Dear Big Daddy,
The keffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad.
This “controversy,” for those or you actually have something useful to do with your time, is about the scarf the Rachael Ray wore in an online Dunkin Donuts ad. If you’re like me, when you first saw this story, one thought immediately popped into your head: who the hell is Rachael Ray? Assembly candidate? Porn star? Charlie Manson groupie? All three?
At the risk of being the only one who actually needs the clarification I’m about to write, Ray is the host of a cooking show that seems to feature lots of giggling and very little cooking. Though, from the looks of some of the bikini pictures I found in my online quest to trade one type of cluelessness for another, Ray doesn’t seem to have any problem eating—just the way Big Daddy likes ‘em. Hell, I’ll admit I even watched a little of her show (sound very, very off).
My next thought was that we’ve come an awful long way to have arrived essentially nowhere. Two women (with slight color) are debating politics and the country is paying attention. Except maybe they’re debating fashion. To my ear, Keffiyeh for the Clueless sounds like a hip Rodeo Drive boutique frequented by those dead-behind-the-eyes girls on “The Hills.”
Would anyone tune in if either of these 30-something women were a bit less fetching? Not that I’d want to woo either one. If I went on a date with Michelle Malkin, I’d probably end up wanting to stuff a sock in her mouth. If I went out with Rachael Ray, I’d settle for stuffing socks in my own ears.
It seems like the more rigidly divided the two ends of the political spectrum become, the more they start to look like each other. It’s no wonder that politically correct lefties and right wing moralizers hate each so much—because they have so much in common. As much as I want to stick a flag pin in the eye of the next person who says they care if a candidate wears one, I’ll admit that some folks on “my side” also like to wallow in the symbolic and mundane. They may lack their own TV network, but there really are plenty of Lefty language police out there. We’re just lucky that Al Sharpton isn’t a former bikini model (in oh so many ways).
Plank #1 of both party platforms is that there’s nothing too trivial or inane to bring into the discourse. Well, that’s my #1 plank as well. But unlike Ms. Malkin or any number of thought mullahs on either side, I’m not asking to be taken seriously. On the rare occasions actually tries to debate me, I usually make fun of them for it.
But at least I have the presence of mind to know I’m shallow and fictional. Which brings up one bad habit that right wing pundits have the folks on the Left don’t seem to suffer from quite so much: picking fights with fictional characters. Be it Dan Quayle’s dustup with Murphy Brown or Jon Fleischman’s sparring with yours truly, any wins pay out in the political equivalent of Monopoly money.
I know Rachael Ray isn’t fictional. But I’d argue she’s about as close to it as a real person can be without being in a Charlie Kaufman movie (Could you follow that? Me neither). The problem here is that when you pick a fight with someone, everyone watching assumes you’re in the same weight class. That’s why most of the pols I pick on just let me slide like slightly-foul water off a duck’s back. If folks see you don’t have anything better to do than fight with the likes of me, they’ll liable to start wondering why they voted for you (or bought your book) in the first place.
So guess what, Ms. Malkin—you’re now in the same weight class as Rachael Ray. Not physically—you’re a few brie cheese steaks (remember that “controversy”) short of being that cute by my old-timey standards. But in terms of your political and intellectual weightiness, you two are now twins. She tells us how to make meals in five minutes in a voice that sounds like she’s been huffing a helium and nitrous oxide cocktail; you’re defending the homeland, one fashion accessory at a time. You must be so proud.