The Second-Worst Thing About Hitler
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If History teaches us one thing, it's this: all fashions, good or bad, are cyclical. No matter how embarrassingly hideous an ex-fashion may appear in the decade immediately following its fall from vogue, it will inevitably return, embraced by a new generation. Skirt lengths rise and fall like the tide, hairstyles come and go, pleats, elbow patches, bell bottoms, shoulder pads, skinny ties, Velcro sneakers, stone-washed jeans... all have returned, or soon will. Laugh now, but you will smile with un-hip pride the day your son or daughter roots through your closet, discovers some old piece of clothing that you probably overpaid for and have never quite gotten around to tossing, and declares, "Cool! It's so retro!"
Yes, all fashions die only to be reborn in their own ashes, like the mighty phoenix. Except for the Chaplin moustache.
Witness the rebirth of sideburns, goatees, van Dykes, soul patches... The style of men's facial hair returns like five o'clock shadow. But where is the Chaplin? This was a fine moustache; short, neat, solid, strong. It provides a horizontally-symmetrical complement to its below-the-lip cousin, the soul patch. It hangs like a necktie from the nose. It looks like an umbrella over a cleft chin. It nicely covers the philtrum*, while not encroaching upon the laugh-line boundaries. A moustache that, due to it's compact size, can adequately combat clingy milk or soup residue. It won't tickle a lady's cheek while kissing, nor will it obscure the dashing good looks of its owner.
In its heyday, this moustache was worn proudly by scholars and statesmen, young and old, but most notably, of course, by the comic genius for whom it's named, Charlie Chaplin. From the earliest silent pictures in the dawn of the Twentieth Century, up through the Great Depression, Charlie Chaplin was the most prominent moustachioed man, of this or any style of whiskers. Along with an ill-fitting suit, hat, and cane, this tiny 'stache completed the comic's Little Tramp persona.
And then, of course, Chaplin (the man) would find his position as most famous face behind the Chaplin (the 'stache) usurped by Adolph Hitler. The tiniest of moustaches was now more recognizable as part of the combat boot/swastika armband/silly-haircut-at-a-jaunty-angle ensemble. Charlie Chaplin capitolized on the fact that he shared his distinctive mustache with the not-so-great dictator in the satirical 1940 film "The Great Dictator." While this film was a brilliant satire of world politics, and a brief laugh at the growing fear in Europe and America, it was also Chaplin's surrender to Hitler. He realized he lost the moustache to der Fuhrer, and, in his distinctively Chaplin-esque way, decided to bow out with laughter.
The Chaplin became so closely identified with Hitler, that it has entirely disappeared from the upper lips of today's young men and women. Um. Just the men. It was never worn by women, thank God. Today, the only place one might find this style moustache is on Broadway, by actors playing Adolph Hitler in the musical, "The Producers," currently the most succesful show in the history of American theater.
Of course, unintentionally ruining a good and decent style of facial hair pales in comparison to Hitler's one-two punch of attempted world domination coupled with genocide.
* The philtrum is the canal-like structure running from the bridge of the nose towards the center of the upper lip. Don't worry, I had to look it up, too.
Josh Abraham knows his mustaches.