I write books. Sometimes.

Okay, So He's Not a Blobfish

by WillHB
Tue, Jul 27, 2021
Read time: 5 min.

Regrettably, I need to backpedal from my last post: Ted Cruz does not, in fact, resemble the mangled corpse of a deep-sea fish. Physically, I mean. Obviously if we’re talking personality-wise, they’re virtually identical.

Please, be honest with yourself. See if you can–somehow, despite the odds–choke down your bile and suppress what you know about how soul-crushingly vile he is for a moment; just imagine what you’d think if you passed this face on the street:

Pictured: Ted Cruz impersonating a blobfish

Pictured: Ted Cruz impersonating a blobfish

No, don’t say “throw a rock at him.” This is a hypothetical where you don’t know who he is. Besides, you have to hand it to him…the beard does cover up some of his face, which is good. [1]

Buzzkill Time

Okay, so why am I backpedaling?

Mainly because no matter how much you disagree with a politician’s views, actions, or rhetoric, mocking their appearance is…problematic. Not as problematic as, saying, vacationing in Cancun while your constituents face a statewide emergency, but still not ideal.

But for reasons that I won’t go into because it’s my blog and you can’t tell me what to do, I’m going to shift the focus of this discussion to an even more reprehensible subject than Ted Cruz.

"(Donald Trump:https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcn/24622320840/)," (Marc Nozell:https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcn/), (CC BY 2.0)

Okay, I suppose I’ll start by mentioning that, yeah, it’s petty to use an unflattering picture of someone when you’re talking about them. It’s not that you’re necessarily obliged to use a glamour shot or anything, but if you’ve ever paused a movie to go hit the restroom, you’ve probably noticed that even highly attractive people with fancy makeup and idealized lighting can look very, very stupid when you abruptly freeze frame them. However, making fun of a stupid face that someone made isn’t quite the issue I’m here to babble on about tonight, so deal with it.

"(Donald Trump:https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5440384453/)," (Gage Skidmore:https://www.flickr.com/people/22007612@N05), (CC BY-SA 2.0)

But now that I’ve firmly established that I don’t have any philosophical objection to pettiness, why not make fun of how they look?

Certainly, I don’t give a rat’s ass about, say, Trump’s feelings. I don’t even care about the theoretical prospect of making him feel bad about his body (should he ever chance upon this site, which…seems unlikely); after all, Trump owned the Miss Universe pageant for decades and has a history of regularly body shaming people–particularly women–even if they are literal beauty queens.

The Problem

So why does it matter?

The issue is the impact on the audience.

If you call Trump fat with the rationale that he puts kids in cages and tries to undermine democracy and all that…well, then, sure, you said mean stuff about a bad man, but the problem is that there are probably going to be people in the audience who weigh as much as or more than Trump, but who aren’t treasonous child-abusing racists.

And what message does it send to them when, upon discussing someone like Trump, the thing you regard as most worthy of ridicule is that he’s a bit overweight?

This is not restricted to his weight, of course. People have found a plethora of physical characteristics to insult Trump about–his weight, the orange tint of his spray tan, his hair, and the size of his hands,[2] to name a few.

But with regard to many of these traits…well, Trump is an old man. I don’t mean that as an insult–the fact is that he’s 75, and a cursory Googling suggests that the average life expectancy of an American man is 78.54 years, placing him firmly in the “old man” category. As such, it’s not weird that he’s going bald. It’s odd that he regards his current hairstyle as an improvement over that, but it’s not necessarily a moral failing (in contrast to, again, everything about his presidency, public conduct, and personal life).

And all of these traits are shared by any number of people who are not huge douchebags who deserve to feel bad whenever someone gets mad at a politician.

In Closing

Okay, now that I’ve backpedaled, I’ll say I don’t really feel bad about calling Ted Cruz a blobfish. For one thing, the only ostensible resemblance is that he has a somewhat bulbous nose. And as for Trump, although I mentioned the “orange” thing earlier, I don’t really feel bad about calling him that in the past either, since I tend to regard that as more of a stylistic choice, on par with wearing an ugly tie, and so not quite the same as making fun of his actual body. That being said, it’s still a petty, unimportant distraction from the actual substance of a politician’s actual policies.

But, like I mentioned earlier…I’m cool with petty.

"(Donald Trump:https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcn/23419718253/)," (Marc Nozell:https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcn/), (CC BY 2.0)

  1. I know this post is about how you shouldn’t shit on how politicians look, but it’s really hard to stop. ↩︎

  2. Incidentally, I’ve always found the “small hands” thing rather baffling. I’m not sure how fair the description is–I’ve never really noticed the size of his hands on video, and when I do a Google image search for “Trump hands” I don’t feel like I can trust the stubby fingered images on there because…well, Google knows what I’m looking for. More than that, anyway, I struggle to see why anyone would care. Oddly enough, the insult goes back thirty years to a comment by a magazine editor trying to piss him off, which I think we can safely say exceeded all reasonable expectations. ↩︎

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