Moustache Revival

We contemplate the Moustache today, scruffy or wise, radical or reserved, employable or not. A hairy lip can mean different things in different times. As Movember begins, we're plucking at facial hair through the ages.

Part Three of The Current

Moustache Revival - Aaron Perlut

Sure it's easy to laugh at a hank of hair extending from a man's upper lip. But despite some close shaves, the moustache never really goes away. And things are about to get very hairy this month.

Today is the beginning of Movember - a worldwide campaign to raise awareness for prostate cancer, and money for research into the disease. Prostate cancer is now the most common cancer in men.

And last year, roughly 119,000 Canadians signed up to take part in the Movember campaign by growing a moustache or supporting a moustache grower. So don't be surprised to spot a new crop of fu manchus, handlebars and pencil 'staches sprouting on the faces of men. We heard from Movember Canada spokesperson Pete Bombaci in Toronto.

Moustache popularity does seem to be growing.To talk about the recently revived mojo of the 'mo and his fight against moustache discrimination, we were joined by Aaron Perlut. He is the Chair of the American Mustache Institute and is a self-professed doctor of nuclear moustacheology. He was in St. Louis, Missouri.

Moustache Exhibition - Joanna Gilmour

For many men, moustaches are a fashion accessory. But for others, facial hair is not a choice. Sikhism, Islam and certain sects of Judaism all have specific instructions on tending whiskers.

And some people argue that moustaches, beards and sideburns can tell you a lot about the culture of a society. That scruff style is directly related to the bigger social and political forces of a time period. In fact, historians often date a painting or photograph by the length and style of the hair sprouting from a face.

Joanna Gilmour is an historian and the assistant curator of The National Portrait Gallery of Australia. She's just unveiled a new exhibition called 'Jo's Mo Show (With beards)' that looks at facial hair from the 1780s to the 1980s. She was in Canberra, Australia.

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Last Word - 75th Anniversary Promo

Coming up tomorrow on The Current, we'll celebrate the 75th anniversary of the day the first microphone was switched on here at CBC Radio. Those early years were exciting, but they weren't terribly aggressive journalistically. In fact, it was an embarrassing moment for the public broadcaster when it realized it really needed to hire some correspondents -- fast.

On today's Last Word, long-time CBC correspondent David Halton explains what happened.

Other segments from today's show:

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