Famous Moustaches – Part 1: The Moustache of Madness

Friday, October 22, 2004

As some of you may know, my fiancé, Dacnar, sports a mighty mean moustache. It's strange how some men’s faces were made for moustaches, and when you see pictures of them without one, you’re baffled because something is missing. When Dacnar first walked into the building in my old school, when I first set eyes on him, he had just entered a room and immediately began shaking the hands of men around him, like a visiting dignitary. Or…like a great dictator.

In honour of my upcoming nuptials, I present the first in my series of FAMOUS MOUSTACHES…THE MOUSTACHE OF MADNESS

moustaches of madness

In my short experience, and short research, one thing has become evident: the 20th century displayed many a dictator sporting a certain kind of facial hair…the moustache! While they vary in types, from a curt and almost square Hitler, to a cheeky and vibrant Saddam, each of the following show style and a distinctive flair with their moustaches, often contributing to their image as an icon.

There are two exceptions in this list, Einstein and Gandhi. They are not dictators, or brutal tyrants, but they fit in no other category. Einstein isn’t really a writer. He may be a physicist, but I believe Einstein to stand for something more. He is our official 20th century icon on the great genius figure. Gandhi, on the other hand, is less important in our mental imagery right now. Most people misspell his name. However, his image is indelible, and I couldn’t put him in any other sphere because he is a political icon, beyond anything else, and he’s just stark CRAZY, if you think about it. I mean, who stops eating to bring on world peace? That’s genius.

1. Adolph Hitler – misunderstood contemporary artist

I know that the general opinion of Hitler was that he was a terrible twat and evil monster. And yes, it’s true he was responsible for emotionally scarring a whole generation of Europeans. But, if we think about it in a less humanistic level, one can see that in fact Hitler was one of the least understood of the modernists. His art, wholesale lifting of Asian iconography, stands in similar weight with the plundering Picasso did of African art. However, we can see how Hitler was just better at the game. The aesthetic extended far beyond just tableaux. He organized performances, created an aesthetic you could use on furniture, and worked on fashion too. He was like Ikea, Caban and Vanessa Beecroft all boiled into one.

And if we need any other proof of his greatness, we only have to look at his greatest visual achievement: himself. He was the only one allowed to walk around hatless. And his moustache provided the anchor for the madness in his eyes.

Adolph Hitler receives the #1 prize for the moustache of madness.

2. Albert Einstein – herald for the kingdom of the mysterious geek sexual magnet

Look, he’s got fuzzy static-out of-control hair, his nose is like an overboiled frankfurter, and he always had a weight problem. But we like him, and we want to jump on him, and some girls would strip bare just to have his genius babies. With Einstein, we have the very first and the very last of the sexual icon represented by scientific genius. C’mon, you’re not having wet dreams about Hawking are you?

The only reason he lost out to Hitler, and I had a hard time because I find Einstein’s hairstyle to be a mark of genius, is exactly that. There are too many things in his face competing for attention. It’s like, what do you look at, the doughy sweet eyes, the fantastic hair…it’s all too much. Finally, Hitler wins, but only because it’s a moustache competition.

3. Joseph Stalin – destroyed world’s largest country for 50 years

What do you say to that? I mean, before Stalin we had many dictatorships. We had Napoleans, and Hannibals and Neros. But they all came from military might (well Nero just had luck) and fear. But Stalin was the first to use community enforcement, police in every member of the population, surveillance on an altogether unprecedented version, and, yes paranoia. The man gave new meaning to the idea of paranoia by converting it into a way of life. Essentially, he precipitated the daily Soviet into a state of paranoia and terror that has driven our camarades crazy, and it’s a madness they still haven’t sorted themselves from. Scary stuff.

And Stalin made moustache wax de rigeur. Look at that form!

4. Saddam Hussein – how destroying a moustache takes away his power

I’m angry at Saddam. Because he revealed the Achilles heal of every great dictator. When you grow a beard in hiding to disguise yourself, it's obvious the other side has already won. That’s pathetic. You could see how the Americans were very anxious to publish the pictures of him looking unkempt, and sporting a beard! The beard is a sign you’ve given up. It’s the antithesis of the moustache. The moustache is debonair, en forme. It shows you’re taking care of business so hard you can afford to be fetishist about a few stray hairs dripping off your nostrils. But a beard! That means you just wanna lose it, and separate yourself from the respect of human beings…either that or you’ve given up on having sex.

I’m glad he got shaved after, but we still see less pics of him with the moustache than those damn capture photos. I thought I’d give you guys a little taste of the pre-capture Saddam, back in his glory Harlequin romance days. But I’m still angry and he’s still mad.

5. Gamal Abdel-Nasser - 005

Former new model for the modern Egyptian state, this guy put that country back on the world stage since their spectacular fall from Pyramid grace. He looked modern, wearing cool cream shirts, cut his hair short, spoke in a lovely graceful accent, AND, worked his moustache like a matinee idol. A man not naturally graced with beauty, he understood the importance of a good cut and fine moustache. One of the less angular and strongly iconic of my moustaches of madness, he nevertheless remains, for me, the most charming. Just stick a cigar and a good martini in his hands for god’s sakes! Ok, he wasn’t so nice all the time, but shhhh…the music’s playing.

6. Gandhi – a gentle moustache hiding the big balls

At long last, Gandhi makes his appearance, trailing long after the big boys. But, we never saw the type of bollocks this guy kept hidden under his white robe. And I guarantee you girls, this guy must have been loaded. Look, he’s got all the signs, oversize nose, large hands and feet, monstrously flamboyant ears! But the dead giveaway is the moustache. Look at it, it’s so charming, so quiet, so inoffensive and reserved. It doesn’t need to be advertised. He’s a man that knows you know. That’s the mark of a man with the big balls.

7. Charles de Gaulle – pudding face, get off my list!

Because, yes, we’re in France, and so must give kudos to local guy whose name is plastered everywhere. In truth, I hesitated putting de Gaulle on the list because he was an infrequent moustacher. I believe he really only pulled it in during the second world war. But, that was also the height of his charisma and the source of this rise to glory. But just look at his moustache. Gosh, on his wobbly pudding face, with it’s eyes almost falling into all those folds, I dunno, the moustache looks out of place. It’s not even well-coiffed. And that hat! What’s wrong? It’s like he forgot he was French.

Still, he’s great, he’s important. And most of all, he was a better icon than he was a head of state. That’s why he made it on the moustache of madness list.

8. Franco – Pulling up the rear

People have forgotten about Franco. Most kids don’t even know about him. He’s the guy that destroyed Spain for roughly 30 years. Much more quiet about it than Stalin, though no less idiotic and monstrous, I think Franco’s moustache and face say everything about him: terrible lack of inspiration. And, he really could go without his moustache. It seems unconvincing and unconvinced to stay attached.

That’s all. Stay tuned for the next installment: The Moustache of Sex