August 20, 2007
Guccis and the Iowans Who Love Them
Thompson had lapses of judgment during his trip to Iowa last week. No,
he didn’t suggest he would bomb Pakistan. He didn’t state that he was
going to “take” anybody’s earned profits, nor did he make any similar
political faux-pas. That was someone else. He did, however, wear Gucci
loafers and ride around in a golf cart.
According to Fox News, Thompson’s Iowa travels involved mistakes such as
“wearing Gucci loafers at a country fair.”
Really? That’s the
mistake? Before we even get to the merits of wearing Gucci loafers
(which in the video look a lot more like Ferragamo loafers, but I
digress), it would be captivating to examine what that statement is
saying about the people of Iowa.
Are all Iowans
really so poor, backwards and unfashionable as to be offended by Gucci
loafers? Apparently, to Fox News (and certainly much of the remaining
media), Iowa is not too far above a Third World country, and wearing
Gucci loafers to one of their country fairs is equivalent to driving
your Ferrari through an impoverished Sri Lankan village while gnawing on
a filet mignon. In both cases, it just might cause those sandal-wearing
commoners a collective seizure.
By suggesting that a
candidate might actually hurt his image among Iowans by wearing decent
shoes and using a golf cart, the media is essentially treating Iowans
much like the movie “Borat” treated southerners. What are presidential
candidates supposed to wear when they go to Iowa anyway? Boots and
overalls? Perhaps come in riding in one of Howard Dean’s pick-up trucks
with a confederate flag on the back. Why don’t we throw in a pitchfork,
too? And knock out a couple of teeth, just to complete the image.
There is simply no
reason for Americans to care what these candidates are wearing. After
all, altering one’s wardrobe solely for political advantage reflects a
character worse than the one being avoided in the first place. It is a
much lesser sin to dress and act in a manner permitted by your riches
than to mislead others about your lifestyle of choice.
And so what if
presidential candidates are rich? With the exception of John “Heinz”
Kerry, they have earned the money they now have every right to spend as
they wish. If dropping a few hundred dollars on a pair of shoes can
satisfy a potential president and clear his mind even a tiny bit, then
we should all be in full support of it. If he has become accustomed to a
life of comfort that involves moving around in a golf cart, well, that
just sounds like a much more efficient use of a valuable person’s time.
By that logic, would
it be a double-standard to disapprove of presidential candidate John
Edwards’s $400 haircut? Well, not necessarily.
We shouldn’t mock
John Edwards for being a people’s politician who spent $400 on his hair.
We should mock him for being a human male who spent $400 on his hair.
The idea here is that it is acceptable for politicians to take with them
publicly what they are comfortable with in normal, private life. And
while it is customary for the average Joe, or the average comfortable
Joe, to wear Gucci shoes, little justifies that much money spent on a
hair cut. What did that stylist do, trim each hair individually?
Well, also, the
thought of John Edwards going on his poverty tour with a haircut that
could buy someone an old car is fairly amusing as well.
But again, it
shouldn’t matter what he does with himself. In fact, we should encourage
(legitimate) behavior that makes politicians more comfortable. For one,
it encourages more qualified rich individuals to enter the political
scene. Further, it decreases politicians’ stress levels, puts them in a
better mood and gives them a more comfortable environment in which to
brainstorm. And of course, it allows us to have a better view of who
they really are.
Maybe in that new
environment, Edwards can realize that when he forces up the minimum wage
and raises taxes on the rich, including his favorite salon owner, that
owner is going to have to fire many of his hair-sweepers and cut back on
hiring more stylists – which would just be so blasphemous.
Leave them alone.
Let the politicians wear their Gucci loafers and get their magical
haircuts. Let them get Gucci haircuts, whatever those are, for all we
care. There are far more important things to worry about. Apparently
some of the people running want to take our profits and bomb Pakistan
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