Friday, January 26, 2007

heavy duty

i really object to today's l.a. times story -- under the category head of "news analysis," no less -- about how gov. arnold schwarzenegger's body has deteriorated as he has aged. well, no shit, sherlock! know of anyone whose body hasn't?

as usual, this excuse to indulge in the type of pseudo-tabloid journalism that apparently brings in those coveted young eyes is flimsily justified as newsworthy. "ordinarily, a politician's body would not be noteworthy," allows staffer robert salladay. "but california is witnessing a singular moment: the deconstruction of one of the greatest bodies of all time."

gag me. i mean, just fucking GAG ME!!

anyway, having dispensed with the justification, salladay dives right into this deeply insightful "news analysis" by enumerating the governator's various infirmities, operations, and artificial parts, and arnold's attitude toward same. (incredible revelation: he's cranky about getting older and might be a little depressed about being on crutches and in constant pain after his skiing accident.)

"and in perhaps an even bigger blow to his ego," writes salladay, "photos from a vacation in maui a few years ago showed him in a swimsuit with a sagging chest, robust stomach and ashen chest hair." a few years ago?? this is news?

the times, of course, doesn't print any of those photos, b/c they are tabloid fodder and beneath the dignity of a major metropolitan daily newspaper.

just kidding! they totally printed one. in fact, a cropped version of it, in color, is shown as a thumbnail on the paper's home page today. isn't that great? such a very important story!! it really belongs on the home page.

and blah blah, he's more accessible to people now that he's more vulnerable, and blah blah he was once upon a time photographed by robert mapplethorpe and annie leibovitz. and blah blah, he's not a bodybuilder anymore. and blah blah, assertions that we are all so relieved to see he actually isn't the terminator, but a mere human like the rest of us, after all. there's even speculation on just how well he will age! wow, they have expert opinions for everything.

but don't worry, folks -- he's in excellent health. his doctor said so.

to clarify: i am not a fan of arnold schwarzenegger (at least not as a politician -- i liked some of his movies). i think he's an opportunistic jerk who lately has appeared to change his position on some things (like healthcare-for-all), but i am not buying it. he's been a total cock to some of california's most caring and self-sacrificing individuals, and he is an objectifying asshole when it comes to women. nevertheless, this article offends me in part b/c it is objectifying. i mean, isn't the point the state of a politician's mind, not his body? (oh, right -- robert covered that with the part about how arnie seems depressed.) this story reminds me somehow of the robin abcarian "sausage casing girls" bit of evil i ranted about some time ago. and i cannot imagine the times writing something like this about a female politician, regardless of how "fit" she might once have been. i was half-surprised they didn't run one of those tabloid shots of barack obama on the beach in hawaii and try to pass it off as some sorta "comparison/contrast" thing on politicians' physiques.

but also this story offends b/c it is fluff labeled "news analysis"!! yes, it's fluff, at best a "human interest story" (masquerading, let's not forget, as "news analysis" -- oh, sorry, did i say that already?). there are many more relevant and potentially interesting aspects of schwarzenegger's personality/persona to delve into. and even this one could have gained an ounce of weight by, say, talking about why it is that arnold's getting the best medical care. answer: b/c he can afford it! which way too many average folks -- you know, the ones who are now able to be so relieved that the guv is like them after all? -- cannot.

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