Sunday, April 10, 2011

Of Men, or of Moustache?

His greasy fingers are thick as worms,
his words weighty hammers slamming their target.
His cockroach moustache seems to snicker,
and the shafts of his high-topped boots gleam


As this 1933 poem from Osip Mandelstam suggests, moustaches have been given a bad name throughout history mostly in part to their owner's reputation. From Adolf Hitler's "Hitler Stache'" to Stalin's aformentioned "Cockroach", many famous dictators sported famous moustaches.

Joseph Stalin Moustache Dictator

But this again poses the age-old question of the Chicken and the Egg. Did the notorious dictator leave a lasting legacy of a memorable moustache? Or was it indeed the Mo' that made the man?

Charles Homans of Foreign Policy provides an educational and entertaining look back at the men and the moustaches that have autocratically ruled nations. While his examination does not offer much insight beyond mere description, it is a well researched piece that imbued more historical knowledge upon me than 16+ years of schooling has done.

 Turkish dictator Ataturk Kaiser moustache

From Saddam Hussein's "Desert Eagle" to Robert Mugabe's overlookable "Hitler Lite", this article is a nice way to kick off your week over a cup of coffee. For its cheeky aesthetic, my choice has to be Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's "The Kaiser". My eyebrows cower in shame as his face-fuzz nearly reaches full-circle.

What's your fave?

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