18 January 2004

This -n- That

We can all remember when we became preoccupied with clothes, oh' let's say around junior high school. Perhaps not all of us, but many of us have memories of agonizing over what to wear to school, and how one could never reach their destiny if not in possession of the right kind of jeans, or the right pair of sneakers (now referred to by the brandname or model, e.g., Nike's, Jordan's). We may have even engaged in making mindless barbs about other kids' clothes, or been the target of them. At the time, it seemed our most important concern, besides grades and whether a particular member of the opposite sex liked us, or LIKED us.

Thankfully, we grow up to learn that clothing has no bearing on our positive contributions to the world. With maturity comes the realization that there are issues with an importance far surpassing the label on the pants pocket that rides the crest of our rapidly aging behinds. There is mortgage / rent to pay, loans to repay, careers to re-assess, kids to raise, aging parents to keep an eye on, friends to enjoy, vehicles to maintain, vacations to plan for, a national economy going belly up, soldiers still dying in a war that was supposed to be over months ago, corporate bigwigs raiding our pension funds, etc.

With all of that happening, much of it simultaneously, adults don't give one whit about what a presidential candidate is wearing. Or, do we?
  • Trying to soften his military image and lure more female voters in New Hampshire, Gen. Wesley Clark switched from navy suits to argyle sweaters. It's an odd strategy. . . .

    It's also a little alarming that he thinks the way to ensorcell women is to swaddle himself in woolly geometric shapes that conjure up images of Bing Crosby on the links or Fred MacMurray at the kitchen table. . . .

    Al Gore sprouted earth tones in 2000, hoping heathery brown sweaters and khakis would warm him up. . . . .
    .:Maureen Dowd (NYT Columnist):.

  • "Clothes make the man," someone is supposed to have said once. But do they? Presidential candidates sometimes seem to think so. The traditional candidate outfit is blue suit, red tie. John McCain, who is used to uniforms, wears this one often.

    Vice President Al Gore used to be a dark suit guy, but he's gone casual: earth tones, open collar shirts, sweaters. And he sometimes wears cowboy boots. Does all this make him more attractive to voters? . . . .
    .:Bruce Morton (CNN Correspondent):.

What is going on; are these people still in junior high school? How dare they distract us with the unresolved issues of their adolescence! They should do us all a favor and cover the fashion beat, so the adults can cover the critical political issues facing our nation.

As noted above, similar vacuous statements were made during the 2000 election, but almost exclusively about Gore. This is an intentional effort to deflect attention from what's important about the candidates and their respective platforms.

Critiques of election coverage can be found here:
.:Columbia Journalism Review:.

It was reported in the New Yorker that Bush answered a reporter's question with the quip, "You're making a huge assumption - that you represent what the public thinks."

If it were me, I would have answered his smarmy response thusly, "Listen up you beak-lipped bastard, since you work for the people of this country, you have a responsibility to answer questions germane to your position as a public servant. You can choose not to answer any question you don't like, but you're not going to intimidate me with memorized right wing retorts."

. . . that's just me, though. I do not ascribe to the school of thought that one must bow & scrape before another human being because of his or her job title. Everyone deserves respect, as long as they are respectful. The moment you prove yourself otherwise, we can shed the superficial skin of courtesy and get down to the business of telling it like it t-i is!

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