Picture Perfect

Last week's Newsweek rocked. It was one of the best Newsweeks I’ve ever read. Lately I’ve been going through withdrawal from Newsweek reading, now that I don’t have to go to the orthodontist’s office anymore. In fact, I have no regular, standing appointments at offices with waiting rooms that have magazines in them. JiffyLube sucks. All they have is Field and Stream and Hot Rod. My doctor’s office has health magazines that are thinly disguised advertisements for the weight loss clinic that our doctor has a stake in. Where is Nancy Pelosi? Where’s Putin? Where are the children of the presidential candidates? Where are the wry, cerebral cartoons?

Occasionally someone will steal a Newsweek for me and it will appear in my bathroom. I love those days. Last week’s cover was John McCain and Sarah Palin and that was the cover story, but the whole magazine was full of good stuff – a book someone wrote about God being a black woman that has the religious circles abuzz, a funny commentary about how often Joe Biden said “seriously” and “literally,” and a story about Raold Dahl, one of my favorite children’s authors, who was a spy during World War II.

I turned one page and saw the full-page color photos of McCain on the left and then Palin on the right. The photo of Palin reminded me so much of the big color photograph of Jackie Kennedy that I had a love affair with in 1964. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know about my long-standing obsession with The Torch Has Passed and the color photo of Jackie in the sparkly white ball gown, magenta lipstick and shiny black hair. I get a little tickle in my throat just thinking of it. Anyway, this photo of Palin was just as close up and just as detailed.

I was immediately relieved to see that the angry leftists at Newsweek had, in a moment of compassion, airbrushed any blemishes and facial hairs off of Sarah’s face. McCain’s face had some asymmetrical stubble and lots of weird lines and stuff (he has some moles that he should have looked at), but Palin’s photo was quite perfect. According to this close-up photo, her eyebrows had been recently plucked, she not only doesn’t have a mustache, but she doesn’t even have any pores on the skin of her upper lip, and her nose is not equipped with a filtering system made of tiny hairs and broken veins.

What a relief. I don’t particularly like her and I’m one slightly miffed leftist myself, but no woman – I don’t care what your politics are – wants to see a fellow female shown in all her unPhotoshopped glory in a national magazine.

When I was a real journalist, a reporter I worked with was put into jail for refusing to reveal her source. Almost every night on the local TV news, someone would do an on-camera interview. These nightly updates of her in her jumpsuit were riveting. News people throughout the area were all eyes and ears – many of them even put down their drinks and cigarettes and stopped talking to hear themselves talk – when she would appear on TV. For we female reporters, it was even more stressful. We could see, as the days wore on, that while her friends and family were able to bring her food, books and news from the outside, apparently no one was able to smuggle in a pair of tweezers, some Nair or a personal shaver. We were mortified. Even people who didn’t like her were not happy to see this. It was every female journalist’s nightmare come true. Up until then, some of us actually thought it might be cool, adventurous and a good resume-builder to be put in jail for refusing to reveal a source. It would be worth eating slop, strip searches, taking group showers, and becoming someone’s bitch. In fact, you might even get caught up on some reading. But none of that would be worth letting all of Cleveland know that you had more hair growing on your face than the sports intern on Channel 3.

The worst part was that you could see it get worse and worse, by the day. I was watching the news with a friend of mine, also a reporter, and when the camera shot to Inmate 39480 we both let out a gasp.

“Dear God, have mercy!” my friend yelled and we both covered our mouths. “Just give them the name, for cripes sake! Give them the name and get the hell out of there!”

This is what makes women better than any other gender of the human race. We’re sweet and compassionate and we have the empathy thing sewn up. We can make our own people and feed them with our own body parts. Since recent elections, it’s now widely accepted that we’re tough as barracudas and twice as snarly. And – here’s the coup de gras – we stick together. We females may not necessarily vote for Palin, but we’ll take down any photo journalist who tries to show her with a zit, chin hairs, a turkey gobbler or her slip showing.

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