I’m not sure what the GOP hopes to gain by going after Teresa Heinz Kerry, but if that’s how they want to waste their time, fine with me: whatever fear might be mongered by questioning her fitness to hold the purely ceremonial title of First Lady, it is no match for America’s enduring love of ketchup.
Like her fellow travelers in the right-wing media, Collin Levey seems intent on emphasizing the Heinz in Teresa Heinz Kerry, perhaps attempting to alienate swing voters loyal to the Hunts brand (“Putting a lid on the loose lips of Teresa Heinz Kerry.”) But in this patriot’s opinion, any voter who would violate their freedom fries with Hunts’ watery, treacly, sorry excuse of a condiment is likely already in the camp of our watery, treacly, sorry excuse of a president.
Collin and her comrades can go out of their way to mention Mrs. Kerry’s Mozambique birth and Swiss education, but nothing says “American” like Heinz ketchup. And I find Collin’s attempt to scandalously connect John Kerry’s political fortunes to Teresa’s inherited Heinz fortune, nothing short of laughable in light of President Bush’s decade long service in the patronage of Enron.
I also find curious the media’s obsession with Mrs. Kerry telling a journalist to “shove it.” Collin compares it to Ronald Reagan calling a reporter a “son-of-a-bitch,” or Bush II referring to Adam Clymer of the NY Times as a “major league asshole.” (And then there’s Vice President Dick Cheney, who recently told Senator Patrick Leahy to “go fuck yourself.” On the Senate floor, no less. Ouch.)
What Collin fails to point out is that these occupants of our nation’s highest offices publicly used actual profanity, whereas Mrs. Kerry did not.
Now, I have nothing against profanity; indeed, I encourage it. Profanity is uniquely expressive, and there is nothing wrong with foul language when properly used… even in the presence of children.
For example, yesterday I attended a matinee performance of Little Shop of Horrors, with an audience at least half comprised of youngsters. Two of the biggest laugh lines for the kiddies came when the man-eating plant said “tough titties” and “no shit Sherlock.”
Can any utterance — even a profanity — be totally bad if it elicits peals of laughter from a roomful of children?
On the other hand, later that day, while battling through traffic in the streets of Manhattan, a more explicit profanity erupted from my throat. This autonomic utterance — while justified — displayed poor impulse control on my part… especially considering my 7-year-old daughter and 9-year-old niece were in the back seat.
And that’s really the point. It’s never the profanity that is bad, but rather, the context. Nearly everybody swears in private. But when a dignitary such as a President or Vice President acts so undignified as to swear in public, it calls into question both their judgment and their self-control… two qualities we value greatly in the man who has his finger on the button.
The fact that Teresa “57 Varieties” Kerry stopped at “shove it” and didn’t continue to tell the journalist exactly where, shows more restraint than that displayed by the angry men who currently occupy the White House. This is an administration that lashes out not just at reporters, but at the world. It is an administration with blood on its hands… not ketchup.