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Is Mark Zuckerberg’s terrible haircut an ode to Julius Caesar?


TextAlex Peters

And if so. Be Scared. Beware the Ides of March

Last night, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US House of Representatives financial services committee during a hearing regarding the launch of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra. 

During the hearing, Zuckerberg faced a gruelling examination – aka was absolutely roasted – by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other lawmakers who questioned the founder on Facebook’s fact-checking and content filtering processes as well as their connections to an organisation which has ties to white supremacy.

The internet, of course, took immense pleasure in the roasting. They also had several (less important in the wider scheme of things but nonetheless valid) questions about Zuckerberg’s hair, the general sentiment of which could be most politely summed up by this tweet from Alex Hern: “It's minor and unfair and unprofessional and everything but how does Mark Zuckerberg not have enough money for a better hair cut.” 

But while to many Zuckerberg’s hair seemed to be the result of an accident or poor coiffure skills, to some the style was clearly a tribute to Roman Emperor Tiberius Julius Caesar.

“I see people asking why Mark Zuckerberg has this weird haircut,” tweeted user @Trillburne, “it’s simple,” accompanied by screenshots of the Wikipedia entry for the Caesar cut and Zuckerberg admitting to a fascination with Julius’s predecessor Augustus. 

In a New Yorker profile from last year, the Facebook CEO shared his enthusiasm over the Roman emperor. “I think Augustus is one of the most fascinating. Basically, through a really harsh approach, he established two hundred years of world peace,” Zuckerberg is quoted as saying. “What are the trade-offs in that? On the one hand, world peace is a long-term goal that people talk about today. Two hundred years feels unattainable.” On the other hand, he says “that didn’t come for free, and he had to do certain things.”

This is clearly a very worrying sentiment coming from a man who wields such immense power, but putting that to one side, for now, this passion for Ancient Rome and quest for success seems to have also resulted in a very unfortunate haircut. 

(Also noted for the record: Zuckerberg’s second daughter is named August and he spent his honeymoon taking pictures of different sculptures of Augustus. Make of that what you will.)

This is, of course, not the first time we’ve seen those aspiring to greatness emulate physical aspects of their heroes. Elizabeth Holmes during her Theranos years, for example, was rarely seen out of her Steve Jobs black turtleneck. Just as the turtleneck wasn’t enough to save Theranos in the end, Zuckerberg’s silly haircut couldn’t save him from having his ass handed to him by AOC and Representative Joyce Beatty. All’s well that ends well.

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