Thursday, October 11, 2007

From Fiction to Reality: Presidential Campaign Fashions

Red ties are so over. Color matters. In this seemingly endless presidential campaign, the most important people may be the candidates' fashion consultants. Clothes make the man--or the woman--or the presidential nominee.

I learned all this by watching a segment of Good Morning America yesterday, or did I? Perhaps I really learned this lesson many years ago when I read a favorite book of mine, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Yes, that's the satire about book burning, but there's a lot more to it.

As Guy Montag, the book-burning fireman who has begun to question his job, forces his wife Mildred and her friends to discuss "serious topics" rather than glue their attentions to the TV walls, one of their topics is elections:

"I voted last election, same as everyone, and I laid it on the line for President Noble. I think he's one of the nicest-looking men ever became president," says Mrs. Bowles.

"Oh, but the man they ran against him!"

"He wasn't much, was he? Kind of small and homely and he didn't shave too close or comb his hair very well."

"What possessed the 'Outs' to run him? You just don't go running a little short man like that against a tall man. Besides, he mumbled. Half the time I couldn't hear a word he said. And the words I did hear I didn't understand."

"Fat, too, and didn't dress to hide it. No wonder the landslide was for Winston Noble. Even their names helped. Compare Winston Noble to Hubert Hoag for ten seconds and you can almost figure the results."

Well, I don't know the color of either Noble's or Hoag's necktie (I'm surprised that Mrs. Bowles and Mildred Montag didn't mention it), but I do see a parallel. Are we too concerned about what our candidates wear and how they look? I have a suspicion, and I hope that I'm wrong, that far too many Americans pay more attention to how the candidates look and dress than to what, if anything, they really say and stand for. Does tie color (or the color of Hillary's suit) really matter?

Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne


Paul @ Elders Tribune said...

We've just had an election in Ontario yesterday. I think the problem is that the candidates usually end up bickering at each other and don't really talk about themselves. I had to really do some research to just catch a glimpse of what I'm looking for. How many people do you think would take the initiative? Overall, I'm usually disappointed by the candidates' lack of focus on what they stand for and an overflow of vague, marketing information in an effort to appeal to everyone. Anyway, I believe it's a lack of information which leads to people focus on the cosmetics.

Coincidentally, we've had a candidate in the past that lost because everyone thought he looked "evil". But now, in his 2nd try, he's our prime minister because people got to know him when he was the opposition for a few years.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Marlys!

I only discovered your blog a few weeks ago and now try to check in every day. I enjoy reading it.

I have been going to send you an email and will soon. I find your words on aging to be fitting.

79 and growing...Mona

seniorwriter said...

Thanks, Mona. I'm glad to find so many other seniors out there in the blogosphere!