McCain Has Mole-Like Skin Removed
-- headline, abcnews.go.com 7/28/08
This might be my favorite headline of the election so far. Maybe ever. It raises so many wonderful questions.
1) Shouldn't this be bigger news? I mean, Sweet Jesus, if you had your skin removed -- whether you looked like a mole or not -- wouldn't you die?
2) Are we so ageist (and blasé about violence) that a man can be flayed alive, and all we do is use it as an excuse to call him wrinkly?
3) Could the media really be as biased as McCain claims? You don't see people running around saying Barack Obama looks like a mole.
4) Can Senator McCain have his mole-like skin removed any time he wants? What does he do then with his hideously jury-rigged organs?
5) Has something been hurriedly transposed? Are they leaving something out? Like the word "trousers?" Could they have meant, "McCain Has Moleskin-Like Trousers Removed?"
Making a big deal that an old guy can't get his own pants off -- is that ageist?
Fowler says the problem with ambiguity is not so much obscurity as clumsiness. "It misleads the reader only momentarily, if at all, but makes him think the writer a fool for not being able to say what he means." The problem with this awful headline is more serious than that.
The problem is that we're not allowed to say a politician has cancer. It's not fair to the game. Even though every other white American who's reached a certain age and has a certain amount of health insurance gets spots removed all the time. It's different in an election.
(And even after an election; Ronald Reagan had two-feet of colon removed in 1985, and the press reported it as a tennis injury.)
You can't say the candidate is sick, especially a man like John McCain, who's been more dead than alive since the Roger Moore era of James Bonds.
Why? Because John McCain only has two issues:
1) Give Big Oil Everything They Want
2) Those Mean Reporters Like Obama Best
So the press is going to bend over backwards to not say perfectly obvious things about John McCain, like when he has a melanoma removed, or his mistress disappears.
And they won't say what everyone knows: That John McCain doesn't actually believe anything. He's just belligerent. And he's not a conservative, or a liberal, or a maverick, or a Hutterite, or anything much, philosophically, one way or the other. He's just the 2000 Year Old Prick.
A condition that appears to be malignant.