Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Mustache Analysis

So our task was to name this guy's demographic:

Let's check out the votes:

A) An ex-hippie - 1
B) A redneck
C) A scientist
D) An ex-hippie-redneck
E) An ex-hippie-scientist - 2
F) A redneck-scientist - 1
G) An ex-hippie-redneck-scientist - 1

Tabulating by each of the three principal components the vote breaks down this way:

Ex-hippie: 4 out of 5
Redneck: 2 out of 5
Scientist: 3 out of 5

So we have a strong majority identifying the subject as an ex-hippie, a slight majority voting for scientist, and a slight minority voting for redneck.

Now for my purely subjective analysis of the results by principal characteristics:

Mustache: Individuals of all three categories could plausibly wear a mustache, although it strikes me as more distinctly characteristic of the ex-hippie and redneck groups.

Hair: Certainly some rednecks have hair like this and some scientists have hair like this, but they are typically ex-hippie-rednecks and ex-hippie-scientists. I believe the hair is the principal factor in the strong majority for ex-hippie.

Shirt: To my eye, the shirt looks ex-hippie. It strikes me as a sort of "comfortable", denim-chambray type of thing favored by aging baby-boomers. But, really, it's non-conclusive.

Expression: He's angry, or at least grumpy. For me, this nudges him towards redneck, but others reacted differently. Sarah took this as an indicator of ex-hippie-ness. Certainly, many ex-hippies are rather angry. Then again, those scientists can get kind of irritable, always scrounging for grant money, and never having anyone understand them at parties when they explain what they do. Hmm.

The ex-hippie-redneck-scientist intersection is a strange and puzzling place, but thanks to your help, everyone, we are just a little closer to understanding it. Thank you.


  1. It is the hair brushed straight back that serves to rule out redneck membership. This is a standard Nova-documentary talking-head style, perhaps derived from Albert Einstein. A redneck of this age with hair this length would need what some call a 'starburst' hairstyle, or else shorter hair altogether. QED.

  2. Yes. You are exactly right. There certainly are straight up (non-ex-hippie) rednecks with longish hair, but as you say, not with this style. And it's good that you mention Albert Einstein. There's certainly a tradition of eccentric and sometimes longish scientist-hair that predates and is independent of the hippie movement.