• Home
  • About
  • Guest Post

    Image problems

    I’m kind of finding it easier to enjoy the Kerry family’s quirks now that I’ve made up my mind about how I’m going to vote. Ann Althouse and Chris G (both Midwesterners in law at big-guns state universities, randomly enough) posted interestingly about John and Teresa Heinz Kerry, respectively. I remain unconvinced that they should be living in the White House, but I’m starting to believe they might liven up, say, the talk show industry. (I’m a pop-culture baby, so that’s not to be taken as a slur.)

    Was it Andrew Sullivan who said that he’d like to have dinner with Teresa Heinz Kerry? That strikes me as about right. The interview Law Dork cites is full of fawning questions. (To be fair, I suspect an interview of President Bush on the subject of his religious faith by a Christian writer would be, too, but that’s not the topic here.) I don’t agree with everything she says about sexuality, but her appreciation of the variety of people there are in the world feels genuine and unforced.

    (Q) I notice you told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this year of your critics: “They’ve got to kill something that’s strong. What can I do? Nothing. I know who I am. My friends know who I am.” That’s an attitude that really resonates with the LGBT community, which has had to face down scurrilous attacks for years.

    (THK) I used the word “kill?”


    Wow. What I mean is that if you are not part of their way, they don’t want you to be strong. If you are strong, it will weather. And they don’t want you to weather.

    Amazing. She really, seriously doesn’t pay attention to what she says to reporters, apparently. Which I find irresistibly charming–what fun would our media-saturated culture be without mouthy, solipsistic rich people to entertain us with mouthy, solipsistic pronouncements?–but is not a quality I want in the woman who helps represent America to foreign heads of state.

    And it’s unfortunate, because I think she probably loves America as sincerely as any of us do. This interview seems to indicate what she’s been trying, in her own non-linear way, to get across through some of her more famous head-scratchers, like addressing the DNC in multiple languages. She likes variety in people, she appreciates the ability to live in ways others don’t like, and being censured just makes her assert herself more. Those are all fabulous things to think.

    But like a lot of other Democrats, she doesn’t seem so clear on when they need to be tempered. It’s understandable why someone with her personality would balk at helping her husband campaign for the Presidency. But since she decided to do it anyway, it would be nice if she recognized that she’s no longer just speaking for herself.

    Her husband has the opposite problem, as Althouse notes:

    But I don’t care that he’s really got an upper class accent. I’ve heard it in full force in the old tapes of his appearance on “The Dick Cavett Show” back in the early 70s, and I find it quite charming. It’s who he authentically is, but he’s got to mask that noblesse oblige stuff to run for President. But then he lets it slip and says “EYE-ther.” If he would just be his authentic self, an upper class guy, trying to serve, being thoughtful and adult, I would probably love him. But he’s been twisted and wrung out by the process. If he does win in the end, I hope he recovers that authentic self and governs well. But he shows us every day that he doesn’t believe we want that man. It’s really quite sad!

    I agree. Kerry seems to believe that if he’s going to beat George Bush, he has to do the common-man thing the way Bush does. It’s astounding that he’s never looked at a tape of himself and realized that it doesn’t work (and it rings even more false since, with his dramatic height, he looks like Count Dracula when he puts on a dark suit and burgundy tie). Madonna and Kylie Minogue can get away with this stuff because they’re pop stars. Madonna’s self-reinvention as an eccentric Englishwoman into Near Eastern mysticism may be implausible, but its worst effect is that her music gets lame. The stakes are different for someone who wants to set policy.

    2 Responses to “Image problems”

    1. Chris says:

      Drunk, but appreciative of the links. :)

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      What’s with the contrasting conjunction there, sailor? I find the drunker I am, the more appreciative I get. I guess it may be just me.