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