If you were a hat, what hat would you be?
I like the hat Mattie Ross wore in True Grit, stuffed with newspapers so the crease yields a mound.
And you? Are you a sailor’s gob? Nancy Drew’s fedora? Oliver Hardy’s bowler?
Hats bring to mind Wallace Stevens’ Poem “Six Significant Landscapes.” Imagine hats. Imagine scientists:
Rationalists, wearing square hats,
Think, in square rooms,
Looking at the door,
Looking at the ceiling.
They confine themselves
To right-angled triangles.
If they tried rhomboids,
Cones, waving lines, ellipses–
As, for example, the ellipse of the half-moon–
Rationalists would wear sombreros
Stevens’ poem has become a trope of scientific reasoning. It’s meant to poke fun, and I like to think that scientists can see the playfulness of the poem
All of us get tucked into our own paradigms, making it hard to break free or try on a new hat.
And the poem makes me think of Western and Native science. What would happen if the scientists who sued to study Kennewick Man had to wear sombreros?