Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Chesire Candidate

Yesterday there was a strange, short-lived controversy over the above photograph. Did the Mark Kennedy campaign, in a desperate attempt to make their candidate look like a real, downhome Minnesota fisherman, photoshop in that lovely walleye? Did campaign staffers, in their haste, forget to erase the tell-tale third arm allegedly visible in the shot? It would have been beautiful were it true, but unfortunately it is not. No one asked me, but if they had I would have told them that it would be a rare thing for photograph fakers to be so subtle and exact in the shadow you see across Mark Kennedy’s chest, yet so heavy-handed in their forgetfulness about leaving the “third arm” in. As it is, the picture is real, although it does look kind of weird. Congressman Kennedy is thrusting the fish towards the camera, making the perspective such that his knuckle appears bigger than the rest of his arm. Bad photography, perhaps, but no trickery there.

That isn’t what I’m worried about, though. For all I care, Mark Kennedy can photoshop himself mowing down slavering Al-Qaeda hordes with his prosthetic machine gun hand. It doesn’t bother me any. What bothers me is his eerie, vacant grin. That smirk you see, that mindless smirk that finds its way into 89.933% of Mark Kennedy’s publicity photographs. It creeps me out. Check out one of his official portraits:

It might be just me, but I just can't bring myself to trust a politician with a smile like that. I like my politicians to be intense, moody and forbidding. I like them to glare at the camera as if they're immensely annoyed that they had to put down their Santayana treatise to pander to the stupid, stupid demands of the voters. I don't want the subtext of the campaign photograph to be, as it is so often with Magical Mark, "Yaaaay! I'm going fishing again!":

Or, god forbid, "Yaaay! Here I am with the President!":

Or "Yaaay! I get to read a book to a bunch of kids! Yaaaay, kids!"

"Yaaay! Gil Goooot-kneck-tttttffphhpbt!"

"Yaaaay! Face-painted guys! Whooo! Go team!"

"Yaaaay! Tom Delay! HAM-MER! HAM-MER!"

I honestly don't see how anyone can get behind a candidate so goofy. Let's hope he loses, and loses badly. Maybe that should be his opponent's slogan: "Help wipe that creepy, creepy smile off Mark Kennedy's face!"

Just a suggestion there.