine that they don’t. It sends completely the wrong message.

  3. Historian
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Yes, there is hypocrisy here. But, Lightfoot is not the only one to blame. It seems that many TV personalities and politicians have gotten haircuts while we are sitting at home with hair growing as long as it was 50 years ago, but without so much on the top.

    • Posted May 4, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      I noticed that my governor, Jay Inslee, had nicely shorn locks when he told us that he is locking us down for yet another month.

  4. Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Double standard, plain as day. Now breaking a rule to get a haircut is a small stumble in the big scheme of things, but yes the optics are bad here. And she should have just admitted it rather than doubled down. Now folks will feel like they too are entitled to break the rules.

    I trimmed my own beard the other day, since I needed to present myself online to my summer class. Even wore a ‘work shirt’ for the camera. Felt very odd.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I would say Lightfoot kind of STEPPED in it.

  6. max blancke
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    My wife has been doing “virtual examinations” from home on days when she is not needed in the office, so she has to go through the whole female business professional thing, and even wear a nametag when she is doing it. I set up a few lights, and a unremarkable background in what is actually our living room.

  7. Jon Gallant
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Another “Progressive” hero, Bill DeBlasio of New York, has for years demonstrated that the rules he preaches for others do not apply to elevated beings like himself. For example, this enemy of carbon emissions was routinely chauffered from Manhattan to his favorite gym in Brooklyn to exercise every day; and he has long played games to circumvent campaign finance rules, like any reactionary pol.

    It is nominal conservatives who most often quote the old question “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”. But this does not invalidate its pertinence, although it may explain why big-talking “Progressives” are often so blithely unaware of it.

  8. Posted May 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Ecclesiastes 1:1 “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

    Thus saith the atheist Bruce, smiling vainly.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Lord knows, I could do with a haircut myself.

    Seems so long since the last time I got my ears lowered that, what with the Fed cutting interest rates to the bone and the economy in the crapper, I’m wondering whether we might not get back to the days when it was “a shave and a haircut, two bits.”

    A pipe dream, I know, given the supply-and-demand thing. Then again, I bet John Locke and Adam Smith never had to worry about getting gouged by a downtown, chi-chi “stylist.”

  10. Posted May 4, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    There’s always clippers at home…and a razor if it gets to be too much. Otherwise, tough it out. Public servants should be held to HIGHER standards than those they represent, not lower.

    • Posted May 5, 2020 at 3:09 am | Permalink

      I honestly don’t understand what the problem is. I have been cutting what’s left of my own hair myself for many years. You just need some electric hair clippers and you run them over your entire scalp. I recommend starting at a high setting e.g. 1 inch to see how it goes and then adjusting according to taste. It takes no skill.

      Nobody is going to care that you do not look highly coiffured. They can’t see you.

      For that matter, nobody cares if your hair gets a bit shaggy. Speaking as somebody who started losing his hair in his twenties, I’d love to be in a position to complain that my hair is a bit shaggy. Those days are long past though.

      • GBJames
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

        I think it is a bit easier if you only have to deal with “what’s left”. Also makes it easier if buzz-cut is your style.

        • Posted May 5, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

          What does it matter what your style is at the moment?

          • GBJames
            Posted May 5, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

            Buzz-cut is simple mechanical process anyone with a clipper and an arm can accomplish. Longer hair styles require more skill and dexterity to accomplish. I expect you know this and are pulling my leg.

      • Posted May 5, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Hear hear

  11. Posted May 4, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    “Public servants should be held to HIGHER standards than those they represent, not lower.”

    At a minimum, they should be expected to follow the same set of laws and standards they exact from the rest of us.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      “Public servants should be held to HIGHER standards than those they represent, not lower.”

      I totally agree with that sentiment, but I also wonder to what standard “private servants” and their (private tyranny) masters are held. Upon hearing “lower standard,” the word “compliment” does not immediately come to mind.

      I don’t know that anyone particularly likes to be referred to as a “servant.” (Though it quite accurately reflects the reality and pervasive attitude if one works for another. Perhaps you’ve overheard someone say, “They’re only employees.” I remember from my college business law textbook that that body of law is referred to as “Master-Servant” law.)

      “Your servant!? Your servant!?
      Indeed I’m not your servant,
      Although you pay me less than servant’s pay.
      I’m a free and independent em-ploy-ay – employee!”

      Anna from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I.”

  12. Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I think the local prosecutor should slap a fine on the hairdresser, if the law allows that as I suspect it does. Then make sure the mayor gets some additional embarrassing news coverage. As enforcement goes above, so below. Well, in a just world that would be so, and even in our world there’s a correlation. Lives depend on the quarantine rules being taken seriously.

    • Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Seems a bit unfair to penalize the hairdresser if the mayor tells them to ignore the law.

  13. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    New Word:

    hy-pandemic-al
    adjective
    : characterized by pandemic behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe :

  14. max blancke
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I guess we all know at a basic level that the rules we are expected to follow do not apply to those who consider themselves “The elite”.
    So everyone knows that Lightfoot is going to get her hair done, and other such figures will not abide travel restrictions or have to do without the little luxuries to which they have become accustomed.

    But they seem to also share some impulse to not only have those things, but to make it known that they do, to contrast with the rest of us.

  15. sugould
    Posted May 5, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Bad optics, sure. But not near the scandal of Obama wearing that tan suit.


%d bloggers like this: