Dr. T. Everett Mobley (#3) on Fezorocity

“It has been said that those who wear the fez are possessed of a certain “fezorocity”.  What is fezorocity? The glib answer would be to say that if you don’t know, I can’t explain it to you. “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.”  I usually consider that sort of answer to be no more than a cop-out, and yet… and yet…

Some years ago, one of the numbers presented in a high school choir concert was a choral setting of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”.   The director asked me to recite the poem for the audience before the choir sang.  Later, I was asked how long it took me to prepare.  I replied that there are those of us who have been waiting their whole lives for a chance to declaim “Jabberwocky”, and no additional preparation is necessary.  Thus it is with fezorocity, yet it may be that this quality simply lies smoldering within you unrecognized, awaiting only enlightenment to quicken the spark.

Perhaps we can infer the nature of fezorocity from the context in which the fez appears.  In the movie Khartoum, General “Chinese” Gordon crowns his dress white uniform with a fez.  We see its martial spirit, redolent of latent power, the Charlton Heston of hats, if you will. In Casablanca, Sidney Greenstreet as Signor Ferrari wears the fez.  Here the fez shows us that its businesslike functionality underpins an Epicurean enjoyment of sybaritic pleasures.  The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword wear the fez in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Obviously, this headgear is a sinister vessel of oriental menace.  Of course, the majority of fezzes we have seen are those atop performing monkeys and happy Shriners.  This is the fez as glorified party hat (per the description of Fez-O-Rama’s Jason Rogers).  It’s all about fun.

These contexts seem in conflict at first glance, but they are not.  Fezoricity is indeed all about fun, but fun that includes a certain panache, a certain je ne sais quoi.  It is an appreciation for funny hats that betokens an appreciation for life, with a dignity resilient enough to bear the weight of a funny hat in public.   Fezoricity is…or maybe it just can’t be explained.”

Editor’s Note: My original plan was to post these essays as comments to the interview with Jason Rogers. but Brother Mobley’s thoughtful tract demands a more public space. We’ll do the same with future essays.


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