Life is hard enough and the mainstream media has a lot to answer for in making it so much harder –financial ‘experts’ like Jim Cramer spreading Wall Street rumours and urging viewers to buy Bear Stearns stock just before the investment bank collapsed, the Investor’s Business Daily’s scare-mongering with false claims the health care reform bill would make private medical insurance ‘illegal’, Lou Dobbs and his incessantly silly conspiracy theory over Obama’s birth certificate, Hardball’s collaboration with Karl Rove in the intentional misleading coverage of the Plame CIA leak, the non-stop maudlin eulogies for Michael Jackson drowning out any other more boring news like, oh say, more soldiers killed in Afghanistan, Glen Beck’s high-pitched hysterical assault on our (largely medically uninsured) eardrums, and now...
… Mom Jeans.
This is big news, according to Greg Gutfeld and the immaculately bleached and botoxed and blown-dry Laura Ingraham on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor as the first ‘dork’ President of the United States has appeared in public wearing Mom Jeans, bought with a gift certificate, apparently, from the now bankrupted Mervyn’s. Americans should be scared – scared, I tell ya – that the POTUS dresses like a band teacher. Greg Gutfeld barely cracks a smile as he warns us ‘this isn’t going to intimidate Putin’ and ‘our adversaries in Iran will not take [him] seriously,’ especially since he also throws a baseball ‘like a little girl’… all symbols of something ‘deeper and more sinister’…
I kid you not. I wish I did. CNN’s Jeanne Moos has also had a good laugh at the President’s expense as well, linking Mr Obama’s fashion faux pas to that other political heavyweight, Jessica Simpson, who was even shown being hounded by the media for her stylistic stumble. Moos brings on celebrity fashionista Robert Verdi (wearing horizontal orange striped shirt, wrinkled khaki chinos and a pair of oversized white rimmed sunglasses down low on his forehead) for an in-depth queer eye for the straight guy study of the President’s pants. ‘Too short, frumpy, two big tree trunk legs, terrible – they’re Mom Jeans, for sure.’
All in good fun, right? Well… maybe not so much.
Karl Frisch of Media Matters sure isn’t amused. ‘What is being brought to the table here?’ he asks. ‘Conversations about candidates’ names and cleavage? Or things that people actually care about, like health care and the war in Iraq? Funny or not, when Jeanne Moos does these types of fluff pieces, she is advancing these attacks, doing real damage. This is CNN, not Comedy Central.’
It’s also a matter of who is yucking it up over the Barack O’Mama jeans to understand the why. The last time a fashion icon spit the dummy over a President’s lack of style, Manolo Blahnik called for Dubya to be impeached for the unforgivable High Crime of wearing crocs. (Check out this photo - why he didn’t mention these hideous baggy shorts, I have no idea, not being a fashionista myself). But that particular gaffe went nearly unnoticed…
…at least in the official reality proscribed by FOX and like-minded conservatively slanted news organizations, who had their hands full on a daily basis just trying to manage the damage control for this poseur POTUS.
Barack Obama epitomises the kind of class, intelligence, self-respect, and stately dignity that the White House has not seen in a very, very long time. The message always has more power when the messenger is seen to be trustworthy and honourable, which makes fighting the message a lot harder for those whose ideology can’t stand competition on a fair playing field.
So the MSM – in order to undermine the message – undermines the messenger. Ridicules him. Mocks him. Yucks it up. Pokes some fun. Oh, c’mon, lighten up, it’s just for a little laugh, folks, nothing serious. Har, har.
Really? Once upon a time, Joseph McCarthy was the most feared man in America. Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, along with a number of other political satirists, defied the House Committee on Un-American Activities with humour – dressing up as Santa Claus and Revolutionary War soldiers, blowing bubblegum, and openly mocking the committee. Zero Mostel before them had fired the first shot, defending his right to portray a butterfly at rest anywhere he chose and making the committee look foolish. It was in large part open mockery that defused the near absolute power of HUAC and led to Joe McCarthy’s eventual downfall and disgrace. The power of humour is still a force to be feared – Jon Stewart may arguable be the most influential political authority in the media today.
It’s not just humour, however. It’s the jeans. It’s something MSM understands all too well – the insidious power of image over substance. There’s a reason so many female FOX anchors look like Ingraham clones, all those bleached blonde, botoxed, boob-jobbed, blow-dried, braindead bimboes. There’s a reason for so many programmes like Make Me A Supermodel, and 10 Years Younger, and Dr. 90210, and Extreme Makeover promoting clothing and radical plastic surgery as the panacea to women’s (and even sometime men’s) self-esteem. There’s a reason magazines routinely Photoshop already stunning models into inhuman perfection and publish diets and advice for those desperate to fit into a size zero, something the French (who the MSM has told us repeatedly we are supposed to hate, remember) have outlawed. There’s a reason why producers can slap braces and a pair of funny glasses onto the drop dead gorgeous America Ferrara to instantly transform her into ‘ugly’. There’s a reason for the sharp rise in anorexia in women over 40 – it’s not just a teenage disease anymore – when faced with the constant barrage of ultra-skinny Callista Flockharts and Victoria Beckhams and Terri Hatchers.
We have become a nation obsessed with image, and the MSM has profited quite handsomely from it; reality tv rules. It understands the huge power the media can exert over the fragile self-image of viewers who constantly compare themselves to what they see on television as being the ‘norm’ and grieve over falling so short – and rush out to buy the clothes, the make-up, the exercise machines, the drugs they see advertised between that testosterone oozing O’Reilly and Miss America’s Gretchen Carlson. It's a vicious money machine.
It also understands the power of Mom Jeans. I’d never heard of Mom Jeans before Obama threw out a baseball while dressed in what looked to me like a perfectly acceptable pair of jeans, maybe a bit loose but then he’s got all that body armour underneath to worry about. But instantly – instantly! – I started worrying about… Mom Jeans. All my jeans are well over ten years old, and since for health reasons I’ve dropped 20 kilos over the last year and a half – down from 85 to 65 (that’s 187 lbs to 143 lbs, not exactly a size zero) – they’re even more baggy and comfortable than they were before. In an admittedly knee-jerk reaction, I scrambled for advice, finding this website to instruct me on how to wear jeans ‘appropriate’ for my age...
...Yeah, right. If the model in that picture is my age, I’m bloody Angelina Jolie. I’ve come back down to Planet Reality again, thankfully, where I know most normal men of my acquaintance are completely baffled by this obsession over fashion and do not give a toss about my jeans… unless they’re gay. Which kinda defeats the purpose.
Two weeks ago, I’d never heard of Mom Jeans, didn’t give a hoot if my jeans had nine-inch zippers and pleats or made my bum look flat. So why should I care if President Obama wears Mom Jeans?
...Because if I can be so easily seduced into worrying about my own self-image, lured into that quagmire trap of disappointment and dejection, then maybe I can be suckered into believing Barack Obama is likewise not quite good enough as well. He’s not going to be one of those perfect people I only ever see on television with whom I compare myself. He’s going to be like me… aging… unattractive… ordinary and pedestrian. If I can be so easily convinced my hair, my make-up, my wrinkles, my weight, my jeans make me undesirable and unworthy, then maybe I can be convinced that Obama isn’t such hot stuff, either.
But like quite a lot of what you see on MSM these days, this may just backfire. If Obama can survive Mom Jeans…
...then so can I.