MARK LARSON AND BARNEY HOSKYNSThe Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods (Bloomsbury PublishingSt. Martins Press)
If you have ever gazed, with a mixture of astonishment and pity, upon a horrible bi-level haircut squealing by in a Trans Am, then the humor of this glossy small-coffee-table book (trailer coffee-table book?), The Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods, is worth investigating. And it may even leave you with a certain twisted respect for its subjects wearers.
As humor books go, its pretty great the first time through. Masquerading as a library book checked out by one mullet-adorned Link Dunkelschwester, whose insights garnish the page margins, it bears a similarity to certain National Lampoon print projects of the 70s. We learn (through some fine graphic design) of great historical mullets, from the Neanderthal man (Grunt! Hack off front so I can see!), to Buffalo Bill, to David Bowies Ziggy resurrection, to current classics like Mel Gibsons Lethal Mullet, various athletes (the mullet is mandatory for relief pitchers), and the all-time king, Billy Ray Cyrus, who, shorn of his mullet -- Samson-like -- watched his career go down the drain with his locks. Especially amusing is the Field Watchers Guide, so you know what youre looking at when hunting the elusive creatures.
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Thanks to the mullet-obsessed Beastie Boys (who apparently coined the term), an entire cottage industry is growing around the mullet (a.k.a. the Camaro cut, mudflap, butt-rocker, shag, ape drape, squirrel pelt, business in the frontparty in the back, and many more colorful terms). Mullet fascination has been described as a kind of class warfare, since those who sport mullets are generally working-class; those who actively diss mullets, well, they have the time and money to make Web sites about them. Hairstyle of the Gods generally avoids snobbishness toward the now-infamous hair-dont and makes for pretty droll bathroom reading. And any way you slice it, cheese always makes a fine gift.