Beta Culture: Big Funny Hats

If we’re going to be a real culture with a readily-identifiable visual identity (and a culturally innate sense of humor), we simply have to have our own Big Funny Hat.

My east Texas cowboy culture has them. The Catholics have them (for their leaders, anyway). The Amish have them, and so do Hasidic Jews. Even Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble have them.

I’ve been thinking there should be meetings every two months, where we gather in our respective home cities and display our efforts at choosing or designing a proper BFH, and then an annual meeting where we converse, confer and otherwise hobnob with each other, with a special session devoted to Big Funny Hat efforts. Probably there would be food involved in these meetings, and some sort of alcoholic beverage. Not enough to inspire Vogon poetry, you understand, but enough to lubricate the flow of ideas.

Now I don’t know if all that’s necessary. Jerry Van Amerongen has pretty much nailed it for me with a single Ballard Street panel.



  • Cathy W

    I’d like to nominate my favorite silly hat:
    …wearing mine, I was at the grocery school, and I heard a little girl say loudly, “Mommy, why does that lady have a fish on her head?” My answer was “Because it’s warm!” – but I’d love to be able to say “It’s my people’s traditional headgear”. :)

    • Hank Fox

      Yes! I want us ALL to be able to say that! With pride!

      To do that, we have to call it by its proper name — the Big FUNNY Hat. The “silly” hat people are a splinter sect, and we anointed ones have nothing to do with them.

      • Cathy W

        And, alas, the fish hat has its own problems: the fish being a symbol of Christianity (although the hat is a *dead* fish…), and many knitters who don’t hold Beta values having already knit one or many.
        I wonder if a hand-crocheted representation of the Golden Spiral or the Fibonacci Sequence could be turned into a proper Big Funny Hat… or am I just thinking about this too hard?

  • Dave Jonesy

    How we won the James Randi Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge

    • Hank Fox

      Dave … you really have to stop doing this. You’re going to get arrested again.

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