Dear Big Daddy,
In your era, men in politics could say a lot of things they wouldn’t say now. But those days are over and Charles Calderon ought to know better. Right?
–Undoing Sexism in Santa Rosa
Good politicians know when to keep their mouths shut. Calderon, by most accounts, is a smart player who works everybody for political advantage.
So it was even more surprising when he opened his yap. But he knows politics and hype and communications spin, as opposed to reality, and he got smacked. Privately, I told him to forget it.
Publicly, of course, I’m shocked, shocked! Shocked and appalled. Outraged. Livid that this happened.
At this point I should mention that what we’re talking about is Charles Calderon’s little offhand mention that our new Supreme Court Chief Justice, one Tani Cantil-Sakauye, is, and I quote, “attractive.”
It’s not the end of the western world as we know it, but for those who care about terminology like this, it’s a big deal. At least he didn’t say she wasn’t attractive.
Too bad. Did I complain when everybody called me Big Daddy because I weighed a sixth of a ton? Not on your life. I did my job, pal. So I would suggest people let Cantil-Sakauye, who weighs about a twentieth of a ton, to do hers.
What a radical departure from decorum and good taste. What a despicable foray into the grotesque sexism of an earlier age that kept women as barefoot and illiterate as Mississippi voters. Yeah, right.
Now if he’d followed it with “She’s distracting me, she needs to put on a burqa,” or “Hey, I wonder what she’s got on under those robes?” then I could see the problem.
But all Chuck did is something that many of today’s politicians have a talent for — i.e., stating the obvious.
I’m not quibbling with her qualifications to run our local Supremes, but if you were looking for an actual sitting judge to host a reality show called “Sexy Justice,” you could do a lot worse, I say.
And since we’re being honest, let’s just come out and say a few things.
Did Assemblyman Calderon come out of this looking a little foolish and old-fashioned? Sure. But if you’re really outraged about his little offhand comment, you’re not paying enough attention to all sorts of other problems around here.
Some people look better than other people (though happily, we often disagree about exactly which people those are). People tend to look at and talk about those people that many people agree look better than some other people. That’s just what people do, even when the people they’re looking at and talking about are wearing unflattering black robes.
Now over in Washington, folks like to take a little time out and celebrate the fact that people agree that some people look better than other people. In fact, a little rag called The Hill (aka “The Capitol Weekly of DC”) puts out a 50 Most Beautiful People in Washington list every year — and lots of people want to be on it.
Capitol Weekly tried it in Sacramento, and could only come up with a few.
And since politics is show business for ugly people, I’m doing just fine, thank you. In politics, we know how to flaunt it, even if we don’t necessarily have it.