October 9, 2005

Young George Washington.

Computers generate a picture of the youthful Washington.
Standing 6-foot-3, very tall for his time, he had a prominent nose, a square jaw undamaged by dental disease and a slim, muscular build. With his piercing gray-blue eyes and long auburn hair that he wore in a ponytail, in another age he might have been a rock star.

I love the idea of re-portraying the great President as a young man. But what's with the "rock star" image? Being very good looking is not a qualification for rock stardom. Being a rock star tends to make an average or even bad looking guy seem highly attractive.

16 comments:

ziemer said...

if mick jagger had worked in a car wash, he'd have been considered grotesquely hideous.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lindsey said...

I had no idea GW had red hair. How many Founders had red hair? Were GW and Jefferson the only ones? Anyone else?

John(classic) said...

But, of course, he was unqualified....

amba said...

The notion that rock stardom confers, rather than stems from, attractiveness is borne out by my choice of Mark Knopfler as the rock star I'd have chosen to go to bed with, if I could have chosen just one.

Mark said...

I liked the graphics credit to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association. Who else would've come up with an image of George at 19 and shirtless.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

I think it's a reflection of the Boomer sensibility that the highest compliment one can pay is that someone resembles a "rock star". A politician is suspect at best.

Look at Bill Clinton: even after being governor of Arkansas for multiple terms, he still tried (tries) like hell to come across like a rock star with a saxophone and shades.

The maturity and self-control, (not to mention terseness) of Washington's demeanor was admired in his time by his contemporaries. Even the most ego-centric of the founding fathers (Adams, Jefferson) bowed to his example; his European peers (George III, Napoleaon) found much to admire in his selflessness and humility. All for qualities that mostly fell out of favor with youth-oriented popular culture after the 60's.

Richard Brookhiser put it best here.

Wade_Garrett said...

I'm not an expert on the Founding Fathers, but I have read quite a bit about George Washington, and I've never came across any contemporary description of him that described him as good looking. This is noteworthy because, in that era, it was much more common for men to comment on another man's attractiveness than it is now.

Rather, most contemporary descriptions of him mention how he had a dignified appearance and presence. He filled a room. Trying to think of a modern person who has this dignity without good looks, I think of somebody like perhaps Dikembe Mutumbo.

Simon said...

Less The Apotheosis of Washington than The Veneration of Adonis.

Mark said...

Sippian - I said I liked the graphics credit, not the graphics. That is, I found it humorous.

Nevertheless, since he was a general and the first president, I think they should've given him better upper arm development.

amba said...

Sippican -- be that as it may; this isn't about reality, or anything. When I was a kid I had a crush on Horst Buchholz (ever see "Tiger Bay"?) and he was queer, too, right?

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

Although, an argument can be made that with younger stars, and certainly up and coming ones, being good looking is a qualification, more often than not. Isn't that one of the standard complaints regarding the evolution of the music biz over the past decade, at least?

I love the fact that he had red hair! Especially (appropos another current Althouse thread) now that gray has spurred me to go that route (in recent years, blonde is just too harsh for my skin). Now, when friends ask why I don't go blonde instead, I can say that what's good enough for GW is good enough for no-chance-of-being-president-or-a-rock-star me.

amba said...

"I imagine that you know about Horst because you're young and movies like Tiger Bay are examined in school now. I'm afraid I'm old enough to have seen much of it the first time around."

Gee, thanks, Sippican. If only! No, I think you and I are about neck and neck. I might even have you beat by a nose.

Sigivald said...

One word: Lemmy.