Bearded Wonders

Self Portrait number 5131 Muted

Who knew I was showing solidarity with the striking WGA members?

Consider the great beards in history: Confucius, Abe Lincoln, Rasputin. The whiskers seem inseparable from the men. Yet for many guys it is the decision to forgo regular shaving, as a reaction to circumstance, and not the resultant goatee or Vandyke, that counts. “Beards have always marked transitions in men’s lives,” Allan Peterkin, a leading pogonologist, says. (He is the author of “One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair.”) Thus we get Al Gore after the election (whiskers of grievance and release), and Ted Kaczynski in his cabin (isolation, madness), and Johnny Damon with the Red Sox (superstition)—all iconic beards in their proper context.

Conan O’Brien, now forty-four, grew his first-ever beard—“a hobby on my face,” he called it—only recently, after his late-night show went off the air as a result of the Writers Guild of America strike. Six weeks in, he was beginning to resemble a hockey player in mid-“playoff beard” form, or, as he preferred to put it, a “lone gunman.” “In my line of work there’s no opportunity to grow a beard,” O’Brien said, shortly before Christmas. “These shows are the organizing principles of our lives, and the moment they stop you start to go insane.” That morning, a paparazzi photo of O’Brien had appeared in the Post, alongside one of David Letterman, who was also, evidently, growing a strike beard (“LATE GUYS TURN INTO ‘CAVE’ MEN”). “Literally, it’s something to do,” O’Brien said. “You can check on the progress of your beard.”

[snip] O’Brien was threatening to stick with it long enough to bring his beard back on the air this week, when his show is scheduled to resume, almost as a form of blackmail: “Let’s get these writers a fair shake or this beard stays.” A side benefit of his new hobby was that it was giving him something to joke about in the absence of a writing staff. “This is the only creative act I’ve been allowed to participate in,” he said and, as if to keep in shape, continued to rattle off shaggy inspirations (“Charlie Daniels, now that’s a killer beard”), quips (“I injected caulking into it about a week ago”), and punch lines (“I’m the only guy chopping wood outside his Manhattan co-op”). [From Dept. of Labor: Strike Beards: The Talk of the Town: The New Yorker]
Message from the Deities?

Even funnier (to me anyway) is that I received a free sample Schick Quattro razor in a Amazon package (of metric hex wrenches, if you were curious). Is some pasta-deity trying to send me a message?

Oh, and both Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart made beard-related jokes on their respective first shows of 2008. (embedded below with the suck-tastic Viacom Flash player. It might work for you, or not).

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 10, 2008 11:39 AM.

We Book Private Parties was the previous entry in this blog.

More Plastic Water Bottle Blues is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.37