Sep 12th, 2008
The Great Lipstick Debate
Last week we mentioned the Great Palin Debate, as argued by the hundreds of thousands of Palin designs created by y’all. We also mentioned that those debates don’t show any sign of going quietly, and to that end we weren’t surprised when this week’s political controversy soundbyte made its way to t-shirts, buttons and everything else fit for a lipsticked pig. Or a pit bull. Or a barracuda. Or any other animal prone to wearing beauty products.
Sarah Palin recently noted that the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom is lipstick. Not surprisingly, we immediately saw a bunch of Palin merchandise added around the pit bull/hockey mom lipstick theme.
This week, Barack Obama used a common colloquialism when characterizing McCain’s policies as no different than George W. Bush’s:
“You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still going to stink after eight years.”
The GOP has accused Obama of a sexist, deliberate attack on Sarah Palin by intentionally referencing her lipstick/pit bull remark; the Obama campaign claims that the remark was the innocent use of a common colloquialism and not meant to characterize Palin as a swine of any kind, and that the GOP’s attacks are a thinly veiled attempt to stir up controversy.
John McCain himself used this phrase when describing Hillary Clinton’s health plan back in ’07. We didn’t see an explosion of merchandise around it then, but Hillary hasn’t been exempt from the latest batch of creativity…
Interestingly, nobody seems to be objecting to Obama’s second, colorful and non-colloquial portion of that sentence on the grounds that it implies that either McCain or Bush are (a) old, (b) a fish or (c) odorous in any way. Apparently, all animal metaphors used in political commentary are seen as applying to Palin these days.
So far we have about 4700 lipstick-on-a-pig products, most of which have to do with Sarah Palin.
So: pit bull, pig, barracuda or none of the above? It may be time to ask the animals for their opinions; unfortunately, Ms. Piggy, Babe and Wilbur have all been mum on the matter, and barracuda aren’t known for their public speaking abilities. I will however note that, as the owner of a few pit bulls myself, I’m not convinced that lipstick is the main differentiator between Sarah Palin and my dogs. Then again, she may have a few feather boas hidden away of which the American populace is thus far unaware.