Friday, August 08, 2008 the girl with the mousey hair...

Or Bimbos, by jingo!

Three cheers for Paris Hilton, who has posted a witty riposte to John McCain's truly embarrassing commercial in which he compared Barack Obama to Hilton and Britney Spears. Liberals were somewhat outraged by the McCain ad; but they really shouldn't be: it's probably the most peurile and pathetic political advert I've ever seen. Who wants to watch a hacky media bimbo like John McCain complaining that the new talent is getting more attention than him? It was like All About Eve for the new millennium!

I'm surprised that nobody has made the obvious point that making fun of successful women is probably not the way to win the female vote. It is, however, a safe bet. For some reason the 'bimbo' shtick never gets old in America, as it has in many other countries. It's a classic. The pneumatic, wiggling, voluptuous sex bomb in cheesy 50s comedies was nearly always of dim intelligence, as if to compensate for her power in one arena by diminishing it in another. High IQed actress Jayne Mansfield played the dumb role to the hilt, but she was already a tired imitation of Marilyn Monroe, who could only move into more serious roles by committing suicide.

The stereotype lived on throughout the 60s, with actresses like Goldie Hawn playing dumber than they actually are. The 70s were a time in which Jane Fonda moved from playing Barbarella to more serious roles, but comedies like Three's Company still worked that dumb blond horse. And it seems to have come roaring back in the current decade, with any number of comedies relying on borderline retarded babes who love to get naked for the appreciation of equally stupid males with stunted personalities. Is it funny? Well, sure it can be- in much the same way as stupid ethnic stereotypes can be amusing. But you have to wonder why so few comedians or filmmakers seem to have any understanding of women beyond a half-awed, half-fearful adolescent snickering at them.

The McCain ad, which makes the case that we shouldn't take Obama any more seriously than we would them dumb girls, plays off of and relies on our belief that Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are dumber than we are. Certainly, many people spend a lot of their time making the case. I'm not really sure why though. Admittedly, I don't pay much attention to either one of these women. But, I'd imagine that their public image isn't particularly accurate either.

I actually first heard of Britney Spears at a lousy college party when a group of frat boys were verbally denigrating her. Something sparklingly witty, like, "she's a dumb bitch, but I'd still like to spear Britney!" Yes, you really turned a phrase there, Oscar Wilde, I thought to myself. Eventually, I realized that she was the latest in an endless line of media products- a test-marketed, airbrushed, pop princess. Nobody hates her; they hate the product. And their hatred for her seems to stem from their hatred for "the media", a universal among Americans. But, given the actual woman's ongoing psychological decline, it's ugly as sin. You'd think that the glee people got from Anna Nicole Smith slowly killing herself would have put a bad taste in their mouth for ridiculing attractive celebrities who are suffering from mental illness.

With Paris Hilton, the shtick seems to be that she's stupid and spoiled- a brat who offends our sense of meritocracy by having wealth that she didn't earn and doesn't deserve; I'm not sure John McCain, of all people, wants to start drawing comparisons to that particular narrative! Also, it seems to me that hatred for Hilton is misplaced class-resentment in the same way that hatred for Britney is misplaced media-bashing. The two are basically the same anyway- we have an aristocracy of the image now. People resent the rich and media figures because they feel that those figures have entirely too much power over their lives. And they probably do; but how hard is it to turn off the television set or the computer and read a fucking book?

Maybe we will wind up dealing with all of our fears by projecting them onto attractive women. We could have a "stupid spoiled whore" who represents pollution, one who represents American decline, one who represents crime... Maybe we could vote for them on a reality show: "Pick America's Next Top Witch"! Who will be the next vapid, narcissistic slut that we get to snicker at every time we feel a little insecure about our lives? Some cultures stone them; we put them on reality programs, edit their comments down so they sound stupider, and project our resentment onto them. Paris Hilton's response to this was nothing short of brilliant!

Besides, the pin-the-resentment-on-the-bimbo game is getting old. It's McCain's hope to chuck Obama in with those uppity bitches and negate his power through the same sort of adolescent snickering. The fact that Obama is probably smarter than McCain doesn't matter. We hear endlessly from Washington company men that he hasn't "paid his dues", and we're supposed to relate to this. The subtext is that he's just like every bimbo and black who doesn't appreciate all that "we've" done for them. The worst thing about these snickering jokes is that you can't point out the subtext without being called humorless. (Also, I should note that this particular ad doesn't strike me as racist- just stupid) Obama can't say any of this without looking like he's "playing the race card". And he shouldn't. McCain is acting like a loser even as he's dead even- Obama should be happy. He should laugh at McCain's public insecurity and paraphrase Paris Hilton: "I'll see you at the debate, bitches!"

Paris Hilton Ad Here.

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