Ever since the first man listened to his ditzy wife and chomped some fruit from Clint Eastwood’s tree, dooming the human race to be clothed in public and wear ridiculous pajamas to bed, we’ve been wearing dead animals in some form. Despite the efforts of groups trying to make these corpses more fashionable by sprinkling them with paint, Western society has recoiled of late from the “natural” look, preferring to wear synthetic or even psychedelic furs.
Nothing captures the post-Christian, Lemonish desire to “have it all,” though, quite like the panda hat.
I don’t know when these adorable emblems of laziness got their cultural cachet - they seemed to spring up all around me, like a group of 12-year-old boys around Megan Fox, as soon as the weather dipped into the 30s. A cast member on last season’s “The Real World,” source of the do-nothing celebrity, became known as “Panda” for his panda hat, but MTV long ago shuffleboarded its influence from the “Gossip Girl” demographic to the AARP set. Personally I blame Japan, though my Los Angeles-based co-writer Jeremiah, married to an anime freak, claims to be unaware of any such bamboo-chewing bandwagon in balmy Tinseltown.
Whatever the cause, this pandamonium has gotten out of control, and it’s time to clearcut the cultural thicket surrounding the hattification of Ailuropoda melanoleuca.
Sure, it starts cute, as a few quirky teens and administrative assistants don the black-and-white babushkas to signify that racial harmony is always “on their mind.” Next, the hats get adopted by unpopular girls who are too timid to post a rambling YouTube video proclaiming their indelible cuteness despite a low-nutrition diet, mascara-lacquered eyes and sedentary lifestyle. Before we know it, professional women are wearing the noggin nuzzlies to board meetings, court hearings and Unitarian ordinations.
What do we see in these harlequinned heavies anyway? Despite their knowledge of sexual harassment law and ability to prick the conscience of the rapacious ChiComs, pandas are really just welfare bears. They can’t move beyond a narrow geographical area and they have no energy to do anything more than eat stomach-wrenching comfort food all day. And thanks to enterprising labor policies, these welbears are nearly extinct. As a coldhearted conservationist lamented, “people always have this rather peculiar affinity with the big blubbery things.”
This desire to look cute and forsake all responsibility is what underlies America’s social decline. Like a dexterous rat marionetting a clueless chef, panda hats ass-ride their human drones to Pandorrah.
Women of liberty, throw off the accountrements of the ursinine! Unbear your soul! Ooh, is that a Hello Kitty hat?