Great beards in history

Garrison Ebie

The beard: an unrefined yet classy affirmation to society, thriving out from the face of man. But what do they mean? Why would anyone choose to have a head full of face fur?

What we’re dealing with here is a natural part of a man’s anatomy. Either they actively try to dispose of ever-occurring facial hair, or they decide to just let it all go. The beard is a statement. Whatever that statement might be is a complete mystery to everyone else besides the beard’s owner. Do not question this.

Throughout history, many prominent figures have grown beards that have gone on to be quite influential, if not completely famous. The following is a list of these men and their contribution to the beard world.

• Abraham Lincoln – It would be difficult to compile this list without beginning here. You know him. You love him. He’s America’s 16th president and guided the nation through the Civil War. A former Illinois congressman, Lincoln was the first president with a beard and, in fact, did not even begin to grow one until taking his oath of office in 1861.

• Karl Marx – A German economist, philosopher and a whole range of other smart-guy titles, Marx is seen as the man responsible for instigating communism in the 19th century. Regardless of anyone’s point of view on socialism, his beard should be seen as a revolution on its own. White as snow, it blended with the rest of the hair on his balding scalp, creating a fluffy circle that Marx’s beady eyes peaked out of.

• Billy Gibbons – The guitarist and vocalist for the rock band ZZ Top is responsible for such songs as “Gimme All Your Lovin'” and “Legs.” His bandmate Dusty Hill has a similar beard, which is just as impressive, but only one of these can be chosen. The beard is long, scruffy and has looked the same for nearly 40 years. It should be considered an accomplishment to keep facial hair of this caliber for such a long time.

• Rick Rubin – This beard would be located in the same chapter of the beard book as Gibbons’. The only distinction is this one is jet black and almost constantly accompanied by a smooth-looking pair of sunglasses. Rubin is primarily known as the co-founder of Def Jam Records and as the original DJ for the Beastie Boys. Considering his involvement in the unconventional merging of hip-hop and rock music, Rubin’s beard fits right in with his contribution to the music industry.

• Jesus- That’s right. Jesus of Nazareth, the guy that got a Y chromosome from the creator of the universe. Jesus had style. He was homeless, wore Birkenstocks and never shaved. Jesus makes this list because of his heavy influence on modern beard culture. More than 2,000 years later, people tend to follow his look more than his teachings.

• Yosemite Sam- Even though he isn’t necessarily a real person in the flesh and blood sense, Yosemite still had a great face full of striking red hair. For those unfamiliar, he’s the gun-toting rabble-rouser developed by Warner Bros. that was never able to quite outsmart that clever Bugs Bunny. Yosemite’s thick red facial hair almost carries him across the ground he walks on.

• Osama bin Laden – This is the supposed orchestrator of the greatest American tragedy in 60 years. No one really knows for sure whether he’s still alive, but his spirit still drives determined terrorist organizations all across the globe. In Osama’s culture, it’s common for all men to carry a beard upon their face, but this man is 6 feet 8 inches of pure nastiness with a curly black get-up on his chin. His beard will be recognized just as long as his name is in the books.

• Chuck Norris – You’ve heard all the jokes. You may have even invented some yourself. Chuck’s beard probably has magical healing powers and can grow 6 inches in a matter of hours. The former star of “Walker, Texas Ranger” is also a body builder and a master of martial arts. His beard may only be the “six days without shaving” shadow, but it’s an important player in beard history.

• Poseidon – Also known as the god of the sea and the culprit of earthquakes across the globe, Poseidon exists in ancient Greek mythology as the brother of Zeus. Don’t get on this guy’s bad side or he’ll strike down his trident and cause some pretty nasty tidal waves and shipwrecks. He may not have been the most popular god, but he probably had the best beard.

• Charles Darwin – Maybe that trip to the Galapagos Islands made this guy want just as much hair as those chimpanzee ancestors of his. Darwin is the founder of modern biology and developed the theory of natural selection. Blame him for all those boring science classes you couldn’t stand in high school. The man was thoroughly bald yet had a beard so long that he could wipe the sweat off his face with it.

So there you have it, some of the greatest beards ever to come out of cheeks and chins. These are obviously not the only greats, merely a fraction of the endless possibilities that can arise in the absence of blades and shaving cream.

Garrison Ebie is an electronic media production major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].