Hairstyles of the 70's-The Ten Greatest Jewfro's Of All-Time
Last week, it was the Afro. This week, I tackle the Afro's Semitic cousin, The Jewfro, a hairstyle popularized by Jews in the 70s, yet one of the chosen hairstyle's worn by the chosen people throughout eternity. Without further adieu, let's get Jew-fro'ing.
10. Dustin Diamond/Screech
Oh Screech, you sex-taping home-losing weirdo. How far you've fallen. At one point in the early 90s, it was a certainty that if one flipped on NBC at roughly 10:00 a.m., they would be treated to the very excellent sight of Samuel J. Powers rocking Zubaz pants, a Jewfro and a pair of suspenders. If one doubts the sheer magnificence of Screech's Jewfro, watch an episode of Saved By The Bell: The New Class, when Barton "Weasel" Wyzell futilely tried to play the role of the token hebe surrounded in a roomful of goys. Did it work? I think not. Of course, Screech and his Jewfro did much to make Jewish mothers proud. He got straight A's in school, he was a polite and nice young gentleman. And he ultimately settled down with a nice Jewish girl, Violet Bickerstaff (played by fellow Tribeswoman, Tori Spelling). Though no doubt, his mom kvetched over why he hung out with the meshuggah Zack Morris.
9. Gabe Kaplan/Mr. Gabe Kotter
I am reasonably certain that I am related to Gabe Kaplan. Sure, I have no tangible proof of this. However, if you look at photos of Kaplan in his "Welcome Back Kotter" prime versus pictures of my dad in his late 70's "Disco Phase," I am reasonably certain that you could not pick out who was who. The resemblance is uncanny, down to the mustache, Jewfro and penchant for cowboy attire. Believe you me, if I had a scanner, my father's towering Jewfro would've placed high on this list. As for Kotter, he scores points not just for the sheer spherical perfection of the coiled mass atop his head, but for his dedication to teaching. Without Mr. Kotter and his foxy wife Julie, it is doubtful that the likes of Barbarino, Boom-Boom Washington and Horshack would've received a decent education. Not to mention mentored the marvelous Jewfrow of Mr. Juan Epstein.
8. Artie Ziff Artie loses points for violating Rule #1 of the Jewish faith: being bad with money. Sure, it was revealed on The Simpsons that "Busy Hands" Ziff made a fortune by the time Springfield High's 10-Year Reunion rolled around. However, he managed to lose it all when his Internet company went bust. For shame, Ziff. For shame. Haven't you ever heard of real estate and conservative mutual funds? Either way, Ziff's a disgrace in many ways, but his ultimately redeeming quality is the magnificence of his Jewfro (not to mention his maroon Tuxedo). If you were a Jewish man alive in the year 1976, I am willing to be that you had one Ziff-like moment. And for that, Ziff was a man of his time. Nay, the man of his time.
7. Howard Stern
Sure, Stern's coif nowadays appears to have settled into a Joey Ramone-esque Helfro, half afro, half helmet. But in the early 70s in his BU days, Stern had one of the more prodigious Jewfros in America. Fueled by his freakish 6'5 height (6'5" is the Jewish 6'10), Stern's Jewfro towered above the city of Boston and told the populace well in advance that this gangly, mushroom cloud-haired dude, would go onto bigger and better things. And some of them didn't even have implants. Along the way, Stern emerged as the biggest radio personality of the last three decades. Why? Some say the power of shock-value, others might point to his crude but undeniable wit. I say, it was the power of his Jewfro.
6. Mark Spitz
The movie Airplane handled it best when the passenger asks for some "light reading" and the stewardess handles him a slim pamphlet titled: "Greatest Jewish Athletes." But during the summer of 1972, a Jewfro'd wonder named Mark Spitz came out of nowhere to win 7 gold medals. Of course, it was swimming, which isn't exactly like being on the entire starting 5 of the Dream Team, but hey, we'll take what can get. And from 1972-74, Spitz was one of the most famous men in the United States. There was even talk that he might be the next James Bond (Roger Moore wisely got the role instead). Sure, Spitz's hairstyle might not be a perfect Jewfro, but I'll blame that on the chlorine.
5. Baruch SpinozaA Dutch philosopher of Jewish origin, Spinoza is considered one of the pioneers of the Jewfro, as well as being one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. By virtue of his magnum opus, the posthumous Ethics, he's considered to be one of the definitive ethicists. According to Wikipedia, his writings, like those of his fellow rationalists, reveal considerable mathematical training and facility. A lens crafter by trade, an "exciting engineering field" at the time because of great discoveries being made by telescopes, the full effect of his work was realized only some time after his death, following the publication of his Opera Posthuma. He is now recognized as having laid the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment, and as a founder of modern biblical criticism. And all this, without the benefits of styling gel. Just think of how lustrous of a Jewfro Spinoza could've had if he were born in the 20th Century. I grow wistful just thinking of the squandered potential.
4. Lou Reed
Don't be fooled by the all-black ensemble, the rock n' roll pedigree and the sunglasses. This is a man born Lewis Allan Rabinowitz. That sounds like the name of a kid I used to mock at Hebrew School. Reed even went to Syracuse, got a degree in English and was mentored by a man named Delmore Schwartz. Oy. Yet he successfully repudiated himself from his upbringing, fronting one of the weirdest and greatest bands of all-time. Not bad. However, he thankfully never was able to repudiate himself from his Jewfro, always a dead giveaway that Reed didn't roll on Shomer Shabbas. Indeed, his Jewfro was so superior, it almost makes up for Metal Machine Music.
3. Marc Bolan, lead singer of T. Rex
Bongos, check. Banging Gongs, check. A scantily-clad girl riding on a motorcycle, check. Jewfro, check. Marc Bolan, the lead singer of the canonical Brit Glam-pop band T. Rex (and perhaps the man who Cam'ron is the re-incarnation of) had a short but undeniably brilliant career. Watch the video above. Understand why Bolan and his Jewfro were the biggest British act of the immediate post-Beatles era. See his resplendent, cork-screw hair. He might've died 30 years ago but the greatness of his music (and hair) lives on.
2. Albert Einstein
I've heard this guy was like, good at science or something. Either way, great hair.
1. Bob Dylan
Watch this clip from the Dylan documentary Don't Look Back as Dylan transfixes the room with a performance of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." Watch the look on Donovan's face, a slight grimace as he nods along. Many people often point out that it's a look of frustration is his realization that Dylan is obviously the far greater musician. I say they're are wrong. The look on Donovan's face is a look rooted in the realization that he was never a Bar-Mitzvah. And such, his subsequent attempts to Jew-Fro will be stymied by his flat, lifeless Scottish hair. The lift, flair, and panache of Dylan's hair has zero shot of being achieved. Thus, his chances at immortality are forever denied.