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  • Revenge of the Uncool

    Posted by Shannon Love on January 28th, 2005 (All posts by )

    So, Vice President Check goes to the Auschwitz remembrance ceremony wearing a heavy olive-drab parka over his suit.

    Oh, the humanity!

    There is apparently much gnashing of teeth among the cool kids over this supposed fashion faux pas.

    Whatever personal affection I have for members of the Bush administration comes from the fact that from head guy on down, they are a bunch of uncool dorks.

    I like that because I too am an uncool dork. Just ask my children.

    Bush can’t give a speech to save his life. I mean, he tries, but I don’t think he really ever pulls it off. I would rather have a fork scraped repeatedly across my teeth than listen to one of his speeches waiting for a gaffe or one of his patented mistimed pauses. Cheney is worse in some ways. Listening to him is like being lectured on fire evacuation procedures by the guy from accounting.

    I learned a long time ago that being suave and articulate have nothing to do with intelligence or competence. In fact, I decided that people with a really good verbal turn of phrase, neat dress and ready answer for everything probably worked in marketing and should be shot on sight.

    I think Bush enrages so many people on the Left precisely because he is their polar opposite in so many ways. They are highly articulate — in fact many leftists make their living via some form of expression. Bush is probably the worst speaker of any president in the last 100 years. They’re educated in the humanities. Bush is an MBA. They revel in style, fashion and high culture. Bush’s tastes are relentlessly bourgeois.

    Leftists like to think of themselves as an intellectual elite. The fact that Bush has succeeded to the most powerful political office in the world calls into question the premise that their intellect, education and articulation truly make them superior. If the “idiot chimp” can defeat them time and again, what does that say about them?

    Maybe, just maybe, it means that elites don’t exist and that the Left is at best just one of many classes of specialists, each with no better grasp of reality than the others. Maybe it means there isn’t just one way to be an intelligent and successful human being. Maybe it means we don’t need any sort of elite group to run our lives.

    Nah, that would be uncool.

     

    11 Responses to “Revenge of the Uncool”

    1. incognito Says:

      The Euro high nosing at Cheney’s clothes rubbed me the wrong way. It’s cold. It’s outside. He probably dressed as what any sensible man of retirement age would dress in such conditions.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      Interestingly, in the photo Cheney is seated next to the president of Israel. In Israel many people attend serious events wearing clothes that Americans would consider too casual. It’s the attitude and behavior that matter, not the clothing. Cheney is a serious, decent and dignified man no matter what kind of coat he is wearing, and the critics are being childish. I’m sure that if Kerry had won a VP Edwards attending the Auschwitz ceremony would have dressed impeccably, but he could not have represented the United States better than Cheney does.

    3. Ginny Says:

      Style over substance, partisanship over policy – I think we see a pattern here. I suspect I’m less cool than Shannon and would be one of the last people anyone would consider a fashion arbiter, but exactly how “cool” is it to get your fashion writer to cover “the deeply moving 60th anniversary service”?

      There’s cool and there’s stylish and there’s, well . . . superficial? vacuous? unserious? trivial? petty?

    4. David/California Says:

      I’ll mention heart patients are often advised against hyperthermia – the constriction of the blood vessels can be very dangerous. I can’t speak to the fashion choices (Does Armani make a parka?), but he looked like a man trying to stay warm to me.

    5. Dan Says:

      It looked colder than a motherfucker, but that didn’t stop everyone else from wearing black overcoats. It does no good to make a federal case out of this, but after all the apologizing on Cheney’s behalf is done, there still appears to be a trace of disrespect for the occaision, intentional or otherwise. I’m a godless liberal, so I don’t care about things like symbolism and ceremony, but if you don’t sense that the VP sticks out in those photographs, you’re not being honest or objective.

    6. ginny Says:

      As a hide-bound conservative, I do have some sympathy for Wyoming fashion. And as an American woman, I feel we should strut our stuff whenever we want to. Still and all, the “meal from hell” that Reynolds links to and which is moderated by Ignatius from the Washington Post might also appear unsophisticated – or at least unaware. Besides serving the Iranian delegates wine, Biden arrived an hour and a half late (he’d gone to the wrong hotel) and with a wife in the black that the Mullahs find appropriate, but, still, her “figure-hugging leather pants and a top that left her arms bare from the shoulders” was not exactly, well, the same kind of black as the Iranian attire.

      (Biden then lectured the Iranians, telling them that both they and the U.S. needed to “grow up.”)

    7. Jonathan Says:

      Yeah, he sticks out. So what? He was wearing his native attire. It’s silly to suggest that he was somehow being intentionally disrespectful by doing so. It’s only a coat, and he changed it later, obviously because it became apparent that he was discordantly dressed and he didn’t want to give offense. End of problem.

      Sometimes a coat is just a coat.

    8. Robin Burk Says:

      Looks like a military winter jacket to me, complete with nametape.

    9. Dan Says:

      It’s silly to suggest that he was somehow being intentionally disrespectful…

      Never said it.

      …he was discordantly dressed…

      So we’re agreed.

    10. Shannon Love Says:

      I think the parka was gaffe of sorts but thats exactly why I like it. I like people who don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what type of an impression they make or of the possible symbolism of what they wear or know what other people will be wearing.

      I am far more comforatable with the real world decision making capabilities of people blind to fashion than those dressed to the nines for every occasion.

      Cool people preen. Dorks govern.

    11. Robert Schwartz Says:

      f$#@%^ em if they can’t take a joke.