Sunday, August 28, 2011

Are they kidding?

Daniel Hamermesh summarizes recent research on the economic benefits of being blessed with good looks, in today's NY Times ("Ugly? You May Have A Case").

I have to defer to the researchers who claim that they have found ways to identify the beautiful people who might earn a substantial economic premium from their appearance.  I always thought that there is a difficult-to-describe package of look, walk, talk, etc. ("charisma", perhaps) which turns heads.  But the research seems to rest on just a "look".

Whatever it is, we all know that life is unfair.  We can also supect that there are complex feedbacks between pleasing appearances, worldly successes, confidence gained and pleasing appearance.  A winning smile and countenance are the obvious examples.

What floored me is Hamermesh's thoughts on a "new legal frontier" whereby the homely would get the protections of labor law litigation.  The mind boggles at the sorts or experts, consultants, legal specialists and legislators who would get in on the act.  Is the back page of the Times' new Sunday Review section the satire page?