Sunday, January 11, 2004

Media Fashionistas

Oh the horror of getting fashion advice from a man who had a bow-tie surgically implanted in his neck:

Another possibility is that you need rubber shoes and sweaters when you're spending a January in New Hampshire. I have it on good authority that road salt ruins dress shoes.

But there I go, getting too literal, just like those tedious policy wonks who expect candidates and campaign coverage to focus on boring stuff like health care and economic policy.

Back in November, when Clark wore a black mock-turtleneck to the "Rock the Vote" debate and Dennis Kucinich did likewise, news analysts howled with derision. It was like two girls showed up at prom in the same dress.

"And what was up with that silly black turtleneck he was wearing? Please!" cried Joe Klein on CNN.

"Is this a 'Star Trek' convention or a presidential debate? The neo-Spock look? While Wesley Clark looked hip in his Euro-trash mock-turtleneck sweater," sniffed Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's "Scarborough Country."

"The saddest part of last night's debate was Clark and Kucinich coming in those mock-turtlenecks, trying to look hip," said Tucker Carlson, a man singularly free of the burden of looking hip, on "Crossfire."

Political commentary is getting indistinguishable from an episode of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

All of which sounds painfully like the 2000 presidential campaign, when, according to an often-debunked and often-rebunked story, Al Gore switched to wearing earth tones for strategic advantage. The earth-tone story was repeated almost as often as the "invented the Internet" story. Both entered the realm of oral lore and political folk-legend and passed beyond truth or falsity.

These days, the media isn't covering the horse race, it's covering the horse blanket.

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