September 28, 2004

Going orange for the debate.

So John Kerry seems to have gotten one of those dark spray-on tans. He's done this before. Back when he was on "Meet the Press" in April, Chris commented:
He has the Charlize Theron tan. You realize it's like a major Hollywood fad. All the big Hollywood celebrities, especially the female celebrities, are getting an orange tan. Britney Spears got it. ...He's gone way too far. I mean, it's hard to even take him seriously."
Well, he's gone and done it again!

You just know it's his debate look. Whenever presidential debate season comes around, the one thing you can count on pundits to talk about is the 1960 debate when Kennedy looked tanned and rested and Nixon looked pasty white. There are any number of reasons why Kennedy was more appealing on television than Nixon, but the one thing Kennedy had that anyone else can get is a tan.

Other more recent debate memories have faded. Why don't Kerry's people remember how Al Gore was ridiculed for looking way too orange in the first debate in 2000? Here's what Camille Paglia had to say back then (this link and those that follow are to Salon, so prepare for an ad if you click):
As for Al Gore, if I had had any doubt about whether he deserves my vote, he managed to run right over it with his out-of-control, ham-laden 18-wheeler. What a loathsome, smug, preening, juvenile character! The supposedly great debater babbled out of turn; snickered, snorted and sneered; panted and sighed like a bellows; and rocked to and fro and ripped paper like a patient in a mental ward. And Gore looked positively repellent with his dark mat of dyed hair, garish orange makeup and flippantly twisting, strangely female features: I kept on thinking of the bewigged, transvestite Norman Bates as Mother in "Psycho."
Yeah, the part about orange is in there. Here, let me highlight it. Hmmm.... amusing. Paglia had quite a number of problems with Al Gore there, didn't she? I suppose I could have found a quote more focused on the orangeness of Al Gore, but it would not have been have contained as many fascinating words. Like "ham-laden" and "bewigged." Aw,poor Al didn't deserve all that. On the other hand, come back Camille! That was fun to read.

Here's Ben Stein's ridicule of Gore's looks:
Gore was comically overmade-up, I guess because he was so nervous about sweating. I work in show business every day, and I don't think that I've seen that much makeup on anyone besides a Las Vegas showgirl. I kept waiting for his false eyelashes to fall off.
Orangeness aside, Gore's first debate offers many lessons that Kerry might want to learn. Here's Andrew Sullivan summing up the first 2000 debate in a few sentences:
The best way I can think to describe the last hour and a half is assisted suicide. Gore was wooden, condescending, boring, preachy, very liberal. Bush was a human being, good-natured, reasonable, smart, sane. It was a knockout.
I have a feeling those sentences, with the appropriate changes, will probably be reusable after this week's debate.

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