Albert Einstein and the Political Implications of Sockless Activism

Over at Balloon Juice, new co-blogger DougJ has hit on the Washington Village People™ for their obsession with spurious class/”real people” markers.  His target, the notion that “doesn’t wear socks” is a useful shorthand for measuring the clueless/pseud function level fo someone.  See this post and the follow-up here.*

Of course, there is a history-of-science angle on this.  However else you might want to characterize Albert Einstein, he wasn’t clueless.  Sockless yes, by deep conviction and long practice.  There is a reason that this image is usually cropped as at the link.  Einstein may have dressed mostly unexceptionally for the ceremony of his taking the oath to become an American citizen, but what the missing feet would tell you is that it was naked feet stuffed into his shoes.

All of which is to say that DougJ has got it right.  Only stupid people think that fashion sense is a reliable marker of anything beyond fashion sense.  Or to put it another way.  I’ll bet Philipp Lenard wore socks every day of his proper Herr Doktor Professor life; that still leaves him a Nazi and an anti-Semitic idiot (however skilled an experimentalist he was in his youth), while my man Albert is … Einstein, bare feet and all.

Image:  Vincent van Gogh, “A Pair of Shoes,” 1886.

Explore posts in the same categories: couture, Einstein, Snark

One Comment on “Albert Einstein and the Political Implications of Sockless Activism”

  1. Spiv Says:

    The various van Gogh shoe paintings are still some of my most loved images. Somewhere in my undergrad art career they helped me realize that “subject” really has little to do with the object of the painting, and that such physicalities are nothing more than an armature for the real content.

    Either that or it was an excuse to be the straight guy who painted flowers.


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