KNOWLES AND TAYLOR: MSA demands respect

In his Feb. 20 response to the New York Police Department’s monitoring of the Yale MSA, President Richard Levin paid mere lip service to the founding ideals of our beloved alma mater. As co-presidents of the Mustached Students Association (MSA), we go further and condemn the New York Police Department’s actions as baseless facial profiling.

President Levin is at least correct to acknowledge that, for decades, Mustached Americans have “too often been the target of thoughtless stereotyping, misplaced fear and bigotry.” The evil deeds of a few mustached individuals — Hitler, Stalin, Dave Navarro — do not speak for a majority, or even a plurality, of our community. Contrary to the ignorant, face-ist rhetoric that has sprouted across our nation and at our University, the vast majority of Mustached Americans strongly oppose violent hair-orism. The Yale MSA has been accused of no crime (except for looking good), and the NYPD’s surveillance is unwarranted.

The right-wing media have perpetuated the false notion that everybody sporting an organic soup-strainer is a Navarro-facist who advocates the implementation of hair’ia law in the United States. In the Wall Street Journal in October, reporter Ruth Graham asked, “Is America ready for its first hairy-lipped commander in chief in a century?”

The answer should be obvious, and it’s just this sort of chaetophobic language that has kept Mustached Americans out of the White House since William Howard Taft 1878. Today, mustached candidates like Jimmy McMillan, Vermin Supreme and Ambassador John Bolton are cut short and swept to the fringes of the 2012 campaign.

We ourselves have been victims of face-ism. Since embracing our Mustached American heritage, we have received insults and threats from some of our closest friends and relatives. Our cookie-dusters and flavor-savers have been called everything from “trash stashes” to “nose bugs.” Bigots use the stereotypes common in face-ist culture to portray us as mass murderers, pedophiles and lovers of NASCAR. Face-ist bigotry here at Yale even prompted our own provost, Peter Salovey, to shave his famous crumb-catcher in the face of community pressure in 2009.

Face-ists ignore the facts. Contrary to popular belief, recent American Mustache Institute (AMI) research has shown that mustaches improve attractiveness by more than 38 percent. Furthermore, by shaving less frequently, Mustached Americans save water and assist conservation efforts. Yet despite such aesthetic and environmental contributions to our community, AMI studies show mustache acceptance in the United States has declined by over 60 percent since 1969. This trend is unacceptable, and we must reverse this pattern of intolerance.

That’s why the Yale MSA will be joining with MSAs from across the country in the AMI’s Million Mustache March on Washington. First and foremost, we will show the NYPD and the American public that we have nothing to hide (except our upper lips). More importantly, we will lobby Congress to pass the Stimulus to Allow for Critical Hair Expenses Act. The STACHE Act will stimulate our stagnant economy by providing a $250 tax refund for Mustached Americans, who currently bear an unfair burden for their work looking good and preserving the environment. The STACHE Act would be a critical step toward facial equality, showing facial minorities nationwide that Congress will protect our civil rights and end the war on men’s health.

For years, mustached luminaries like Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi have fought for peace, tolerance and respect. As Yale students and perhaps future leaders ourselves, we must not sit idly by as our public officials trim away at our civil liberties.

After quickly combing the News’ comment boards, we’ve found that this clean-cut issue has been clouded by ad hominem attacks and an almost religious fervor. We know that politics can get hairy, but we nonetheless hold out hope for the day when true facial equality will emerge. In the meantime, we’ll just have to keep a stiff upper lip.

Michael Knowles and Nate Taylor are seniors in Davenport College and co-presidents of the Mustached Students Association.


  • The Anti-Yale

    When in 1968 I was denied a teaching job in Auburn, New York because (and I quote from the rejection letter) “your beard would create a community problem,” I protested by founding the NAABP (National Association for the Advancement of Bearded People).

    I heartily endorse the MSA (Mustached Student Association) at Yale, it’s genetic hair-apparent


    Founder, NAABP, 1968-2012

  • basho

    Not sure if satire…

    or just trash

    • dolphinfetus

      If you honestly can’t detect this as satire then there is something seriously wrong with you.

      • penny_lane

        I think (hope?) basho was simply suggesting that the article is too poorly done to qualify as true satire.

        • LtwLimulus90

          disagreed. I think this is wonderful.

          • penny_lane

            True satire adds to larger discourse. This article does little more than make light of one side of a complex issue where both sides have legitimate, deeply important concerns.

          • KnowlesAndTaylor

            This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the anti-trolling agreement.

          • dolphinfetus


          • dolphinfetus

            This article makes light of the stupid complaints of the real MSA — it adds to the larger discourse by pointing out how idiotic race and religion politics have become in our country.

          • penny_lane

            Civil rights are idiotic now? Good to know…

  • public_editor

    If Knowles and Taylor were funny, this article would only be mildly offensive. The fact that their humor is pathetic just makes both of them look like fools.

    • pub1ic_editor

      Wait, sorry, just read it. Pretty funny.

      • public__editor

        Wow. Way to be immature and pretend (very poorly) to be me.

  • River_Tam

    Look boys, some people just don’t like mustachioed men. You can’t change how people feel about these things.

    The fact of the matter is that Hitler, Stalin, Pasha, Tojo, Leopold II, Saddam, Guevara, Castro, and Bin Laden all had facial hair. If you can’t see the connection, I can’t help it, but I refuse to live in a world of political correctness.

    Yes, there are good men who sport facial hair and are not genocidal authoritarian leaders bent on mass-murder. But why take the risk? Men with facial hair should be carefully tracked to ensure that none of them invade Poland.

    Plus, men look better clean shaven or with a five-o-clock shadow.

    • public_editor

      River_Tam, Knowles and Taylor should have consulted you before they published this piece.

      • dolphinfetus

        public_editor, you just like River_Tam’s comment more than this column because she satirizes the conservative argument while the columnists satirize the liberal perspective. Get a sense of humor.

        • domlawton

          Yes, because River_Tam’s comments are always such bastions of liberal orthodoxy.


          • dolphinfetus

            Yes, which is why her comment was satirical, as is this whole column — but in this particular case, she was satirizing herself, that is, satirizing a conservative perspective. Read through it again, I promise you don’t need a degree in English literature to figure it out.

          • domlawton

            Alternately, self-satire is usually funnier than condescending to mock a position you wish were marginalized in the first place, so public_editor was right. It’s probably not worth belaboring the point, though. If this comment section is anything to go by, discussing what is and isn’t funny with you is a lost cause.

        • piersonpiersoncollege

          sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

          or rather

          sometimes everything to do with this is ridiculous, so no need to get up in arms either way

        • public_editor

          No, I like River_Tam’s comment more than this column because it’s effective use of satire. The perspective is ultimately irrelevant; one is funny, the other is not. Also, if you read some of my other comments, you’d know that I’m actually not entirely opposed to the NYPD’s actions.

          • public__editor

            …on second thought, the column’s political message was clouding my judgement. Michael and Nate, I apologize. A more masterful piece of comedic writing has never appeared in the YDN.

          • pub1ic_editor

            Stop pretending to be me.

          • public__editor

            MESSAGE TO YDN WEBSITE MODERATORS: Please, please deactivate that false account (pub1ic_editor). The comment section is meant for discussion, not trolling and infantile chicanery.

          • pub1ic_editor

            …on second thought, don’t deactivate it.

  • DrAbrahamJonasFroman

    Yale Mustached Americans & Interested Third Parties,

    As we fight all walks of lower nose forestry discrimination, you indeed have a partner in the American Mustache Institute, and we shall ensure the Mustached American community has your collective backs as well. Moving forward, we hope Yale students broadly support the Million Mustache March by coming to and participating online, and then by joining us April 1 in Washington for the march of 1 million Mustached Americans.

    Carry on,

    Dr. Abraham Jonas Froman
    Chief Executive Officer
    The American Mustache Institute

    • penny_lane

      I thought you were the Sausage King of Chicago?

      • roflairplane


        • penny_lane

          Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

  • penny_lane

    Wow, there were no grounds to remove that comment. Is Knowles’s bff on the YDN board or something?

  • Dedwards

    “Is America ready for its first hairy-lipped commander in chief in a century?”

    You’re not talking about Hillary, are you?

    • elijah


  • sexxy1

    way to make sure you will never be elected to public office. i mean you guys are known to be political and douchey, so that’s the goal, right?