Friday, August 1, 2008
"I won't vote for that beanpole guy."
I just read this article in the WSJ which pretty much makes me sink into utter despair and oblivion. It claims that Obama's image is suffering even more with voters because he's too fit, shies away too much from junk food and is a "gym rat" (as if that's even possible on the campaign trail). Sigh:
"But in a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.
The candidate has been criticized by opponents for appearing elitist or out of touch with average Americans. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted in July shows Sen. Obama still lags behind Republican John McCain among white men and suburban women who say they can't relate to his background or perceived values."
Are people JOKING. I will concede somewhat on the arugula issue, okay, okay, but when it comes to being fit and interested in one's health, how can that be a detriment to one's presidential candidacy? We have stooped so low in this country in terms of health that we are uninterested in voting for a president because he's "too skinny" --i.e. unable to identify with the average American! We are so overweight that we need someone overweight as our leader so we don't feel bad about ourselves? People actually use this as a criteria upon which to judge a president? It actually matters to them that he's not TOO skinny, that he's not too healthy. I thought we wanted change, people?
I guess people are even criticizing that mole on his face. Really. I enjoyed Gawker's take on this as well.
What's sort of intriguing to me, however, is that W. is, or at least was, incredibly fit. I heard he has a resting heartrate of like 9 beats per minute or something (okay, not 9, but something really low). According to the WSJ image/chart thing, however, he's a little hefty. He doesn't really look hefty though, right? I think he's quite fit. What does it mean that we perceive these things about our leaders? We've had like, what, one or two decent looking presidents? How can this hold so much weight? It seems, again, more than his actual appearance, it comes down to Obama's lack of interest in eating the shitty food produced by people across this land trying to shove it down his throat on campaign stops. He seems to not relate because he seems to not shovel fried anything into his mouth and that's when people crinkle their noses and scratch their heads. It's about the food connection between people and places and culture rather than his actual fitness, I think.
So, what is this really saying about Americans? It's as though our society is looking for comfort and validation from leaders rather than challenges and calls to heed. I need to ruminate on this a bit and will write more, but thought I'd throw it out there for now.