Springtime for politicians:

Apr 192007
Authors: Hilary Davis

Well, it’s spring and officially my favorite time of year. At least, it would be if I didn’t have to spend every waking moment in the library. Oh, to be a freshman again, untroubled by the winds of time and term papers. It’s easy to tell the freshmen from other students right now – they’re the ones holding lollipops and riding unicorns through campus because they’re just so happy it’s spring.

For the rest of us, there’s very little time for unicorn riding, spring daydreaming and pondering life’s all-important questions (it’s always best to ponder in the spring, you know). And pondering needs to be done. Because while I’m pondering life after graduation, someone else should be worrying about the big stuff: Why are we here? What is humanity’s purpose in the world? What are Peeps actually made of? And, most importantly, what is it that politicians do?

If you have any time to ponder at all, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about politicians, I’m sure of it. What they’re up to, what kind of legislation they’ve passed and whether or not G. Dub has increased his Prozac dosage yet.

Wait – You have not been spending your waking hours contemplating the actions of our elected officials? Do I have to say it, or do you already know you’re a bad American? After all, if you pay attention to the media, which you should definitely always do because they are always, always right, you would know by now that there are some pressing political issues that need your attention right away! Like Mitt Romney’s hair!

If you read the Washington Post (yes, THE Washington Post) online, you will see an entire article devoted to the study of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s hair. His hair. On his head. The hair on his head. The hair on Mitt Romney’s head is getting more publicity than his policies and his stances on really important issues. Because knowing whether Mitt Romney parts his hair on the left or right (the left, ironically, in case you were wondering) instead of which Iraq exit policy he believes we should follow makes me feel like a bad American.

And if Mitt Romney’s hair circus isn’t enough for you, you can always turn to the New York Times (yes, THE New York Times) for a quick and fashionable pick me up: Nancy Pelosi’s wardrobe choices. Never mind that the Speaker of the House went to Syria recently or that she’s, um, THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE. Instead, the media wants to focus on her love for Tahitian pearls and her stylish suits.

“Media often focus attention on female politicians’ hair styles and clothing choices. Given the fact that most individuals get their information about candidates for office and elected politicians through the media, this emphasis on superficial, and quite frankly irrelevant, story lines is unfortunate,” said Courtenay Daum, an assistant professor in CSU’s political science department. “This emphasis suggests that a female politician’s clothing choices are more newsworthy and hence more relevant than her position on the issues, or at the very least deprives the public of coverage of the issues.”

And it’s not just females now. I’m afraid Romney’s Hair O’Rama might have opened the door to media scrutiny of all politicians’ appearances. “John McCain needs Rogaine!” “Has Hillary Botoxed!? She should!” “Barack Obama’s name is.Barack Obama and therefore we’re going to say he looks funny!”

Maybe there’s no stopping this inevitable trend and we should just be happy it took us this long to get to such a shallow place. After all, if we were this rough on politicians back in the day, my good friend Abe never would have gotten elected. He was freakishly tall and I hear he rode a unicorn.

Hilary Davis is a senior technical journalism major. Her column appears in the Collegian on Fridays. Replies and feedback can be sent to opinion@collegian.com.

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