Slate Was Into Eyebrows Way Before DSK

It's not quite a fetish. Call it a healthy interest

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On Tuesday, Slate's Brian Palmer offered the definitive explainer on why Dominique Strauss-Kahn's eyebrows are still black, even though the rest of his hair is gray (enzymes). That was followed yesterday by a slideshow on other notable members of the "defiantly dark eyebrow crew," including Martin Scorsese and Leonid Brezhnev.

When you consider the publication's longstanding fascination with the facial feature, the items begin to make more sense. We went through Slate's archives and tallied up all the eyebrow-centric references from the past five years. As you can see, they had their eye on the brow long before DSK became a three-letter celebrity.

  • "How come that Russian spy still had eyebrows?"  In 2006, Melonyce McAfee explained how former Russian spy Alexander V. Litvinenko died of radiation poisoning despite boasting "a pair of seemingly healthy eyebrows" on his death bed.
  • Rachel Maddow Troy Patterson complimented the MSNBC personality on her "excellent eyebrows" in 2008. He did not, however, care for the premiere of her talk show as a whole.
  • New York Times Public Editor Byron Calame  Taken to task by Jack Shafer in 2006 for not "using his column to give the paper's eyebrows a vigorous plucking" on the question of whether staffers could accept product discounts without compromising their integrity.
  • Unibrow  Specifically, does worrying about your daughter's conjoined eyebrows make you a bad mother? Does it change matters if the daughter's only 7-years-old? "Shallow Mom" appealed to Slate's Dear Prudence advice columnist for answers to those questions and more in a letter last summer.
  • Brow Beat  The name of Slate's culture blog. Just saying.
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