So, yes, firstly: the French!—winning stuff by themselves—and us learning to love them, in their unwashed splendor, for it. (It is a fragrance not unlike a fine fromage.) But besides making this frog season—the good kind, not the plague—we have our World Cup to thank for repopularizing jester hats, not seen since courts had jesters, or else some time after World War II.
Jester hats, as we know from some history class, disappeared from everywhere but Renaissance Faires once royalty had access to Cartoon Network. Yay! But they were funny. And excising the last bit of mirth from the hat world—W.C. Fields notwithstanding—was such a good idea that today, no one wears hats except Shriners, sports fans (ball caps) and Patt Morrison. Good job eating your children, hat people. Mike Tyson smiles.
Hats and humor go together. You need a sense of humor when you wear a hat—your hat has one, which explains that line across your forehead. The jester hat was humor personified, as was its illegitimate progeny, the whoopee cap: that felt-crowned, spike-brimmed hat worn by towheaded scamps everywhere some time after Yalta and before Dennis the Menace (or so Robert Williams sayeth). And now, for a brief time, jester hats are back until someone wins the Cup and we forget that if organized sports are enough fun, almost anyone will watch.
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Which explains why we're seeing World Cup fans in jester hats. Because they're fun. Why do Argentine moms paint blue-and-white stripes on their babies' faces? So their team wins, and because it's fun—and it worked, for a while. Why do Argentineans wear blue-and-white knit jester hats? Fun. They're their version of Thundersticks, and with that winter, they need 'em. Why do French soccer fans paint their faces? Because they're crazy.