Friday, August 3, 2012

Dogs, Not Barking

Special "where's the irresponsible press?" edition. One could interpret this one as congratulating the press.

1. I have to say that I'm disappointed in the failure of the irresponsible press to press harder on creating rumors and speculation about Barack Obama dumping Joe Biden, including the perfectly natural (if, you know, not gonna happen) idea that Biden and Hillary Clinton will switch jobs. There was a fair amount six and twelve months ago, but just because it's been denied and just because it's preposterous doesn't mean people have to drop it -- does it?

2. I'm also...well, not exactly disappointed, but I guess surprised that we haven't had a good Mitt Romney hair and/or plastic surgery scandal. In fact, I've been expecting one for some time, but have been reluctant to note it because I don't really want to be the one who starts something. My vague understanding of it, not immediately knocked down by thirty seconds of searching, is that he claims to not dye his hair, which is presumably not true at all. I do recall that Ronald Reagan's claim that he didn't dye his hair was in fact a minor scandal from time to time, or at least people made a fuss over it; I'm not aware of anyone talking about Mitt's hair, other than to praise it. (And I'd still love to see evidence of how old people think the Mittster is; my guess is that he's about ten years older than people think).

3. And it's a little early yet, but where is all the irresponsible speculation about an October Surprise?

4. OK, enough with the press, and back to the original: yeah, yeah, Fairness Doctrine.


  1. With Michael Steele not head of the RNC anymore you simply never hear about them. Also I haven't heard the term "Chicago style politics" (as opposed to Texas style politics which in no way can be ugly) in a few weeks.

  2. 5. Ron Paul or Sarah Palin or Ralph Nader 3rd party runs
    6. this or that state (Pennsylvania threatened at one time) changing to split its electoral votes to give Romney a boost

  3. The Reagan hair thing was particularly ludicrous since he was still denying it well into his 80s, even after there was photographic evidence to the contrary. At the time Michael Kinsley did an amusing column about how the press seemed to perpetually perceive that Reagan's hair was just starting to turn gray.

    I've also wondered if there have been any presidents or presidential candidates who have worn toupees. Certainly I've suspected it about some politicians, and everyone knows Joe Biden looks like he once had hair-transplant surgery, before the rest of his hair fell out. In this race, my biggest suspicions about rugs were toward Gary Johnson, but other than that the hair of most of the male candidates has looked real enough, even if the color might not be quite authentic.

  4. I don't know if Romney dyes his hair, I am not sure I ve trained myself to tell this.

    What I do know is my dad had his original black hair color late into his sixties until he was hit by cancer and chemotherapy took it away from him. And for the cynical, no, I don't think he was secretly dyeing them; he wasn't that type of guy.

  5. One other thought I had about hair dye was the sexism implicit in our society's assumptions about it. Hillary Clinton, who's the same age as Romney, almost certainly dyes her hair, but nobody considers that noteworthy because for women in public life, appearing without gray hair is for the most part considered to be a social necessity, whereas for men there are advantages to gray. (For example, there's been a perception for a while that Obama's gray roots have given him some much needed gravitas.) Plenty of men dye their hair to hide the gray (Reagan evidently wasn't the first president to do so; the book Nixonland mentions one moment where Nixon stood in the rain and dark hair dye ran down his face), but for men, and only men, it tends to be viewed as a shameful secret--a sign that the man is self-conscious about his appearance and hence unmasculine.

    On the DVD commentary to the movie Moonstruck, director Norman Jewison claimed that when women dye their hair, it's a life-affirming act, whereas for men the opposite is true. Hence he had his character played by Cher dye her gray roots later in the movie to suggest her newfound vitality, whereas the Vincent Gardenia character, playing Cher's father, dyes his hair to suggest his fear of death. I think Jewison was making the mistake of accepting the sexist double standard rather than questioning it, but his description does fit the common social perceptions, I think.


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