Fascism and the Mustache

Take into mind our supposedly “anti”-Fascism First World that prides itself on freedom. But, do countries like the United States, England and Australia really allow people to be who they want to be? Firstly, I would like to examine the word fascism. This word depicts a notion of a leader who has the right of total control over the government and people. An example could be Benito Mussolini or Adolf Hitler during World War II.

This nation is very much unlike Nazi Germany. However, take into mind a man that models a toothbrush moustache above his upper lip to be present in, let’s say for the purpose of this example, a restaurant. Now, for instance, this man was minding his own business. Would he be entitled to simply have his facial hair for the reason of fashion, or perhaps personal choice? How many people would automatically assume that he has some sort of Nazi connection, or is perhaps blatantly “evil”? The answer would be that a majority of people would believe it to be intimidating, scary and simply immoral. Even though it should not hurt anybody, the toothbrush moustache (also known as the ‘Hitler’ moustache) is generally cited as something that is “wrong” in the minds of today.

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In November 2007, a Jewish man by the name of Rich Cohen stated that he grew the moustache “for the same reason Richard Pryor said the word ‘n*****.’ I wanted to defuse it.” When the word ‘n*****’ is said now, it’s positive. The recent surge of using the once racial-slur has been brought upon because the kids who say it do not have a negative history with it. They do not want, or need, to buy into a culture that they are not actually a part of. This is much the same with the toothbrush moustache.

A symbol does not need to be retired into what could be described as a “non-usage” graveyard. Why not simply de-contextualize these symbols so that they do not reside like a boogeyman in a box? British newspaper The Telegraph mentioned that “The look first emerged among the working classes in the 1920s as a reaction to the more elaborate moustaches grown by the upper classes.” The style was even adopted by a legendary comedian Charlie Chaplin before Hitler had sported his. This style was something that used to be popular, just like jeans are popular now. If a tyrant figure rose today that just so happened to wear a Ripcurl tee-shirt, would it be a logical thing to socially forbid anyone from wearing clothes from this common brand? A pioneer in the modern use of the now rare facial hair, or rather racial hair, is Richard Herring. He created a comedy show entitled ‘Hitler Moustache’ in which he challenged people’s beliefs.

He said in defence to accusations “It feels like a victory for Hitler that, 70 years on, he still has a vestige of a victory that this is still his moustache and not, for instance, Charlie Chaplin’s.” Herring described his experiences in public with the moustache to be not quite pleasant. He thought that at any moment someone might smack him in the face. Like a young misbehaving student in a classroom that thrives on the negative attention of peers, it only grants further enjoyment to the student when the annoyed individuals do not ignore him and move on. If there is going to be a constant attachment to someone who supposedly “killed” the toothbrush moustache style by means of being infamous, then there will be no motivation to move out of that abyss of symbolism. With the points expressed, I hope to have brought an understanding of truly what fascism is.

If we fight fascism with fascism and make it forbidden to discuss it, then we become fascists ourselves.