Thursday, September 12, 2013

Something Provocative for the Week

Something Provocative for the Week

The Prominence of Facial Hair in Today’s Society

Forget print culture for a minute and think about- you guessed it- facial hair culture.  While perusing the front page of the Wisconsin State Journal online to find a topic for this article I came across a story about Madison’s own Chris Kriskovic. A local cab driver for the well-known “Green Cab”, Kriskovic has avoided his razor for two years. With a bottle of hair spray he transformed his beard into seven points and two curly mustache tips. The work of art that resulted won him first place in the freestyle full beard category of New Orleans’s National beard and Mustache Championships.

Kriskovic’s journey to fame got me thinking about beards in pop culture. Traditionally, a manicured mustache signaled a law enforcement official, however recently facial hair has had other meanings in pop culture. Most notably are the men of the Robertson Clan on A&E’s popular show Duck Dynasty. The men proudly display their beards as a testament to their manhood and redneck status. They relentlessly ridicule younger brother Jep when they suspect he has colored his.  In AMC’s hit series Breaking Bad, Walter White plays the role of genius high school chemistry teacher turned millionaire meth producer. White’s goatee transforms him from loving father Walter into “Heisenberg” – his criminal life pseudonym. The next time you spot a popular character trying a new facial hair look, dig for the meaning behind the beard.

The Duck Dynasty Men:

Heisenberg’s look:


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That is provocative! I am reminded of the classic signal in the Star Trek Mirror Universe that when a character has a goatee, like Spock, he must be Evil Spock.

    But I could use a little help from other students in connecting this post to our class readings, discussions, and topic ... anyone care to try to make a link between male facial hair in pop culture and the information society?