Spring Break has broken out in the political techno-sphere, with attractive, blonde women scrapping in such an unseemly, insensitive way that Joe Francis could show up at any moment with his Girls Gone Wild camera.
The contestants are fringe Republicans (different fringes): Meghan (daughter of John) McCain, walking dynamite stick Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin stand-in, Laura Ingraham.
It's not that the feud isn't fun to watch, for people of any party affiliation. But when Ms. Ingraham got on Ms. McCain about body fat, things turned ugly. I mean, saying Jews are bad (Ms. Coulter), that's just part of being sassy and provocative. But, particularly here in SF -- sensitivity central -- going after someone's weight is below the belt.
Although she is the most bombastic of the three, often accused by her many critics of a crude kind of madness, Ms. Coulter is the only one who has not engaged. Yet. Maybe she's exercising some restraint. Also, she's been on the receiving end herself of unkind comments about body type though the slights, as mirrored by her politics vs. Ms. McCain's, sit at opposite ends of the solar system. One super lean, one definitely sturdier. (How's that for Northern California language neutral?)
First, Meghan McCain slammed Ann Coulter as an extremist. "I could be a poster woman for the opposite," she said on her Daily Beast blog. Her friendly commenters clearly feel she could be a poster woman, period. Ms. Coulter, she said, is "offensive, radical, insulting and confusing." OK, a little mortar fire from the tree line, as her dad might say.
But then this: "Figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off," she wrote. Now it's getting personal. Cue the Jaws theme. But it was Laura Ingraham who responded, presumably on Ms. Coulter's behalf. She described Meghan as "kind of cute" (the set up, or maybe the subplot of all of this) even if she was also "just another Valley Girl gone awry."
But here it comes: Meghan was "plus-sized." Ouch! And they were off. Twittering and posting and TV/radio trash-talking, and invitations to kiss certain robust body parts.
Ms. McCain scolded, "Quit talking about my weight, Laura Ingraham" she titled her next Beast piece and went on to defend "curviness." Of course Gawker couldn't resist being nasty to everyone: "Mean Pundit Accidentally Justifies Meghan McCain's Boring Self-Obsession" was their headline. (Michelle Malkin tackled the weighty battle on her blog, but steered away from body image and stuck to the political right angles.) Then today Ingraham brought the dialogue back from brawn to brains by just flat out calling McCain an "idiot." Though, she prefaced with "useful," so that's nice.
I say sensitivity training with a dash of anger management all around. With a lot of hard work and non-judgmental therapy, we could approach the kind of thought-positive posture of Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, which said, according to the AP, that "Followers of the youth music and fashion trend known as "emo" have suffered discrimination and violence. They have recommended (never insist. Ever.) "Sensitivity training to prevent it."
Emos wear long bangs and skinny (just in the fashion sense) pants and listen to angst-ridden music, the story said.
Save the Emos! And our own national sense of decorum while we're at it.
For more, read Bronstein at Large.
Follow Phil Bronstein on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PhilBronstein