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Jan 30, 2023


Oliver Steinberg

Yes, men have been discriminated against because of beards--not so much in this century, but I can vividly recall the 1950's and 1960's when beards, mustaches, or even extended sideburns were uncommon, unpopular, and regarded as at best eccentric, more likely as antisocial or even subversive, and often as possible indicia of sexual peculiarity. One oft-mentioned trigger of adults' prejudice against Elvis Presley was the conspicuous cultivation of his sideburns. Then when young men began wearing long hair (past the collar) after 1965-66, you'd have thought civilization was collapsing. Expelled from school, fired or not hired for jobs, tossed out of restaurants, harrassed by police--if that's not discrimination, I don't know what is. All of that was routine, commonplace, systematic. A musical group called "Five Man Electrical Band" had a 1971 hit song protesting the common job-posting disclaimer "long-haired freaky people need not apply."
Rather than scoffing at Westerberg, why not enlighten him that his hirsuteness links him spiritually and culturally to the peace & love, acid-dropping, pot-smoking, tree-hugging, antiwar beatniks and hippies from the baby boomer generation? A little mind-expansion might do him good.

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