Remember The Man from Glad? He was the white-haired guy in the trench coat who, in those old commercials for Glad Plastic Wrap, would descend from the sky by glider or air pontoon, touching down in various suburban American backyards. Then he'd head for a kitchen, to take command of some agitated housewife's food storage problems. Some 45 years later, one of the marvels of this year's presidential election is that both parties are currently looking to the heavens, conjuring up a controversial -- but still-commanding -- white-haired savior to star in their ads: The Man from Hope. Yup, strange …
People tend to complain about being bombarded with nasty advertising during presidential elections, and fighting dirty has been a staple of the cycle since way before Nixon was the one. But this year's crop of political ads seems to be the grimmest yet. Talk about Mourning Again in America: yes, I'm mourning TV spots that actually contain the spark of an idea (never mind soaring rhetoric and visuals!) and some decent art direction.
Helen Gurley Brown died Monday, at 90, "though parts of her were considerably younger," as "The New York Times" obit snarked. Even in death, she is a polarizing figure who created a huge cultural cleavage, if you will: On the one hand, she's seen as a sexual liberator and trailblazer, who, with "Sex and the Single Girl," changed social mores, championing the idea that single women should enjoy sex and careers without benefit of a wedding ring. On the other, she is scorned for the anti-feminist sensibility that "Cosmopolitan" magazine has wrought.
"I am unable to watch the Olympics due to the blustering jingoism that drenches the event. Has England ever been quite so foul with patriotism?" The outraged quotation sounds as if it came from some 19th-century British dandy, but it was actually written by Morrissey, the Smiths singer and lyricist, who posted it last week to his Web page wall.
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