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American Mustache Institute responds: chin hair negates mustache

Yesterday I took to task the American Mustache Institute for what I perceived as an unforgivable omission of Jason Campbell as deserving mention on their Best Sports Mustache of All Time list. Hogs Haven reader Black Ops and AOL Fanhouse's Sportz Assassin did their part and voted. My complaint was that there were less noteworthy athletes listed, as well as imperfect mustaches. Jason Campbell has a killer 'stache, or so I thought.

One of the great advantages of blogging is that it loves a dialogue more than, say, a newspaper. The Washington Post and the Washington Times have better things to do with their time than publish their internal mustache semantics debate. I don't have anything better to do. I don't have any reader(s), either, which really means there aren't any editorial restraints on what I can write about. If I want to start a fight over Jason Campbell's mustache, I can do so. And if the American Mustache Institute wants to bravely join me in that worthwhile discussion, I am all too happy to oblige. Posted below, with their permission, is the official response to my post from AMI:

We at the American Mustache Institute have read your complaints and fully appreciate your vigorous disagreement with the ommissions you suggest. However, Jason Campbell, as Billy Dee Williams-smooth as he may be, would never be considered as he also sports hair on his chin thus nullifying his candidacy. A true 'stache - a delicious 'stache - is one that needs no complimenting chin hair.

That being said, we would welcome a Washington-based write-in campaign as our executive director is a D.C.-area native who moved to St. Louis to found AMI so its campus would be within close proximity to the world's largest mustache - the St. Louis Arch.

Maybe a Mike Flanagan write-in effort? How about Rick Dempsey? But no Campbell - we need 100% real man and real 'stache.

But the debate is tremendous and worthy. The best sports mustache is an important cultural discussion. Because as we all know - a mustache is a terrible thing to waste.

While I appreciate the attempt, AMI is clearly trying to lose me in flattery. I'm a big fan of Billy Dee Williams. For most reader(s), Williams is most famous for his work as an actor, specifically in this ageless classic that continues to wow viewers today:

He was also in The Empire Strikes Back.

So that's a good thing, AMI. Putting Jason Campbell in the same sentence with Billy Dee Williams goes a long way with this Colt 45 fan. That said, I find any suggestion that Jason Campbell's chin hair negates either his mustache or his "real man"ness both absurd and insulting. Absurd because we are not talking about enough chin hair to qualify as a beard; a quick glance at Jason Campbell tells us that the focus of his facial hair is and remains on the upper lip.

The chin hair complements the mustache without negating it.

Insulting because I feel like this kind of facial hair splitting is counterproductive towards the greater goal of recognizing powerful grooming. Our efforts should be united towards athletes who cowardly avoid facial hair all together, not towards alienating the Jason Campbells from the Tom Sellecks of the world (by the way, Tom Selleck often times looked dangerously close to having equal amounts of chin hair to JC, yet I doubt his 'stache card ever got questioned).

In any event, though I disagree strongly with them, the AMI is entitled to their opinion. I will take them at their word that it is merely his chin stubble that preempts mention on the list, meaning that if and when JC (by their persnickety standards) sports a "true 'stache" by shaving the chin hair, they will dutifully consider him for future lists.

To show that I'm willing to rise above the pettiness of our largely semantic disagreement, to show that as much as I'm pained by their JC snub that I still appreciate a good mustache, I will also post from my brief correspondence with AMI 10 ways my own reader(s) can support the mustache -- and it is worth supporting.

Ten ways to support mustached Americans:
  1. If able, grow and wear a mustache as often as possible.
  2. If you have to send one of those silly e-mail smiles, never forget to include a mustache :-{)
  3. When discussing great actors, always include Billy Dee Williams.
  4. Pray twice daily facing the world's largest mustache - the St. Louis Arch.
  5. Send e-mails to NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams ( encouraging him to wear a mustache. Remind him Walter Cronkite had a mustache, so he should grow one too.
  6. Stand at attention whenever YMCA is played.
  7. Start a petition making Burt Reynolds' birthday a federal holiday.
  8. In full view of a mustached American, confrtont a clean shaven man and ask him why he's afraid to grow a mustache.
  9. Clap whenever Gene Shallot appears on television.
  10. Girls, just remember that before you knock your man's mustache, think about how Tom Selleck's sex appeal was drastically reduced after he shaved his mustache for Three Men & A Baby.
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