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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Fri 06
Feb
2009

The Dark Moustache of the Soul

Max I got into big trouble with my brother for that anti-ginger blog. “You’re just like Hitler,” he said, or might as well have. “It’s not 1935, you know. Demonizing people for aspects of their appearance they can’t control: we’re not doing that any more.”

“Steady on,” I protested. “It was just harmless good fun. Besides, the point was I’m a ginger when I grow a moustache. That’s what made it funny.”

“I suppose you think Auschwitz would have been fine, if only Hitler was Jewish,” my brother argued, more or less. “I suppose you think it would have been hilarious.”

I suspected that my brother, or at least this version of him I was exagerating for comic effect, was getting carried away. But he did have a point. “Redheads are one of the few remaining groups it’s still socially acceptable to ridicule,” he said, and dammit, he was right. I had been so enraptured with the possibilities for jokes when I started sprouting gingers, I didn’t stop and think. My moustache was gone, but the dark moustache on my soul would not be shaved so easily.

“History is full of red-headed achievers,” he said. “You just never hear about them. Thomas Jefferson. James Joyce. Galileo. Malcolm X.”

“Malcolm X!? Are you sure?”

Check it out for yourself.”

“Wow,” I said. “Maybe that’s why he was so angry.”

“You’re doing it again.”

“But I’m a ginger.”

“Let me explain this to you one more time.”

But seriously. Redheads rock. I love you guys. If I could grow long, amber locks, I’d be all over that. I’d let my beautiful red hair flow down to my shoulders and smell it every night before I went to sleep. Right now, I’ve got nothing. The difference between a red-haired guy and me is that he has options.

Comments

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Machine Man subscriber M.I.Minter (#347)

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
Quote: "When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."
Posted: 3760 days ago

What do you do all day?
I read Twilight for frack sake.
I'm so bored.

And you....watch movies and grow facial hair?
Books! WRITE BOOKS!
Short stories.....anything

Recomend books.

Tell us how your writing is going.

Just look at how even this site has shriveled....

2006 56 posts
2007 45 posts
2008 20 posts

this year you're on track to write 12 posts

Get in gear.

You're losing us.


Ian

Kevin Kelsey (#1511)

Location: Fayetteville, Ar USA
Quote: ""So, I just cut them up like regular chickens? 'Sure, yeah, just cut them up like regular chickens'""
Posted: 3760 days ago

But Hitler WAS jewish!

Robert (#413)

Location: Los Angeles
Quote: "A positive attitude will not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
Posted: 3760 days ago

No, Max! Stay bald. Red hair is for suckers.

Machine Man subscriber Craig Barron (#1276)

Location: Leeds, UK.
Quote: "“Trust Elizabeth to get upset over a donut.”"
Posted: 3760 days ago

Grow your hair and dye it red.

Abgrund (#3357)

Location: Atlantis
Quote: ""Redeem your mind from the hockshops of authority." - Ayn Rand"
Posted: 3760 days ago

Don't despair, there are still plenty of demographics that are permissible to mock. And when they put in a hiring quota on redheads, I can dye my hair - just like everyone else, except for those bald-headed suckers. All they can do is glue a loofa to their head, or get an armpit hair transplant. You can't wear a hat to a job interview, ha ha.

Yep, there's still plenty of freely mockable minorities...

Janet (#2030)

Location: California
Quote: "There are three kinds of people in this world: Those that can count and those that can't. Which one are you?"
Posted: 3760 days ago

I want to be blonde :]

Nianacio (#3819)

Posted: 3760 days ago

Hey, what happened to my account? I signed up here years/a few email addresses ago...Even had the password saved on my computer. :|

Anyway, Max, amber is a sort of dirty yellow. Please keep your hair color jokes straight. This is supposed to be about redheads, not blondes.

John Perkins (#1915)

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Quote: "Nothing says love like cash."
Posted: 3760 days ago

I'm a ginger and absolutely hate it. Though I've got no problem with people making jokes about it. Especially when it's in good fun rather than simply being mean.

One of my favorite South Park episodes is still "Ginger Kids." You want to make fun of gingers? I say go for it. You've totally got this ginger's blessing.

S (#3626)

Location: Menomonee Falls, WI, USA
Quote: "Some type of chair, we presume."
Posted: 3760 days ago

Your brother clearly lost the argument due to Godwin's Law.

Stephanie Stringham (#3241)

Location: Indiana
Quote: "If you believe you can tell me what to think, I believe I can tell you where to go."
Posted: 3760 days ago

I don't get it...what is this fascination that Brits and Australians have with making fun of gingers? (Does it happen elsewhere, other than back when gingers used to be burned at the stake as witches?) I'm a ginger, and I've been teased only twice in my life for it...

Hobbie (#1359)

Location: Cornwall, England
Quote: "There was a little man in his hair!"
Posted: 3760 days ago

Well, speaking as an Englishman, Stephanie, the thing we have with gingers is that ginger hair is closely associated with the Scottish and Irish, and that's one big complicated history right there. Don't let the fact that we currently have a one-eyed Scottish idiot as prime minister delude you; nobody elected him.

I have a beard that's kind of weird. All the rest of my hair including my moustache is a deep chocolate brown, but my beard has white, blonde, black, grey and ginger hairs in it. It's always the ginger ones that people here notice and take the mickey out of.

There is a world of difference between a proper redhead and a ginger anyway. A true redhead is an incredible thing. I have a massive thing for redheaded women... but ginger isn't red. It's orange. And I admit, I find ginger hair slightly off-putting, and generally I'm very forgiving about appearance, preferring intellect and humour over something that won't last as long as I hope the relationship will. I can't help it, ginger hair just gives me a mental image of Carrot Top and Charlie Dimmock, and that's enough to make anyone feel slightly ill.

Yubi Shines (#1664)

Location: Canada
Quote: "HOPE RIDES ALONE!"
Posted: 3759 days ago

I usually mistake ginger hair as some shade of blonde. And I call myself an artist...

I'm neutral on gingers. Usually I prefer brunettes.

Bald is pretty classy though, so I'd stick with that if I were you :P

towr (#1914)

Location: Netherlands
Posted: 3759 days ago

“It’s not 1935, you know. Demonizing people for aspects of their appearance they can’t control: we’re not doing that any more.”

Somebody must not have heard of hair dyes. You can control the color of your hair. So suck it up, Max's comically exaggerated brother!

Sophie (#891)

Location: Devon
Posted: 3759 days ago

If you want some comebacks to give to your bro;

a. Hitler was quite possibly Jewish - there's suggestion that his dad was a Jewish trader at Graz. There's no conclusive evidence either way, though Hitler refused to produce the Certificate of Origin that everyone else had to produce at the time. (although you could use Poles or Gypsies in teh example instead).

b. Henna provides a non-carcinogenic, long-lasting, inexpensive alternative to gingerness. Thus, being ginger is a lifestyle choice...

Joe Sherrod (#947)

Location: Rockville, Maryland, USA
Posted: 3758 days ago

http://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/7w0i2/pepsi_logo_a_response/c07k9l7

Thought you would like this link Max: a guy who works at Pepsi leaked the marketing document behind their new logo. There may or may not be a link to the actual document in this thread. It is more insane than you might expect.

Machine Man subscriber Toby O (#2900)

Location: Sydney
Quote: "You can't sell your soul to the devil if he's not buying"
Posted: 3758 days ago

Now if you were making comments about aboriginals, they would be <u>suing</u> your ass.

I think that yes there's some bad blood between the scotch irish and the pommies, but for the colonies like Australia and America (where I am) it's just good banter. And these days there's nothing to get your knickers in a knot about, unless of course you were abused as child and have trouble dealing with the world in general, in which case you have larger problems and should probably be talking to a nice, sensitive shrink type, and not me.

brent (#3825)

Location: brisbane, australia
Quote: "i'm a unique snowflake. just like everyone else."
Posted: 3752 days ago

i think it says it all that in no part of history was the statement uttered, "…my favourite child over there, the red head…". never. ever. it just doesn't happen. which is why i wonder, is the ginger-hater actually an underlying control-gene in the human condition? is this the single point of demonising that in fact, not only has a place but is of paramount importance to the future of our species? is it a coincidence that the colour of a demon is so often red in folklore?

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