In what has to be an appeal to the lowest common denominator of newspaper readers–lower, even, than USA Today–this weekend’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a cue from Us Weekly and more or less “borrows” the trashy tabloid magazine’s popular “Fashion Police” feature, where five or six unknown writers and comedians take “witty” potshots at stars and celebrities in all their swan-dressed glory. Of course, the Post-Gazette, being a respectable/reputable daily newspaper, tries to get some more politically-oriented pundits (e.g CNN’s Paul Begala), and runs their feature under the investigative headline, “Who has the telegenic edge?“, but the following excerpts belie what they’re really going after: that elusive Bonnie Fuller/Bill Kristol crossover crowd.
Rovitto: He looks very strong on television. He’s got the mature face, the military bearing, the graying hair. All of those things play to his benefit.
Julian: Clark’s ties are too long. He’s using his hands to express more emotion than his face. I’m not sure, but in some photos his shirt looks too big — like there’s a gap on the right side. He is a classic dresser.
Begala: I believe the word Martian was mentioned by someone at some point. But I would never say that about him. He looks like a nice guy.
Brabender: I do not believe Kucinich is from this planet. It’s very obvious. I’m also suspicious that Kucinich is actually a prop of the Democratic Party, placed in the race to make their other candidates look better by comparison.
Julian: In one photo he makes the only unique neckwear statement with a light brown silk tie, which is a nontypical color palette.
Begala: He’s 50 years young. He’s great looking, the best-looking candidate since Ronald Reagan, but so very young. If you combine that with the fact that here’s a guy in his first term in the Senate, that’s a real problem for him. I keep thinking of the line in “About Last Night” when Jim Belushi told Rob Lowe, “What you need is an industrial accident.”
Rovitto: He’s kind of goofy looking in some photos. There’s that youthfulness. He’s almost collegiate looking. But I don’t think his looks alone are such a distraction in the negative sense that it necessarily is a strike against him.
Brabender: The biggest problem Edwards has is that he looks too much like a candidate. He seems like someone sent from Central Casting to play the role of a young Southern senator running for president. This has hurt his credibility. I’ve thought all along he only entered the race to see if he could get a TV series out of it.
[with thanks to Jeff]