I remember growing up as a kid, I lived for the weekend. Not even the whole weekend, I lived for Saturday, more specifically Saturday morning cartoons. I remember grudgingly get up each morning for school, but on Saturday I was up with the sun, T.V. turned on and ready for a 6 hour binge of cartoons. When I was little I surely didn’t pay much attention to the cultural nuance’s of norms being presented through the good vs evil stereotypes. But looking back, I can to a sad realization: I was brainwashed to think mustaches are evil. Last week I posted about how Hitler single handed exterminated the toothbrush mustache from the face of the earth (seemingly his only successful extermination). Since then I have been thinking more exclusively about mustaches in respect to mustache March. A lot of my friends are participating this year and have had some interesting remarks in regards to their experiences. For most they are saying that feel more “powerful and more confident”, and I can agree with them as I too have had a mustache (although not currently). Which begs for the obvious questions, “What is it about the stache that makes a man more self-confidence, and could this confidence lead to arrogance, and could this “mustache arrogance” be the first step to becoming a classic supervillian?” (Maybe not so obvious of a question). This question although difficult to prove does have substantial evidence (see the list below):
1. Dick Dastardly
2. Captain Hook
3. Snidely Whiplash
4. Wario and Waluigi
5. Yosemite Sam
My current theory is that for 21st century culture, mustaches are not the norm, and those who grow a stache are bold enough to go against the norm. Once they have gone against the norm the stached individual now has “skin in the game” and feel a loyalty to their choice. And it could be that this loyalty leads the mustached man into a pride of his anti-cultural ways and thus begins an apathy towards good vs evil. So maybe if our Western world didn’t associate mustaches with being so anarchic more men would have one. I leave you with this thought: Does a supervillian grow a mustache or does a mustache grow a suppervillian?
Facial hair styles come and go, times change, cultures change. But what sparks the change? What is the catalyst that causes the avalanche of social revolution? If all the outputs and all the factors could be derived from one specific location, where would that location be?And more importantly…why is the toothbrush mustache socially illegal!?
During the early 19th this specific flair of facial hair fashion was a rising star amongst beard culture. The Toothbrush was less maintenance and less pizzaz-y then its contemporary styles. Charlie Chaplin was an advocate of the stache in the early 1900’s and it was gaining traction steadily, until Hitler, that is. Shortly after Chaplin’s rise to fame World War II began and the toothbrush lost affiliation with Hollywood and comedy and gain affiliation with Communism and genocide (a sad downgrade). The mustache style began to be known as the “Hitler Stache” and Post-World War II America made it socially taboo to rock it. It has been 70 years since then and the taboo still remains. You would think that with technology creating a cultural speedway of development worldwide that we would quickly transcend such a cultural triviality. But instead the stache-taboo has been further ingrained into, a now, global culture. Its so fascinating that although the amount of facial hair (or style) is irrelevant to the actual character and morals of the man, the way that that man is perceived by those around him (because of his facial hair) changes enormously. The future of the Toothbrush mustache seems bleak at this point as it has become a trademark of Fascism and evil as seen in the graph (see below). Humans ability to personify any and all objects is incredible, but unfortunate when the personification becomes too serious and imbedded into the fabric of the culture. Because at the end of the day we know that the Hitler Stache only has as much meaning as we (culture) let it.
There have been 44 presidents from the start of America until now and there have been many trade-offs amidst the Democrats and Republicans over a variety of issues between then and now. But there has been at least one thing the Presidents of the Republican party have a total monopoly on: Beards. Its true, to date there have only been 5 U.S. Presidents in American history that have had the ability / courage to grow a full beard for their term. Thats around 11% or 1 out of 10(-ish) of all Presidents have had a beard. But that isn’t even the most interesting part about it. All 5 of our beloved bearded Republican Presidents served their time (I mean term) between March 4, 1861 and March 4, 1889. Thats only a 28 year spread! During those 28 years there were 7 Presidents, and out of those 7 Presidents 5 of them had had beards.
It is my belief that Presidential appearance, for the most part, is directly correlated to what the people of America think (or want to be) a visible image of an American “leader”. So I poured over wikipedia for possible links between beards, and this specific time period in American history, to make it so commonplace for even the President to desire a beard. I found that during this time period America was at the tale end of the Westward expansion. I theorize that, as with most trends, the ideologies of the great American pioneers started via grassroots to gradually, through relational osmosis, to take hold into mainstream culture and gradually over time became a cultural norm. In other words as burly mountain men and lumberjacks (think Johnny Appleseed or Paul Bunyan) formed a new culture in response to the different lifestyle demands of the West, they innovated a new American ethos (that included beards), and naturally the President would reflect these changes in cultural trends.