Ok, here’s a sign that we’re taking this moustache thing a little too seriously: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R - Md.) was involved in a brief skirmish Tuesday over his alleged support for the “’Stache Act,” a proposal from a group called the American Moustache Institute, to provide a $250 tax credit for Americans with moustaches.

Could facial hair like this flourish under the ‘Stache Act? Germany's Elmar Weisser poses during the Beards and Moustaches World Championship 2011. (JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Though it turned out to have been a recommendation from a staff member who did not consult with Bartlett, he is being criticized, nevertheless, by his opponents in the Sixth District of Maryland, according to WTOP.

Hold up. Before we criticize anyone for anything, can we take a step back to point out what the ‘Stache Act is — an elaborate joke about Washington advocacy?

The American Moustache Institute offers a highly detailed history of the Mustached American Movement that reads like a long Chuck Norris joke. For example, “One of President Taft’s last acts in the Oval Office, in fact, was to provide Mustached Americans with complimentary in-home prostitution visits and allow the slaughter of felines by people bearing lower nose accoutrements.” They’re hosting a Million Moustache March on April 1, which should tell you everything you need to know.

Though news outlets no doubt realize it is a parody, they’re writing about the Bartlett situation with deadpan earnestness — the Washington Post included. An Associated Press stub offered some pretty straightforward reporting on the AMI, with an update later from Bartlett’s staff clarifying that they were in on the joke.

The American Mustache Institute used the “shameful reversal” to continue the joke:

“The American people want public officials to stop worrying about partisan politics and start worrying about our country’s future. We just hope the brazen actions of Rep. Barlett’s chief of staff, Ms. [Deborah] Burrell, don’t doom America to a second rate superpower in terms of rugged good looks.”

The group is likely enjoying the kerfuffle, as it raises awareness for their campaign — which is actually a fundraiser. For every Million Mustache March participant, H&R Block will contribute to a charity that delivers clean drinking water around the world.

The good charity intentions of this group aside, isn’t it time for the moustache to move on already? Upper-lip facial hair has become a hipster and post-hipster obsession, with merchandise, “fingerstaches,” and “stache bashes” at the conclusion of Movember, a month for men to grow facial hair. It’s also a reflexive turn away from the clean-shaven metrosexuals of the late ‘90s, and a move towards men re-asserting “The Art of Manliness.” There are moustache poetry kits, moustache doorknobs, and even moustache pillowcases (a sign, if ever, that moustaches are becoming a snooze). Can we shave this tired joke already?