Andy Stone: A Stone’s Throw
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Beautiful is as beautiful does, to paraphrase everybody’s favorite philosopher.
Actually, that philosopher, Forrest Gump, was quoting his mother – who said “Stupid is as stupid does” – and she was paraphrasing the saying “Handsome is as handsome does,” which I believe goes all the way back to Chaucer. Anyway …
Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder.
But I still get a little tired of people tossing around the word “beautiful” in a careless manner.
Personally, I like to save it for things that really are, you know, beautiful – like a mountain vista or, of course, my wife.
Most recently, I’ve had my cankles ruffled (Wait! I just looked up “cankles” on the Web and I definitely don’t have cankles – but I still like the phrase, so I’m sticking with it) by all the people calling soccer “the beautiful game.”
Well, no, sorry people, it’s not.
Hang on! Don’t shoot!
I’m not a soccer basher. I don’t hate soccer. Unlike some right-wing columnists, I don’t think soccer is socialist. (A prominent conservative columnist actually wrote that. Really.) If people want to love the game, that’s fine with me.
People love curling. People love stock car racing. People love badminton. People love football. As the kids say, it’s all good.
But when you start rattling on about how soccer is beautiful, then I have to blow the whistle.
I watched a handful of soccer games over the past week or so – games at what was theoretically a pretty high level: the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of the World Cup.
Beautiful was not the word that came to mind.
Sure, the players were superb athletes and there were occasionally some amazing athletic feats.
But those moments were isolated and rarely important. The game itself, as it progressed on the TV screen in front of me, was most often balky, clumsy and incoherent.
And, quite frankly, it was too often shamelessly, unethically brutal.
I stopped watching the final game for quite a while after a player from the Netherlands leaped into the air and kicked one of the Spanish players squarely in the chest, cleats first.
Yes, it was athletically brilliant. They were both several feet in the air at the time. But it was stupidly, pointlessly brutal and the referee treated it as a minor matter.
Sure, American professional football is brutal. The brutality is built into the game. But it’s expected, it’s controlled, and if the refs let someone get away with a cheap shot like that, all hell would break loose.
And no one ever calls NFL football “the beautiful game.”
Sorry, soccer fans, love your game if you want – that’s fine with me – but don’t call it beautiful.
‘Cause it ain’t.
And now, having alienated all the sweet, sensitive touchy-feely liberals out there (who are expected to just love that socialist sport of soccer), please allow me to pivot and annoy another major portion of the U.S. population by saying this: Sarah Palin ain’t beautiful either.
Geez Louise, ever since Ms. Sarah popped into the public eye when Foxy Grandpa McCain picked her to be his running mate, we’ve been hearing how “beautiful” she is.
Sorry guys, no way.
Sure, way back in 1984, when she was Miss Wasilla and finished as one of the top losers in the Miss Alaska contest (and was selected as Miss Congeniality!) she was pretty darn cute.
But the years have not been all that kind to Ms. Palin. Her looks have hardened and congealed. At this point, she’s not pretty, she’s not cute and she’s just flat not beautiful.
Let’s be clear: I am definitely not a fan of her politics. I don’t think she’s stupid – it’s worse than that. I think she’s a PR genius with the kind of feral cunning that could cause real damage to this country some day.
But I also need to make it clear that I am enough of a genuine sleazy male human being that I can detach my politics from my lustful nature. Which is to say, I can see if a Republican is beautiful.
Although I couldn’t tell you their names, I have certainly noticed any number of Fox TV News anchorwomen who are frisky blonde beauties indeed.
And if you want to argue that TV bimbos don’t count, OK, I’d say that I consider Nikki Haley, Republican candidate for governor of South Carolina, pretty darn cute.
But anyone who claims that Sarah Palin is beautiful has got to be wearing “tea goggles” – those are the Tea Party equivalent of the well-known “beer goggles” that make unattractive people look more and more desirable as beer consumption goes up and Last Call is closing in.
Now, I don’t think beauty should be part of anyone’s political qualifications.
But I’m not the one bringing up the question of beauty. It’s Ms. Palin’s supporters who feel the need to crow about her beauty, her desirability, her just flat-out doggone sexiness every chance they get.
One of my right-wing pals (yes, I have right-wing pals) sent me an e-mail back in the fall of 2008 exclaiming, “Sarah is HOT!!!”
Not that you need to read my e-mail to know that Ms. Palin’s supposed beauty is a big deal to her supporters. Try Googling “Palin” and “beautiful.” I just did and I got something north of 7 million hits.
One of my favorites was this little line from a writer on a right-wing website: “[Liberals] despise her beauty. It pushes them over the edge to know that she doesn’t just shoot an assault rifle, but makes an assault rifle look good when shooting it.”
You gotta love that. This gent, by the way, lists his top credential as the fact that he has a Ph.D. in U.S. Military History from Texas Tech University. So there you go. He knows his hot women and he knows his military weapons.
OK? Is everybody angry? Good enough. My work here is done.
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“How Green Was My Valley” is a beautiful and tragic novel that stands as a poignant metaphor for the way fossil fuels have defined the human relationship with energy.