Over the weekend I went to see Steven Spielberg’s latest film, “Lincoln.” Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance was Oscar-worthy as Abraham Lincoln, Sally Field was convincing as Mary Todd Lincoln, and the rest of the star-studded cast was great. It was based on the book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and by all accounts was very historically accurate.
I couldn’t help but notice how much furrier men were back in those days. Most men had some kind of facial hair and very few were clean shaven. There were so many styles and variations of whiskers, some being quite creative, others even out of control. These were men of distinction, senators, congressmen, business men and the like. How would our politicians of today look with faces of fur? I can just imagine John Boehner, Speaker of the House with a ZZ Top-style beard, Vice President Biden looking like Mitch Miller, or President Obama sporting whiskers like, well…Lincoln. Nowadays an abundance of facial hair may indicate eccentricity or kookiness, whereas in days of old it was a sign of wisdom and virility. I for one would love to see this fashion trend return.
Here’s to a pursuit of the hirsute! Viva La Whisker Revolucion!
On Thanksgiving my daughters unearthed this rusty tintype photograph while rummaging through a pile of junk behind our shed. At first I imagined that they had come across an undiscovered picture of Abraham Lincoln. After cleaning it a bit, of course we realized it was just of some unknown distinguished-looking fellow, sporting a fashionable stove pipe hat and a full beard. Kind of looks a little like old Abe though, doesn’t he?