Thursday, February 22, 2007

Big Fun

Schadenfreude: scha·den·freu·de. Pronunciation: [shahd-n-froi-duh]

satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.
See also: Hillary is Sistah Souljah'ing the entire Democratic Party1 and It's Her Party, And She'll Cry If She Wants To2.


It started with Hillary's unique experience on 9/11 - the day she witnessed the world falling apart while the rest of us went to Disneyland. Then yesterday we heard about how Hillary thinks terrorism is a bad thing, while her fellow Democrats think it's no big deal. And today we get an earful about those nasty rich Hollywood Jews - oh, sorry, I mean fags.

Could Karl Rove have written a better script?

It's becoming increasingly clear that Hillary isn't running as a new Democrat, she's running as as (sic) a non-Democrat. Her strategy seems to be attacking everything and everyone associated with the Democratic party, and especially its base - and using Republican talking points, at that - in order to somehow position Hillary as a modern-day Diogenes, independent, above-the-fray, alone in the wilderness, forever on the look-out for honest politics.

In other words, Hillary is Joe Lieberman.


The longer answer is that Hillary looks about ready to self-destruct. She got rattled by the loss of her exclusive connections to Hollywood, which has made clear that they will not commit solely to her. With Obama scoring big in his Tinseltown debut, Hillary understands that a major portion of her husband's contributions has just dried up. Instead of redoubling her efforts to woo the celluloid titans back to her side, she blew her stack and demanded ridiculous penance from a competitor who hadn't sinned against her.

In fact, Obama has decided to allow Hillary to look as bad as she can, issuing a classy response this evening:

My sense is that Mr. Geffen may have differences with the Clintons. That doesn’t have anything to do with our campaign… I’ve said I’ve had the utmost respect for Senator Clinton. I consider her an ally in the Senate. And will continue to consider her that way throughout the campaign…

Hillary apparently felt that the 2008 primary campaign would be little more than a coronation, and the general election a Restoration. Instead, she finds herself in the first tough election of her life, and she's starting to crack under the pressure. This reaction seems very much like the disillusionment of arrogance.

Lotsa stuff happens in the primaries, lotsa stuff gets said that is either (a) retracted later and written off as “campaign rhetoric” or (b) ignored all together. Still and even, Hillary looks pretty inept here, at best. Or worse, she looks like what I think she really is: a vindictive shrew. And that’s too bad, because I really would like to see her get the Democratic nomination. She’d be a whole Helluva lot easier to beat than a few of the other guys running. But…I’m savoring the moment, as it were. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving gal.

Well now. It’s about time: When Tush Comes to Dove; Real women. Real curves. Really smart ad campaign.

In part, Dove's strategy is not unlike the Body Shop's old eco- and animal-friendly stance: Buy our products because you like them, but also because you're making a righteous statement. To buy Dove is to cast a vote for more "real curves" in advertising.

But there's a dirty little secret here. Because, in the end, you simply can't sell a beauty product without somehow playing on women's insecurities. If women thought they looked perfect—just the way they are—why would they buy anything?


Short-Term Grade: A. These ads are real attention getters—everyone's talking about them. On that level, they're a smashing success. Also, Dove now owns the "friend of the everywoman" angle. Smart move on their part to spot this open niche and grab it. Finally, if I can get sappy for a moment, it is sort of nice to see the unperfect have their day in the sun.

Overall Grade: D. Sadly, this is not a winning play for the long haul. If Dove keeps running ads like this, women will get bored with the feel-good, politically correct message. Eventually (though perhaps only subconsciously), they'll come to think of Dove as the brand for fat girls. Talk about "real beauty" all you want—once you're the brand for fat girls, you're toast.

Snarky enough for ya? I suspect the author (a woman) may be right when it comes down to the bottom line about the efficacy of the ad campaign, but in the end I really don’t know. I agree with her point about the beauty industry plying their trade on the backs of women’s insecurities, and I’ve always thought that sad, if not inherently evil. Thus, my “about time” comment.

I was unaware this ad campaign even existed (what with living way the hell out here in the boonies) until I saw one of the campaign’s models on the news yesterday. I’ve not seen any Dove ads on TV (you can see one here) and there aren’t all that many billboards on the highways around here. And I don’t read women’s magazines. So pardon me if I’m discussing something that may be common knowledge in the metropolitan areas of the country. It’s news here in P-Town, at least within the geezer demographic.

But…back to that model I saw on the news. I don’t remember her name, but she is a 62-year-old vivacious blond that I wouldn’t mind having on my arm…anywhere, any time. And yes, she was certainly… uh … “more plump” than your average model-spokesperson. And that’s a good thing, at the risk of repeating myself, yet again. Long-time readers know I go on about this subject from time to time and are aware I prefer the full-figured female form. I’m just glad to see someone in America’s beauty industry apparently agrees and is coming around.

Good on ya, Dove.

More on that Tony Snow/White House correspondents roundtable I wrote about yesterday, in today’s WaPo:

"If there is a flash of tempers between me and Tony, it's not about him and me, it's nothing personal," said Gregory, whose televised clashes with Snow have become legend.

Snow grinned. "What you see quite often at the briefings are sharp exchanges, but David's right: It's not personal," the press secretary agreed. "I not only like but admire everybody else sitting up here on this podium. It is a real pleasure and a privilege to work with them, to get to know them. . . . It is a wondrous thing."

Other than this, the article is chock full of anecdotes for those of you who missed the show itself, including the Crawford/400 degrees bits. And about that quote above… I wrote yesterday that Snow and Gregory got along well “for two guys that hate each other.” And yes, I did see the exchange quoted above. I just don’t believe it. Coz…politicians and reporters and even press secretaries LIE, ya know. Just sayin’.

It was such a beautiful day yesterday here in P-Town, and we’ll have a re-run today. Relatively calm winds and a high of about 70 degrees or so. Yesterday was one of those odd sort of days when one runs both the AC and the furnace. It must have been 90 degrees inside El Casa Móvil De Pennington when I got home yesterday afternoon. I tried to just grin and bear it after opening up the windows, but couldn’t. So I flipped on the AC for about an hour. And then two hours later the furnace kicked on. It feels like Spring, it does!

Today’s Pic(s): A couple of shots at the Audubon Sabal Palm Sanctuary in Brownsville, TX, (scroll down just a bit at the link) including YrHmblScrb in the most elaborate duck-blind I’ve ever seen. The blind overlooks the duck pond, which is home to not only ducks, but nearly every conceivable sort of water fowl known to man. I’m not a “birder,” but I can (and did) appreciate the solitude of the bird-watching environment. A great place for quiet contemplation, which I was given to at that period in time. “Given to” understates the case more than a bit, but ‘tis quite another story!

February, 2000.


  1. I've seen quite a lot of the Dove ads. And, I do actually use their products. But mostly because of their previous ads, you know where they dip the roses into the liquid soap and see what it does to the rose petals? Dry skin is something that you battle just for your own comfort, more than for "beauty". The only thing that works better is the specialty soaps in the expensive shops. Dove is more affordable. I don't think that the ad campaign should get a "D" or that they will be known as the "fat girl" soap. Because as one of the commenters said there, they have other ads with older women, women who have overcome different diseases, etc. It is not that they are just targeting heavier to normal women, the campaign is much broader than that. (forgive the pun ;) But even if it was just about the sizes, I prefer to see that ad. To me it doesn't seem to say, hey here are some fat girls, because honestly those girls don't look fat to me.

  2. I take it you don't watch Oprah either. (Insert winky face here.)

    Given that the modeling industry's image of what thin is in America is grossly malnourished (who else could tell a 5' 10", 110# woman that she's too fat?), and given that some 67% of Americans are overweight anyway, I'd say that being the "fat girl" soap is where the money is.

  3. Given that the average dress size in America is 14, and given that the world's sexiest woman was that exact size - Marilyn Monroe - I'd say Dove is saavy to focus on the largest (no pun intended) market segment there is.

    And speaking as a woman of a fuller figure, I applaud any company for showing real women using their products. It's time for a change when the world says that Tyra Banks is fat.

  4. So...after reading all y'all's comments, I googled Tyra Banks just to see what "fat" looks like according to America. You're right, IS time for a change!

    In so googling, I came across a site called The Ideal Girl. Aside from the Tyra pics, there's this list:

    1. Lucy Lawless
    2. Renee O Connor
    3. Maud Verdeyen
    4. Mariska Hargitay
    5. Britney Spears
    6. Michelle Wie
    7. Hudson Leick
    8. Yancy Butler
    9. Ana Ivanovic
    10. Adrienne Wilkinson

    And, of those ten women, only two of which whose names I recognized, NONE fit into my image of "ideal." Interesting. any rate...I still think Dove is doing a "good thing." More power to 'em!!

  5. I happen to catch the Oprah show that introduced the "older" women in the Dove ads. Not all are fat or even slightly chubby. They are just older women who have aged well. I am not sure how much the ads have to do with weight as how well you have aged - skin and beauty. I think the ads work well. There are several Dove ladies in the latest issue of "Better Homes and Gardens" - right inside the cover.

  6. Lou said: Not all are fat or even slightly chubby. They are just older women who have aged well.

    I noticed that when I went to the Dove site. However, more of the models seemed "larger than most" to me than not. I have to reiterate the only place I've seen the ads are on the Dove web site...never on TV, on billboards, or in the mags I read (which are limited to NatGeo and Air Force mag, plus a couple of RV-related monthlies). experience is much more limited than the rest of all y'all's.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.