The Last Day of “Presidential” Imagery!

At some time, once upon my youth, after I realized that political commercials were, for the most part, more or less, lies …except that they weren’t actually lies… I began to loath election season.  The seven or eight years that I didn’t own a TV were a joyous respite.  Now, some time after I’ve begun to understand how politicians lie with facts, figures, and quotations, I find the methods and aesthetics of it quite interesting, all the while offensive.

It’s exciting to see someone like Liddy Dole so egregiously blow an attempt to lie without “lying”.  Perhaps she misunderstimated North Carolina voters…  In any case, I think it’s revealing, of just what I’m not sure yet, to see someone who has held a position so lofty and seemingly altruistic as President of the Red Cross stoop so low as to fake her opponent’s voice to claim that she is “godless”.

Well, as far as this voter’s concerned, I anxiously await the day when non-Christian beliefs, all the various forms of “other” in spirituality, no longer bar entry into American politics.  I’d love to dare a touch screen to secretly flip my vote away from a candidate who admits she doesn’t believe in a god.  But, that’s an aside.

Alas, just like trying to spend an entire day at the Met, there comes a moment at which not even a $12 coffee from the museum cafe could make you want to look at one damned more image.

I think I could blog the rest of the week away writing about Sarah Palin and still never quite articulate that which is so frightening about her as an image in the political arena.  It just seems so obvious that the GOP would pay her stylist more than her policy adviser.  Her stylist is more important.  (The harder job always pays less, doesn’t it?) The evidence is that even after the astonishing litany of ignorance she has presented to the American people, apparently 40% of survey respondents still think she’s “ready” to assume the presidency!

Holy cow indeed, Batman.  There is simply no logic that could lead to that conclusion.

I also imagine that once upon a time, a photo of a presidential candidate in traditional Kenyan attire might be used positively to demonstrate that such a person has some understanding of global culture.  You know, something that would inform foreign policy.  However, it appears that in 2008, if that image is of a black man, the sum total of “non-presidential” aesthetics is enough to stir fear and assassination plots in the hearts of some Americans.

That is, unless you’re looking for something else in your image of a president.  Some thing, such as a contrast with the a guy who makes all of his decisions with his gut, say…

And what’s it all worth?

A lot, apparently.

There has been plenty of research to show that taller people average higher salaries than shorter people.

A recent Stanford study concluded that voters are swayed by candidates who share their looks.

In the NY Times this morning, an article (addressing the well-worn talk radio trope of “liberal” professors recruiting unsuspecting younguns for their evil leftist insurgency,) noted that “Parents and family are the most important influence [on students’ political leanings]”, and “it is really hard to change the mind of anyone over 15”.

So, how much rational thinking has really brought voters to the decision they’re going to act on tomorrow?  If the amount of time that has gone into forming the aesthetic personae of the candidates is much of an indication, I think there’s reason to be doubtful.

And I, for one, for the time being don’t care if I never again see another image of what a president is supposed to be.

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