I emailed the Fug Girls last night about Sarah Palin's Newsweek cover, and Heather actually wrote back, which was a huge thrill. This is mostly a rework of what I wrote them. I just saw the Fox clip this morning, so that's new.
The other day at the mailbox I peeked at the cover of Newsweek and squeaked, "Ewwwwww." Suddenly I was way too acquainted with Governor Palin's pores. I desperately do not want this woman to become Vice President, and she makes me angry on a thousand levels, but seeing this picture, I can't help but feel for her. You can count the mustache-area hairs, see where any recent zits have been--it was like looking into a mirror, down to the annoying chin-crease bumps we appear to share. Granted, she had makeup on, and I almost never do, and I'm sure my upper lip is much more hairy, because I'm not about to get mine waxed.* Nonetheless, I was horrified for her.
My spouse points out that Newsweek doesn't pull punches with its cover photos, if Henry Paulsen's recent scary mug was any indication. Check out that throbbing temple vein! It's not a fashion magazine in the first place, and its content and design aren't at all stylish. I had typed "I wonder if celebrities have any right to be angry when they are portrayed this way," but then I realized: this is what Governor Palin looks like. What I'm complaining about is actually a truthful portrayal of a middle-aged face. We media consumers are so accustomed to manipulated photos that when an unretouched image is blown up, emphasizing a pretty person's imperfections, it seems pointedly, needlessly cruel.
I [still!] haven't gotten to the actual story yet, but the cover copy reads "She's One of The Folks (And that's the problem)." As if they're trying to say, "She's bumpy! She's lumpy! She's flawed!" Well, duh. After all those non-answers in the CBS clips, I thought Katie Couric was going to throw something. (I had to excuse myself for a calming cocktail during the veep debate.) There are ample legitimate criticisms of Sarah Palin's readiness to govern--so why attack her face so pointedly? I don't get it, and I don't buy that they were trying to highlight the Governor's smile, either.
Fox brought in two lady politicos to discuss the "issue," such as it is, and of course the Republican got to tear Newsweek a new one while the Democrat had to prop up Palin, remind us that it was the "Women in Leadership" issue of the magazine, and say she thought Palin looked great, "folksy" even. I don't doubt her sincerity--and according to her American U bio, she's a regular token lib on Fox, which means she's entitled to combat pay and my eternal gratitude, whether I agree with her or not.
*I do get my brows waxed because I don't have the fortitude to tweeze and my natural arch is quite severe, giving me a perpetual glare, à la Evil Bert.