Mossback is biased on the subject of beards: They're always in style. But chin whiskers are still subject to debate outside the Great Nearby where fashion sometimes flirts with the beard, but razors usually win out in the end.
Maybe the Santa-season has something to do with a recent outbreak of beard-talk. Prince William of Great Britain made the Huffington Post with his new beard--something long associated with once and future kings. They even have a poll where you can vote on whether he should keep it (last I looked, readers were narrowly favoring the new look).
In the world of American politics, modern beards are mostly ephemeral, often a handicap. Al Gore grew a beard after the election debacle of 2000, causing some to wonder if he'd decided to give up and become a hippie. Bill Richardson tried sporting a beard during his presidential campaign, but sadly shaved it off when an appointment in the Obama administration was in the offing. Beardlessness may flow from the boss: Obama has admitted that he can't grow facial hair. Even so, he has said he misses Richardson's whiskers. Still, Obamamania could be a setback for facial hair nationally.
Here, some Northwest politicos have toyed with beards. Jim McDermott had one for awhile, looking like a near-twin of his "Kindergarten" pal, author Robert Fulghum. And then there was Mike Lowry in the 1980s. His beard caused people to remark, unhelpfully, how much it made him look like Yasser Arafat.
Portland Monthly offers up a recent gallery of beard-wearing locals is what may be the "beardiest city in America." Interesting is what some beard-wearers say about their hair. Reasons for growing a beard include sloth, family tradition, winter warmth, a statement of manliness, an effort to look older and wiser. Says one: 'êA beard helps solidify the cultural significance of the Pacific Northwest and the rugged people who live here.'ê A true mossback has spoken.