Jun 30, 2008

Old Wine,Older Jokes

NEW YORK: I was born when you, John McCain, were nearly six years older than my mother. Now, seven years into her retirement, you want a new job, the hardest job in the world. Wow! Obviously, my mother isn't running for president, but her age gives me a context for considering yours. And within that context, your age gives me pause. I'm apparently not alone. In a university poll of swing states (Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania) published last week, nearly a quarter of respondents said that your age made it less likely they would vote for you. It wasn't just the young who had an issue with it, either. More than 20 per cent of those 55 and older agreed. And, while one would expect a partisan divide, independents leaned more towards the Democrats' point of view. That should give you pause. Fair or not, this is a serious hurdle for you. So, why is it that you can't seem to stop making light of it? That's a bad idea. Imagine Barack Obama making a string of self-depreciating black jokes. See, bad idea. Let's review. It was disconcerting when you joked on 'Saturday Night Live' that we should be looking for someone "very, very, very, old" to be the next president. I cringed when you flubbed a joke on MTV about being "older than dirt" with "more scars than Frankenstein". It was alarming, not quaint, when you sheepishly confessed your computer illiteracy, in the age of Google, YouTube and MySpace, when jehadists maintain their own websites and when you are staring down the cannon of Obama's Borg-like internet juggernaut. It is confusing when you sardonically call Obama a "young man". That makes me ponder your age even more. After all, how old do you have to be to call a 46-year-old a young man? Add to this joshing grandpa shtick the vast and immutable visual disparity between you and the cover boy, and you get two negatives that do not equal a positive. The camera loves him. You, not so much. It sucks the life out of you, and amplifies your awkward aesthetic - the wispy comb-over, the stilted grins, the blank expressions. There is no political Botox in your self-flagellating humour. Stay stoic. Act your age, and stop talking about it. If you must discuss it, laud its merits - wisdom, not wit. NYTNS

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