Do We Need a Constitutional Amendment?

from Amusing Ourselves to Death
Neil Postman

Meanwhile former President Richard Nixon, who once claimed he lost an election because he was sabotaged by make-up men, has offered Senator Edward Kennedy advice on how to make a serious run for the presidency: lose twenty pounds. Although the Constitution makes no mention of it, it would appear that fat people are now effectively excluded from running for high political office.  Probably bald people as well. Almost certainly those whose looks are not significantly enhance by the cosmetician's art. Indeed, we may have reached the point where cosmetics has replaced ideology as the field of expertise over which a politician must have competent control.

 Many of us have experienced the same.  For example, people who are a few pounds, or even many pounds overweight who apply for a position--say receptionist, where weight and activity should pose no problem, and where appearance is otherwise impeccable.  Too often such competent and capable workers are passed over for someone much more attractive but much less able to make appointments and keep books.  I don't know about you, but I would prefer to speak to a person who can understand what I'm asking and give me the options and opportunities that are open to me that day, than to a beautiful receptionist who can't figure out how to read the computer calendar. (I should immediately pose the caveat that not all beautiful receptionists are incompetent--but it surprises me how many need basic instruction in Outlook or iCal to interpret what is on their screens.)  Our entire discourse has devolved to a question of youth and (relative) beauty.  A shame, because in so doing, it has ceased to be a discourse and it has become a polemic, a tirade, a tiresome lecture on the supreme importance of the visual impact.

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