Nobody looks good in a cowboy hat. Real cowboys used to look okay. Driving dusty dogies up the Chisholm Trail. Pounding down rotgut in the Longbranch Saloon. Gunfights at the Stampede Corral. Today, ranches are part of giant conglomerates. Faceless links in global networks joining pet food and roofing materials to panty girdles and supersonic fighters. The cowboy. Obsolete. Only his hat remains. Resting awkwardly atop porn actresses, sardine fishermen and country music fans. Riding a hydrogen bomb, Slim Pickens wore one in Dr. Strangelove. Also Dirty Harry when he pointed his .357 at that unlucky punk. But these are only isolated incidents. Bottom line, today, cowboy hats simply dont cut it. Too big. Too floppy. Loaded with the wrong messages. Once proudly galloping across the great plains feeling the winds of freedom. Now a tired icon adorning the heads of corrupt CEOs and reactionary neocon kooks. Nobody should wear a cowboy hat. Try a giant sombrero, or a Panama, a fez, burnoose, even a cockeyed ball cap. The cowboy hat ties you to offshore drilling, Reagan, W, militarized geopolitics, questionable eating habits. Nothing good waits at the end of the trail for those who wear cowboy hats. Its as out of date as corporate oppression, racial violence and gender inequality are going to be in the wonderful world waiting just around the bunkhouse. So if youve got one, clean it, block it, store it in a safe place. Keep your pathetic old cowboy hat as a sad reminder of a brutal chapter in that twisted tale, The March of Human Progress. Tokyo, Friday, 04/20/07