Friday, May 28, 2004

Campaign Diary, Day 6: Keeping tabs on the lip hair

The Montreal Gazette's Andy Riga is keeping an excellent election campaign blog. It's quite good, but -- being a blog -- a few errors slip in from time to time. For instance, yesterday, Riga wrote that Robert Borden was the last Canadian Prime Minister with a moustache. Your resident political lip-hair historian set him straight (see May 27, 2004 5:04 PM entry):

Yesterday, in an item about Jack Layton's moustache, we said Robert Borden was the last PM with hair on his upper lip. Today, unlike Layton, we will come clean.

“No way, dude! Louis St. Laurent was the last mustachioed PM,” was the response we got today from J. Kelly Nestruck, a National Post arts reporter, who covered the moustache beat while at The McGill Daily.

That would be correct. Our lame excuse: St. Laurent’s was a tasteful, modest one, barely visible on his official portrait.

We apologize for the error.
It's true. I did cover the moustache beat. Here's an article I wrote for The Daily about Alex Trebek's decision to shave his moustache:
According to a recent story in The National Post, the Sudbury-born Trebek recently surprised contestants and producers when he returned from a lunch break with his famous moustache shorn. The new clean-shaven look has lead some political analysts to speculate that he will retire from Jeopardy! and run for political office.

An Ottawa Citizen poll, conducted in 1998, showed that Canadians prefer their politicians to be devoid of beards, moustaches and mullets. "Canadians have historically, postwar, preferred politicians without facial hair. They feel that clean-cut faces are more trust-worthy," said Michael Marzolini, who worked on the poll. "As a result, clean-cut politicians usually have an edge in elections..."

Canadians may prefer non-moustached politicians because of the strong association between moustaches and child molesters. According to some figures, 75 per cent of sex offenders in Illinois have facial hair.

The last prime minister to have a moustache was Louis St. Laurent, who was PM from 1948 to 1957. According to a government website, "His rapport with children proved particularly appealing and he was dubbed ‘Uncle Louis.’"
Disclaimer: I'm sure Uncle Louis just liked kids, that's all.

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