January 14, 2009

Do people become famous because their heads are large, or does celebrity actually cause the head to enlarge?

Over in last night's "American Idol" thread, Trooper York wrote:
The girl that sang "At Last" has an extremely big head. Which is very good since most popular actors have heads out of proportion to their bodies.
This reminds me of something that I read a while back in Tina Brown's excellent book "The Diana Chronicles":
What struck me at lunch was how much celebrity itself had transformed Diana's appearance. I have come to think that being looked at obsessively by people you don't know actually changes the way your face and body are assembled — not just in the obvious ways of enhanced fashion sense or tricks of charm and self-possession, but in the illusion of size. The heads of world-class celebrities literally seem to enlarge. Hillary Clinton's, for instance, has grown enormously since she was the mere wife of the governor of Arkansas. It nods when she talks to you like a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. The years of limelight so inflated the circumference of Jackie O's cranium, it seemed her real face must be concealed by an oversized Halloween mask. If you looked into her eyes, you could see her in there somewhere, screaming.

37 comments:

chickenlittle said...

Your head fills your entire avatar! :)

blake said...

You know, as a person with a preternaturally large head, I find this post offensive.

Synova said...

Could it be that bodies get smaller instead of heads getting larger?

Being a size 2 or 0 doesn't change your head.

traditionalguy said...

I hope this phenoma is explainable by Color of the clothes... hair style... or just looking straighter into the lens. If not, we need to call in GhostBusters and alert Crack Emcee.

traditionalguy said...

Incidentally, Sarah Palin's head is big enough already.

Pogo said...

The closer you can appear to be a Hello Kitty anime character, the better.

reader_iam said...

Watch out ... you might give Trooper a big head. ; )

reader_iam said...

LOL, Pogo (that's avatar's particularly appropos)

AllenS said...

Does my little head make my butt look bigger?

Bissage said...

It’s all in the way celebrities (and other persons successfully courting attention) make facial expressions.

Human babies, all over the world, make the exact same incoherent babbling sounds.

Caretakers respond, automatically, with positive reinforcement when a nonsensical sound resembles language.

It is thus that we become who we are.

ricpic said...

Hillary Clinton has radically transformed herself, or at least her look. I don't know how much of it is an act of will and how much of it is the result of going under the knife but all traces of the mousey young woman she was have been banished. The bitch positively radiates.

I'd say it's mainly a matter of will.

She's the quintessential No More Wire Hangers! woman.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I believe that people's heads, along with feet, hands and just about everything else has gotten bigger.

Shopping in vintage/antique stores and comming across vintage clothings, I'm always amazed at the tiny gloves, shoes and hats that women wore. The same goes for men's hats. We are looking for a Sam Spade type of fedora for a friend to wear when he drives his 1932 LaSalle. All the hats are for pin heads and sit on top of my husbands head like those of Stan Lauren and Oliver Hardy.

Of course if we are talking about celebritys, The proper term is "Fat Head"

Outis said...

Could it be that bodies get smaller instead of heads getting larger?

Mmkay?

EDH said...

Mr. MacKey explains the downside of a large head to Ms. Choksondik.

m-kay?

William said...

I once saw Mayor Koch at the end of a televised news conference. When the lights went off, he became slightly deflated, like a day old balloon. He wasn't feeding the press information; the press was feeding him attention. It pumped him up....One time (and one time only), I was interviewed by a NY Times reporter. During the course of the interview, my posture became straighter, my vocabulary larger, and my judgement more balanced. I have zero wish for fame, but I can see how that kind of diet could inflate you.....An advanced civilization gives us so many ways of liberating our inner jerk. Being a surgeon is an altruistic, socially sanctioned way of being a sadist. Being a cop is a civilized way of being a bully. Being a teacher is a way of being famous and important in a transient way to a limited world. (Famous forever among fifteen people.)....One should also entertain the possibility that in the presence of a celebrity your head involuntarily shrinks. Sort of like pulling your forelock.

Original George said...

Charlie Brown.

jdeeripper said...

chickenlittle said...Your head fills your entire avatar! :)

The Melon of Althouse is legendary.

It's the German ancestry. The krauts and the Irish have their fair share of giant head creatures.

Merv Griffin writes about his "big head theory" and how it relates to Vanna White, Joan Crawford and Marylin Monroe.

TitusRenalFailure said...

I watched some Golden Globe recap on some crap station.

You know who looked good? Tom Cruise and he doesn't have a big head but many of them did have big heads.

I mean just look at them. They are freaks of nature...in a way.

Have they all had work done?

Has Tom Cruise had work done? If so bravo, bravo. Well done. Masterful. I don't even like him but he did look good.

Outis said...

I believe that people's heads, along with feet, hands and just about everything else has gotten bigger.

Better nutrition seems to be the most likely culrpti of larger sizes now. Here's some evidence from a slightly longer time frame than your shopping in the antique shops.

Outis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

A little off subject, but did you know the ethnic Egyptians [not the arab invader/ruling class, but the Pharoah's descendant] have heads way larger than anyone else I've ever met.This translates into more brain like more RAM in the computer. Some of these are the insiders who have planned Al Queda's best work. But most of them are Coptic [it's like greek Othodox] and "hate those muslim SOB's". They still survive in Mohammed's conquered territory because the Stubbonly stupid arabs can't run the place without their Brain power.

EDH said...

Outis,

I must have been in mid-post when yours went up. Sorry.

The Crack Emcee said...

"I hope this phenoma is explainable by Color of the clothes... hair style... or just looking straighter into the lens. If not, we need to call in GhostBusters and alert Crack Emcee."

CMC to the rescue:

In the case of Hillary Clinton, it's clearly magic.

Princess Diana, of course, had her "eccentric circle" of psychics and witchy women, who could've done anything to the size of her skull.

But you can focus on hairstyle if you want,...

michaele said...

I remember posting here during last year's American Idol, that I especially liked the sound of the guy "with the big head" meaning David Cook whose name, at that point,I wasn't sure of.

Outis said...

EDH, why apologize? There's no such thing as too much South Park! Personally I think the posts go well together....

Nichevo said...

On a different note, is/has anyone been reading Neal Stephenson's Anathem? I'm up to about p. 28 and it is dry work. Which I have never said about one of his books before. Is it me or is it him?

Nichevo said...

I presume to so threadjack, because who cares about head/skull size?

John Burgess said...

Nichevo: Both maybe? Not his most energetic work, but definitely readable and enjoyable.

Christy said...

Nichevo, I've avoided reading it because the reviews were not good. John, are you saying those of us who already love Stephenson's work will like it anyway?

Ann Althouse said...

"Merv Griffin writes about his "big head theory" and how it relates to Vanna White, Joan Crawford and Marylin Monroe."

I see he tried to comfort Vanna by noting his hat size -- and that's my hate size too! Does a big head help in blogging?

HelenParr said...

and that's my hate size too!

"Hate size"? Does it go up to 11?

Nichevo said...

I'm up to p.74 - still tough sledding:

Bulshytt: (1) In Fluccish of the late Praxic Age and early Reconstitution, a derogatory term for false
speech in general, esp. knowing and deliberate falsehood or obfuscation. (2) In Orth, a more technical
and clinical term denoting speech (typically but not necessarily commercial or political) that employs
euphemism, convenient vagueness, numbing repetition, and other such rhetorical subterfuges to create the
impression that something has been said. (3) According to the Knights of Saunt Halikaarn, a radical
order of the 2nd Millennium A.R., all speech and writings of the ancient Sphenics; the Mystagogues of
the Old Mathic Age; Praxic Age commercial and political institutions; and, since the Reconstitution,
anyone they deemed to have been infected by Procian thinking. Their frequent and loud use of this word
to interrupt lectures, dialogs, private conversations, etc., exacerbated the divide between Procian and
Halikaarnian orders that characterized the mathic world in the years leading up to the Third Sack. Shortly
before the Third Sack, all of the Knights of Saunt Halikaarn were Thrown Back, so little more is known
about them (their frequent appearance in Sæcular entertainments results from confusion between them
and the Incanters).
Usage note: In the mathic world, if the word is suddenly shouted out in a chalk hall or refectory it
brings to mind the events associated with sense (3) and is therefore to be avoided. Spoken in a moderate
tone of voice, it takes on sense (2), which long ago lost any vulgar connotations it may once have had. In
the Sæculum it is easily confused with sense (1) and deemed a vulgarity or even an obscenity. It is
inherent in the mentality of extramuros bulshytt-talkers that they are more prone than anyone else to
taking offense (or pretending to) when their bulshytt is pointed out to them. This places the mathic
observer in a nearly impossible position. One is forced either to use this “offensive” word and be deemed
a disagreeable person and as such excluded from polite discourse, or to say the same thing in a different
way, which means becoming a purveyor of bulshytt oneself and thereby lending strength to what one is
trying to attack. The latter quality probably explains the uncanny stability and resiliency of bulshytt.
Resolving this dilemma is beyond the scope of this Dictionary and is probably best left to hierarchs who
make it their business to interact with the Sæculum.
—THE DICTIONARY, 4th edition, A.R. 3000

Ann Althouse said...

Oops! Hate size! Yikes!

Trooper York said...

I do believe that in hate one size fits all.

Bill Adams said...

If you are a potential leading man but of average or less-than-average height, you can wear lifts. But your normally proportioned head will appear small on your now taller body. Handsome but short men with big heads look better in lifts, do better professionally, and are consequently well represented in the celebrity population. It helps if they also have big shoulders, since they are often shot above the waist. If their shoulders are not so big, we can still notice that their heads are too big -- but the lifts keep them from appearing short, which is what they really care about.

Peter Mack said...

People who speak publicly and are trained to present in front of large audiences tend to increase the prominent anatomy in order to exaggerate points that they are trying to convey. This includes the "anchorman nose" which realigns its longitudinal axis in order to best align with the camera which can be readily identified with the askew seated position of television presenter, most fashionable in the 60's and 70's. Noses are prone to point in the direction of a mental point being proffered and the camera as a mass audience magnifier in particular condenses this to a favoured angle which, if offset from the natural symmetrical facial face/nose axis will in a period of 10 years become measurably prominent in as much as 3-5 degrees. The similar phenomenon of "BIG HEADEDNESS" is just as noticeable and evolutionarily expedient. This can also be said to occur with stage actors, preachers, politicians and even greengrocers, publicans and butchers who, historically all have very public communication roles. Another evolutionary vocation related physical transition is baldness which can be traced to generational longevity in a common position such as those that traditionally require the wearing of hats or tight fitting head wear for exorbitantly long periods, that cover the top of the cranium and leave the bottom back and side free of enclosure. Such family trees that the paternal job descriptions have been passed on over 4 generations or more in the male descendants could be readily seen to display the "chrome dome" or "Friar Tuck" effect which is highly prone to males whose antecedents include priests, doctors, judges, and in some lower class positions, miners and policemen. It may be argued that people already have big heads find that these vocations suit their natural augmentation and hence prosper in these roles especially as they are easy to read from a distance. It is also easy to see why a bald man occasioned to genetic baldness is likely to take up a profession which conceals their condition.

Peter Mack said...

Max Capita

People who speak publicly and are trained to present in front of large audiences tend to increase the prominent anatomy in order to exaggerate points that they are trying to convey. This includes the "anchorman nose" which realigns its longitudinal axis in order to best align with the camera which can be readily identified with the askew seated position of television presenter, most fashionable in the 60's and 70's. Noses are prone to point in the direction of a mental point being proffered and the camera as a mass audience magnifier in particular condenses this to a favoured angle which, if offset from the natural symmetrical facial face/nose axis will in a period of 10 years become measurably prominent in as much as 3-5 degrees. The similar phenomenon of "BIG HEADEDNESS" is just as noticeable and evolutionarily expedient. This can also be said to occur with stage actors, preachers, politicians and even greengrocers, publicans and butchers who, historically all have very public communication roles. Another evolutionary vocation related physical transition is baldness which can be traced to generational longevity in a common position such as those that traditionally require the wearing of hats or tight fitting head wear for exorbitantly long periods, that cover the top of the cranium and leave the bottom back and side free of enclosure. Such family trees that the paternal job descriptions have been passed on over 4 generations or more in the male descendants could be readily seen to display the "chrome dome" or "Friar Tuck" effect which is highly prone to males whose antecedents include priests, doctors, judges, and in some lower class positions, miners and policemen. It may be argued that people already have big heads find that these vocations suit their natural augmentation and hence prosper in these roles especially as they are easy to read from a distance. It is also easy to see why a bald man occasioned to genetic baldness is likely to take up a profession which conceals their condition.