My multiple personalities are all named Grace. I aspire to be like Grace Kelly the Princess of Monaco, regal and respected. But most days I am more like Gracie Allen, the comedienne wife of George Burns. Her greatest strength was playing the ditz, a role I relish. And days that I pull on my black leather chaps and wrap my arms 'round my husband to cruise on the Harley, I feel like Grace Slick, female rocker and all around bad-mamma-jamma.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Style vs Substance

I'm still thinking about this concept since my last blog. And then I watched the media pundits after the Presidential Debates. Many of them were saying Kerry won, not for what he said but how he said it.

Kerry is a more polished speaker than Bush, who had a few too many "umms" while he was thinking. Kerry stood straight and tall, Bush not quite so much. Kerry looked at his own podium while Bush talked, Bush pursed his lips and sighed (though not anywhere near as badly as Gore did last time.) Kerry wins in the Style department, I will acquiesce.

But Kerry REPEATEDLY started sentences with "I believe..." until I was ready to smack him for his lack of creativity. He also said repeatedly, "I have a plan..." But he never really outlined what the plan was except to say his was better. And, in my completely biased view, the substance of Bush's speech had more merit and was more (rightly) straightforward. :)

Funny thing is, I bet Americans with opinions about the debate didn't even watch it. They waited to be told how it went and who won. Then they base their opinions on soundbites and commentaries. What the commentators say afterward is really what sways the public more than what the candidates say. And pundits are saying Kerry won. Style over substance.

A couple of years ago Greta Van Susterern left CNN to host her own show on FNC. They wooed her because of her credibility, legal knowledge, etc. But before she started her new gig, she took time off for eye lift, collagen injections, new hairdo, etc. She said it was something she wanted to do for herself. Her substance got her the job, but she chose a new style for her new digs. Substance over style... barely.

There's a new reporter in Iraq for MSNBC or FNC, I'm not sure which. I was shocked to see him on air the last couple of days because he has a goatee-like-thing on his face and long hair. He's handsome and looks cool, but he doesn't look like an on-air reporter. Maybe a print journalist, but certainly not on-camera talent without the requisite helmet-hair. Substance over style... or just a different style we aren't used to? YET!?

Can substance ever really win on its own over style? Do we always need some sense of style to get the audience's attention, to get others to listen? Please, someone give me an example of substance roundly defeating the challenger of superficiality and appearance...

And all this reminds me of a poem my neighbor taught me when I was 5 years old. Mrs. Swager, a little white haired waif of a woman, gave me rootbeer barrel candies every time I visited her. Being a very chubby and sugar-motivated child, I naturally visited daily. One Spring, she taught me a poem to recite for my mother for Mother's Day. Not the best poetry, but I remember it still...

I found a rosebud in the street,
All faded crushed and brown.
The leaves were gone from off its stem.
Its little head hung down.
Tenderly, I took the flower,
Cast off each withered part.
Beneath, I found it warmly pink
Around a golden heart.
It spoke a message to me,
As old as the world is old.
Judge not by outside wrappings,
For within may be purest gold.


  • At 3:05 PM, Blogger natesee said…

    Preach it sister!!!!!
    I do not think he was "audience centered" in his approach.


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