“the usually concurrent emergence of pubic hair does not provide a comparable ritual opportunity”
Among women there is indeed an emerging practice of partial or complete pubic shaving. In younger cohorts this is the majority practice.
Herbenick et al. 2010. “Pubic Hair Removal among Women in the United States: Prevalence, Methods, and Characteristics.” Journal of Sexual Medicine 7:3322-3330.
I remember exactly when I started my beard. It was in September 1959. In the 53 years since, my beard has become part of my self image. I can’t imagine myself without one, nor do I want to. It’s just who I am.
An educated, educator, sounds educated…? Maybe whoever is calling you didactic should just go watch some reality tv and stop reading entirely. Bacon… dicactic… you? I didn’t think so.
When I got my first teaching job (circa 1967) I had to shave off my beard; I think the administration was afraid of being accused of running a hippie commune.
Unfortunately Professor Berger consulted Wikipedia (which he calls “that apex of democratic epistemology”) instead of Uncyclopedia about beards and sociologists.
Sociology is a cult of the Beardshaviks as the three major sociological theorists – Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and Karl Marx – all sported beards. Oddly, August Comte, the so-called father of sociology, sported no beard.
Americans such as Talcott Parsons and Daniel Bell never quite made it as full-bearded sociologists, having only sported mustaches.
Being beardless, it was sociologically predictable that Berger would eventually write his heretical “Whatever Happened to Sociology?” (posted online). In that article, Berger eschewed “methodological fetishism,” by which we presume he really meant any facial identity fetishism for sociologists.
If as Wikipedia claims there is a “philosopher’s beard” there is also the “sociologist’s beard.” Witness twin sociologists Peter Dreier (Occidental College) and Steven Erie (U. California San Diego): same guy, same Marxist ideological bent.
Dreier and Erie are empirical proof of Robert Musil’s doppelganger thesis of basic anthropological human identity explained in his opus “A Man Without Bearded Qualities.” The sociologist’s chin style beard is not only worn as an anti-bourgeois identity but as a badge of poverty studies entrepreneurialism, just as business tycoon Donald Trump wears a shock of hair on his head as an affectation.
The central concept of Berger’s sociology of religion is “beardedness.” As that sociologist par excellence Scott Adams once wrote:
“Ask a deeply religious Christian if he’d rather live next to a bearded Muslim that may or may not be plotting a terror attack, or an atheist that may or may not show him how to set up a wireless network in his house. On the scale of prejudice, atheists don’t seem so bad lately” (The Dilbert Blog: Atheists: The New Gays, 11/19/06).
Berger’s “beardological” theory of human society had it correct in his classic “Invitation to Sociology” where he wrote: “one cannot fully grasp the political world unless one understands it as a confidence game.” As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it:
“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
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For an interesting take on Jewish views on beards and shaving, see this article by Rabbi Shlomo Brody in the Jerusalem Post.
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I recall a novel in which a bearded fellow is asked to consider shaving by a school administrator. In response, the new teacher helpfully suggests that he could hang a portrait of Abraham Lincoln in the classroom.
Dr. Berger, this young Lutheran applauds all your blogging efforts. Your wisdom and humor have taught me so much.
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