April 21, 2007
If there’s a way to write about a Democratic presidential contender that’s cheap, false and silly, then Maureen Dowd will be on it like a fly on a cow pie. She really gave TimesSelect customers their money’s worth with a long disquisition on the significance of John Edwards’s haircut. Along the way, she demonstrated the lingering effects of Leonard Shelby Syndrome, that selective amnesia that afflicts mass market media types when they puzzle over the question of why campaigns turn into trivial mudslinging matches. (LSS is, you may recall, named in honor of the protagonist of the film Memento, whose inability to remember anything that happened longer than 15 minutes ago makes him a tool for various criminal types.) Greg Sargent explains it all for you here.
But, as Bob Somerby reminds us, the haircut wars began long before Edwards came on the scene:
Since 1992, only Gore, among Dem nominees, has escaped this kind of insightful press scrutiny. But then, there was no time to study Gore’s cut; he was busy being criticized for his boots, his earth tones and his three-button suits — Chris Matthews thought of a horny sailor — and, of course, for his polo shirts, which caused Brian Williams such angst. At one point in October 1999, Williams attacked the troubling polo shirts five nights in an eight-day period. (They were Gore’s attempt to fool female voters. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/11/01.) Today, this kooky fellow stands behind the anchor desk at a well-known place — NBC News.
Somerby’s been doing outstanding work on this topic for years at The Daily Howler. Be sure to explore his incomparable archives.