Monday, November 28, 2011

Shatner Rules: an acoustical analysis.

As many of you will know, the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies houses some of the most advanced technology in the world, all designed provide humanity with the best possible insight into and analysis of William Shatner's toupee-wearing. Our most recent effort involves using state-of-the-art acoustic instrumentation on the audiobook version of Bill Shatner's latest tome Shatner Rules.

A toupular quantum resonance model.

Not long ago, we were delighted to report a rather direct hair reference by the author in said book.

That example, plus several others, form the core of the following report:

In one experiment, we amplified the sound of Bill Shatner saying the word "hair" to 194 decibels.

During the introduction of Shatner Rules, the author offers a perhaps crucial clue, "Bill is a slightly different guy from Shatner ... sometimes Shatner relaxes into Bill. Even Shatner can't keep up the Shatner all the time." Is this a subtle acknowledgement of the duality of wearing a toupee? Does the bald Bill Shatner become William Shatner by putting on his toupee in a Clark Kent/Superman sort of way?

Bill versus William? (Superman III)

A little while later, the actor jokingly describes actor Jason Alexander as a "bald, fat, has-been". Considering that Has Been was the name of Bill Shatner's 2004 album, is this code?

In Chapter 1, Bill Shatner illustrates his "always say yes" (is "yes" a coded response to the above or/as well as an answer to the final sentence of his previous autobiography?) rule by explaining how in 2006 he overcame reservations and agreed to partake in the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner.

"If I spent more of my life saying 'no,' this autobiographical volume would be a slim one, indeed. But enough of the touchy feely stuff, let’s talk about . . . my scrotum. And my weight. And my hair. And my acting. And my weight. And my hair. Did I mention my acting?"

Here's the audio clip:

The roast continues and Bill Shatner, noting the hair jokes that flew his way during the show, notes:

"After a while all I could hear was 'Hair.' 'Acting.' 'Weight.' 'Singing.' 'Scrotum.' "

The audio:

A little while later, we get to "William Shatner Roast Insults & Rebuttals" and:

-"'What is that on your head?'

-My hair is actually writing its own autobiography, Captain’s Locks. I will reveal no spoilers in advance of publication."

The audio:

As if Bill Shatner has not said the word "hair" enough times in a single chapter (five so far and counting), we also get a couple more encores a little while later:

"After three hours—three long, agonizing hours—it was my turn at the microphone. I would get the final say after a long evening of me (and my horse) being drilled unmercifully about my acting, my hair, my weight, my acting, my hair, and my weight. And my scrotum."

The author then recounts his chance at an on-stage rebuttal:

"I would need a big opening, a huge joke, and one that announced that William Shatner is here, and he’s not going to take it anymore. So I opened with . . . 'How's the hair?'"

The audio:

And then :

"The Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner was one of that network’s highest rated programs, and it was eventually nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special. (We lost to a Tony Bennett concert special. I wonder how many jokes were made about his hair?) Most important, the show introduced me to many new young fans."

The audio:

And one more for good measure, this time a little more insightful:

"What I learned most of all from The Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner is that people have some very definite ideas and feelings about this William Shatner character. He’s larger than life, he’s omnipresent, he’s a narcissist, his acting and hair and singing talents are questionable at best, he’s a shill, he’s a comedy, he’s a tragedy, his scrotum sags with age, he speaks . . .very . . . strange . . . ly."

And one last piece of audio:

So that's nine mentions of the word "hair" in a single chapter (there's a couple more throughout the rest of the book too, including Hair the musical!). From utter silence on the subject to such willful abandon is surely an important step for Bill Shatner. He can finally say a word in public that has previously caused him a great deal of discomfort.

"The hills are alive with the sound of toupees!"

And as if seeking to make up for all those years of self-inflicted silence, he repeats that magic word over again and again and again! A stress analysis of the above audio reveals a far calmer and more assertive Bill Shatner than the one who a few years earlier nervously asked "do I wear a toupee?" While he still breezes over the word "hair" occasionally, no doubt seeking to prevent leaks of emotion, the word is nonetheless said loudly, directly and with a new-found sense of confidence.

It's been a delicate process, and one external nudge too many could again cause Bill Shatner to retreat.

But while we see some very important steps in the above, alas, we can't celebrate too much. As some of you noted in our previous post on Shatner Rules, while Bill Shatner uses the word "hair" liberally, even going so far as to note that it is writing its own biography and that "his acting acting and hair and singing talents are questionable at best," he avoids entirely the question of why.

"How's the hair?" Bill Shatner at the 2006 Comedy Central roast.

Thus, a reader or listener unfamiliar with toupological matters might be tempted merely to think that the actor has worn bad hairstyles or that his real hair looks like it's not real. But Bill Shatner never says that. He never says "my hair - which some claim is a toupee" or anything of the sort. It's very clever teasing in that it provides more than a nod to the initiated, but doesn't overtly signal too much to those not in the know!

Notice that Bill Shatner's head rests on the location of the Amazon rainforest. A subtle environmental message calling for protection and re-growth?

We can't wait till the next autobiography and where this extraordinary toupological journey will continue to lead us! The audiobook of Shatner Rules is available to buy. A fun, breezy book well worth reading (or listening to).


  1. James Toupeerius KirkNovember 28, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Great stuff!!
    Becomes clear that Shatner knows that we know.
    It really seems as though he's trying to minimize the damage by restraining back any real information.
    By doing so, he's concealing the topic itself to outsiders..

  2. "Questionable at best"? A Kirkishly clever ploy on the part of Shatner to divert attention from the Katz Theory and convince us that his tonsorial adornment really is the genuine article, albeit transplanted from elsewhere on his scalp? Does this signify a shrewd tactical retreat from the patently ludicrous "genuine original full head of hair" scenario to a tacit "admission" of having undergone follicular redistribution? (Of course, this would also imply acknowlegement of his "former" hair loss.) How else, Shatner subtly encourages us to ask ourselves, could I dare to sail so perilously close to the wind?

  3. This is truly fascinating. Almost every reference in the roast to his "hair" used a synonym for toup rather than the word "hair." The only one he was willing to pull was the line "what is that on your head?" Nobody said hair. They said thinks like "Takei - as in toupee."

    Shatner knows the jig is up, but he'ss still dancing around the issues, still unwilling to truly cross the toupee rubicon. (How's that for strangely mixed metaphors?)

  4. shats own real syrupNovember 30, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    i am not too sure......i think its easy, to overlook the massive step forward shat has made. It was a closed book, even just a few years back for shat even to say the word "hair" how do we really ever expect bill too use the word "toupee" the toup, has been a huge part of bills life...its covered his baldness, and gave him a career. Yes it would be wonderful if he was as open as say sean connery, who even in the 60's would walk round publically without toup on. But shatner is trying his best, and he did'ot even have too say anything, it was after all his book. Lets just be happy with what we know.

  5. "We lost to a Tony Bennett concert special. I wonder how many jokes were made about his hair?)"
    Isn't this a subtle toupee reference, since Tony Bennett wears a hairpiece and Shat is equating himself to TB?