If history was shaped like anything, we believe it would probably be a bald head. However, as history itself is intangible, it isn’t really shaped like anything.
In lieu of scientific evidence to the contrary, please bear witness to our most fantastic list of 6 baldies who have shaped history.
The only be-sandaled man to gain entry to No.10 Downing Street
If ever any baldee – be they man, be they woman or be they weird-breed of cat – should ever feel anything but pride over their lack of head hair, then inspiration lies no further than an internet connection and a google search for “Mahatma Ghandi”. He lead the Indian National Congress party from 1921. He visited Downing Street in a shawl made from yarn he spun himself. And sandals.I’ll say that again – he visited Downing Street in sandals.Oh, and he managed to show that a brutal tyranny can be overcome without resorting to violence (by kicking the British out of India).
What part did baldness play in all this?
The hairy man (or the British Raj, if you must) shoots tigers and oppresses the natives. The bald man kicks him out.
Some would say not a jot. But then, some would say the earth is flat. Ghandi marched 241 miles to make his own salt, in protest at the British taxing it. Would this have been possible if he had to lug around a jumbo jug of Head and Shoulders? We think not. Furthermore, he spent a long time in prison, often in isolation. Would he have been able to command respect if he’d come out a shabby, hairy, bespectacled monster? Not a chance. No, his saving grace was his baldness.
It allowed him to out a shabby, bald, bespectacled man. All in all, Ghandi is one of humanity’s greats. And he was bald. Need we say more?
2. Mikhail Gorbachev
“Gorby”, Time Man of the Year 1988, and resolute bald man.
So, what did Mikhail Gorbachev do? Well, he played a large part in the end of the Cold War and the Soviet Union. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, and he ushered a form of freedom of information in the Soviet Union (glasnost, in case you wondered). And he criticized another powerful bald man it takes balls to criticize, Vladimir Putin.
This looks like a Quentin Blake illustration of CheGuevarra being hemmed in by toy cowboys. We imagine that’s what their caption says, too.
Gorbachev started life a peasant, and probably bald. In neither aspect was he remarkable. In rising from combine harvester operator to head of the CCCP and Soviet Union, he was remarkable. His combine harvester operating skills aren’t to be knocked, either – he was the one of youngest ever recipients of the Order of the Red Banner of Labour for collecting a record crop on his family’s collective farm.
Not that baldness and combine harvesting skills necessarily mark you out for greatness. We’re just saying they’re probably part of the equation.
3. Charles Darwin
That beard is probably compensating for something.
Controversial? Apparently, yes. Bald?Definitely.
Whether or not you believe in what Darwin theorised in “On the Evolution of Species”, to deny that he has helped shape history is something akin to denying that baldness makes men more attractive. In a word; poppycock.Balderdash.Nonsense.
Darwin, in a trouser-wettingly hilarious cartoon from the 1870s.
What did he propose? The theory of evolution, and of natural selection. Debates have raged ever since about how this sits with religion, how this sits with humans and, most importantly, how this sits with the age old hair vs sans hair controversy. Could we be descended from the same species?
His work also led to uglier results – eugenics and social Darwinism are both grew from a base level acceptance of Darwin’s proposed methodology.
Possibly a racist, probably an alcoholic, responsible for the firebombing of Dresden and the deaths of thousands of innocent people – but hey! He’s bald!
Winston Churchill arguably deserves a place on this list for his witticisms alone. His famous reply to being told by Bessie Braddock that he was drunk when leaving the Commons (“Sir! You’re drunk!) – “Madam, you’re ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober” gets my vote on its own. Whether that is funnier than his response to Nancy Astor’s claim that if she were his wife, she’d poison his coffee (“Nancy, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.”) is open to debate.
The war had taken its toll.
What isn’t open to debate, however, is the fact that Winston changed history.
He rallied the British troops and led them to glory in WW2. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was very posh indeed. What’s more, he didn’t just change history – he pretty much defied it. His political career was considered pretty much dead by the mid-1930s. He was, of course, Prime Minister twice after that, from 1940 – 1945 and then from 1951 – 1952.
Bald and proud
William Shakespeare is considered the greatest writer in the English language. Ever. He was also one of those people who makes up for baldness on top by going a bit crazy on the back and sides. I suppose, though, for the greatest writer in the English language ever, we can forgive that.
Ahead of his time in both the spheres of literature, and of course, fashion.
He wrote, among others, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Hamlet and the Tempest. He coined words, such as ‘fashionable’ (see above), and phrases – ‘a sorry sight’ (see above) and ‘seen better days’ (see above) are just a few. The way in which we communicate has been influenced by the man above. His baldness may have been the reason for his demonstrably silly hair, but it was also, we think, a large part of his genius.
6. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
We’re not sure if Lenin looks like the devil, or if the modern devil has been influenced by this picture.
Definitely bald, though.
Lenin changed history. You can love him or you can hate him, or if you’re ill educated you can remain unaware that he ever even existed. He led the Bolshevik political party from 1917 to 1924, led the October Revolution of 1917 and fought to establish a communist economy in Russia. He was also responsible for the creatively named ‘Marxism-Leninism’, which is Lenin’s practical application of Marxism for Russia. Still unconvinced? Over 100,000,000 have visited his mummified body, and his work inspired the revolutions of Castro, Mao and Ho Chi Minh. Despicable as some of them may be.
Lenin during his unsuccessful audition for Coronation Street.
The problem with Lenin isn’t his politics. It isn’t the fact that his state, albeit under the control of bizarre mental case (and, if you hadn’t noticed, owner of a full head of hair) Joseph Stalin, was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. It isn’t even the fact that he looks alarmingly like the devil.
It’s the fact that he wore a wig.