Sunday, December 05, 2004


Sexy conservatives -- II

I'm still hoping that if I combine my stubborn personal news blackout with a regular viewing of West Wing reruns, I'll be transported into an alternate reality where President Jed Bartlett is slowly but surely rediscovering the liberal principles that made him enter public life in the first place...

It's early in season two, and the Bartlett White House staff has just been joined by Ainsley Hayes, described by her colleagues as "a pretty, leggy blonde." I wouldn't describe her as "leggy," since she's kind of petite, but she's certainly pretty, in a perky, cheerleaderish sort of way that, as the producers understand perfectly, really sizzles when set off by her Harvard Law degree and razor-sharp mind.

She is also a rabid conservative.

Is Ainsley Hayes supposed to suggest Ann Coulter? Or just, more generically, the emergence of young(er), attractive women within the Republican Party?

Whatever -- it raises the question, is Ann Coulter attractive? I found myself asking this question the other day in Barnes and Noble. There she is, Ann Coulter, staring up at me from the remainder table. Is she hot? No, I'm not asking this question because I'm sexist (as in "You don't ask whether Donald Rumsfeld [who's also on the cover of a dispaly book] is hot!"). I'm asking the question it because I am biologically programmed to do so about literally every woman I see. I ask the question, answer it quickly for myself, and move on, just as I would look outside in the morning and ask "is it sunny or cloudy?"

The answer, in Ann Coulter's case -- my answer -- is that she is neither sunny nor cloudy, but rather sort of hazy. (And I don't mean Ainsley Hayes-y.) If I knew nothing about Ann Coulter's politics and the vile words that she is always saying or writing, I guess I might think, "yeah, she is sort of good-looking." But she has offbeat good looks, what would be an interesting or even beautiful flaw in a good person but that leave the door ajar just enough to be crowded out by ugly personality that she allows to come through it.

Donald Rumsfeld (see!) has something similar going on. Again, if you saw him with the sound turned off -- if you knew nothing of his politics or the bile that infuses every word of his -- you'd see a man with the craggy, hollow-cheeked, late-middle-aged-jogger sort of good looks that you might associate with an aging movie star who can still land a part as a romantic lead but who grosses you out when he gets to make out with Scarlett Johanson.

Yet Rummy is a living example of Abraham Lincoln's aphorism, "After 40, you get the face you deserve." (Alternate version: "Every man over 40 is responsible for his face.") He has spent so much time and energy scowling and expressing contempt for those who disagree with him that his face is fixed in a permanent ugly sneer.

Don't spew so much, Ann Coulter, or your face might freeze that way.


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