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Political crybaby?
October 11, 2002 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Political crybaby? Helena, Mont. - Republican Mike Taylor dropped out of the Senate race against Democratic Sen. Max Baucus yesterday, complaining that a Democratic Party ad was calculated to make him look like a gay hairdresser. I've seen a still from the TV ad. It used a video clip from the early 1980's that really does make him look awful. The thing is, most people looked awful during the early 80's, and the clip was from a TV bit Taylor used to host. Is this a cop out or does he have a legit gripe? Is it a low-blow to use an unflattering photo from someone's past? (Lock up those prom pics!)
posted by kayjay (43 comments total)

 
Never mind the accusations of character assassination; Taylor just assassinated his own character with that accusation. Sounds like sour grapes to me.
posted by Poagao at 8:11 PM on October 11, 2002


It sounds like a total cheap shot from the Democrat - and an excuse to drop out from the Republican. Newsday ran a longer story a day before; it claims Taylor was trailing by 19 points before the ad started running.

Of course, he was trailing by 33 points afterwards. I haven't seen the clip, but can't help wondering if gay-baiting wasn't the point here.
posted by mediareport at 8:12 PM on October 11, 2002


I never trust anyone who tries to hide (or hide from) their past.
posted by rushmc at 8:13 PM on October 11, 2002


Watching the ad, I'm not so sure that Taylor's complaint in legit. Indeed, he used to wear ridiculous clothes and tend to the beauty of other men, but the ad focuses on the supposed corrupt practices at his beauty salons. In highlighting W. Bush's connection to the oil industry, would it be unfair to show him in a hard hat atop a floating oil rig?
posted by flagrante_delicto at 8:19 PM on October 11, 2002


Does this mean he WAS a gay hairdresser in the 80s?

I'm confused.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:20 PM on October 11, 2002


I just read about this in the paper, and Taylor just comes off as a jerk. I haven't seen the ad, but it sounds pee-in-your-pants funny, with Taylor wearing a chest-baring open shirt and gold chains (this was the '80s, remember), massaging some guy's face.

But to whine and quit a race? Jeez, I'm glad this guy now can't win. Yeah, it was cheap shot, but so what.

Really, Talyor, don't be such a faggot. Quitting a race is, like, so gay.
posted by Ayn Marx at 8:22 PM on October 11, 2002


If he'd just took it in stride, he would have looked a lot better. Vanity isn't a virtue, not when it's that pronounced.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:26 PM on October 11, 2002


Look at where his hand is in the last still, flagrante_delicto. I feel pretty sure the Dems were gleefully counting on the homo thing to help there. They could have easily criticized his school's use of federal loans without the homoerotically-tinged pics; that's what I'm calling sleazy.

Like we need to start deciding elections based on hair and clothing styles now, you know?
posted by mediareport at 8:30 PM on October 11, 2002


You all do know who the top conservative candidate in Montana is now that Taylor is gone.

blllllluuuuuueeeeeee...

yep.. the guy who turned himself blue.

If I lived in Montana, I'd vote for Stan Jones over Max Baucus, as an "up yours" to Baucus for his vote for War in Iraq.
posted by RobbieFal at 8:49 PM on October 11, 2002


Really, Talyor, don't be such a faggot. Quitting a race is, like, so gay.

No bigotry there, then.

How about a little thought before posting: he may or may not be 'gay', but the use of offensive language shows prejudice.

Please stop.
posted by dash_slot- at 8:49 PM on October 11, 2002


BTW, is it just me or does the other guy in that ad look like.. uh.. the one guy from Kids in the Hall.

I forget his name.. but it's not MacDonald, or McKinney.. it's the one guy..
posted by RobbieFal at 8:51 PM on October 11, 2002


Dark Messiah: I'm confused.

So, I suspect, is Talyor.
posted by Ayn Marx at 9:04 PM on October 11, 2002


How about a little thought before posting: he may or may not be 'gay', but the use of offensive language shows prejudice.

The use of "offensive" language was to make a point about perceptions and culture.

Please stop.

Stop what? Using language to make a point?
posted by Ayn Marx at 9:10 PM on October 11, 2002


I thought your point was funny, Ayn Marx, not particularly offensive. He really should have laughed it off, and I wonder why he couldn't.
posted by mediareport at 9:27 PM on October 11, 2002


Really, Talyor, don't be such a nigger. Quitting a race is, like, so black.

Yeah, thats funny, too.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:30 PM on October 11, 2002


I, for one, welcome our new gay hairdressing overlords.
posted by notme at 9:30 PM on October 11, 2002


"I, for one, welcome our new gay hairdressing overlords."

Oh, you're so silly! :)

Vote for the Blue Guy in Montana!
posted by RobbieFal at 9:37 PM on October 11, 2002


Really, Talyor, don't be such a nigger.

Ok, ok. I guess I just assumed we were in enough of a gay- and bi-friendly thread for someone to use "faggot" in that way. Probably not wise, now that I think of it.

Unless Ayn Marx is a total queer, of course. It's allowed then.
posted by mediareport at 9:43 PM on October 11, 2002


[Er, yeah, ok then. I don't wanna derail any further, tho' I don't know what Ayn Marx feels about my comment. Carry on!]
posted by dash_slot- at 9:49 PM on October 11, 2002


Surely there is a photograph somewhere of Robert Byrd in his full KKK regalia.
posted by paleocon at 10:13 PM on October 11, 2002


Paleocon, umm ... all you can say about a photo of some guy in full KKK regalia is "there's some guy in KKK regalia". That's the point. :-)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:38 PM on October 11, 2002


If you're the opposing candidate, do you not use the photo because of what it might imply?

I'm asking; I don't know the answer.
posted by gspira at 11:55 PM on October 11, 2002


If you're the opposing candidate, do you not use the photo because of what it might imply?

HELL YES; if you're a Democrat that's *exactly* what you do. It's called respect for a significant percentage of your constituency. I am *so* through with Dems who feel free to milk anti-queer sentiment like this. If I lived in Montana, I'd be calling Baucus's office to say, "You just lost my vote with that crap, dude."
posted by mediareport at 12:18 AM on October 12, 2002


Because remember, folks, it's wrong to use photos or videos to imply that one's political opponent is less than manly.

I think Baucus's ad was out of line, and I think it's woefully hypocritical of the Republicans to complain about it.
posted by Bryant at 5:11 AM on October 12, 2002


Ha! He doesn't look like a gay hairdresser, it is much, much worse! He looks like a ...............disco dancer!

And we know what that implies. Hint: sex, drugs, and polyester clothes.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:14 AM on October 12, 2002


Look at where his hand is in the last still ...

That's homosexual activity? I'll have to be more careful the next time I get a haircut to make sure the stylist does not pull that stuff on me.

Joshua Marshall is running the ad on TalkingPointsMemo. People should watch the ad to see how ridiculous this "anti-gay" claim is.

The music in the ad derides Taylor for his outlandish '70s appearance at the same time he's being derided for a shady student loan scam he was running at that business. It's a legitimate issue -- Taylor paid $27,500 to the federal government to make it go away in 1999. We should be able to mock each other for our '70s fashion choices without it being considered gay-bashing. Not everyone in the '70s was homosexual (ask Anita Bryant).

Besides, if Taylor is so convinced that the video makes him appear to be homosexual, why did he pay for it to be produced and distributed as an infomercial?
posted by rcade at 7:36 AM on October 12, 2002


do you not use the photo because of what it might imply?

I think you might be missing the point, it seems that they may have used the photo because of what it implied. It's not like they have legitimate reasons to show what the guy looked like so long ago, and if they are playing on anti-gay sentiment to make the guy lose, yea, I'd say that's a low-blow. After hearing Hillary's speech about killing Iraqis for the sake of presidential power, Daschle's ass-kissing of the "War", Gore's support for defense of marriage act etc... I really couldn't give a shit about the democrats anymore though.

And showing a commercial of Bush on an oil platform with a hard-hat on would probably get him more votes, regardless of what was said.
posted by rhyax at 7:37 AM on October 12, 2002


Hmm.. I think that Taylor would have a much more solid case if the Democrats had run an ad with various anonymous gay-looking 70s-and-80s era hairdressers while the voice-over discussed Taylor's past misuse of federal financial aid funds for his school.

However, given that the ad featured _Taylor himself_, Taylor could have simply disarmed the situation with some self-deprecating comments about how silly he looked, back then. And, you know, he did look silly.
posted by deanc at 9:07 AM on October 12, 2002


Anyone else notice that that photo of Bush addressing the convention via a giant tv screen looks eerily similar to Apple's 1984 commercial?
posted by EmoChild at 9:17 AM on October 12, 2002


Rhyax: When Taylor is being criticized for his business conduct running a hairstyling college in the '70s, how is it not legitimate to show him in an infomercial he filmed for that business?
posted by rcade at 9:22 AM on October 12, 2002


HA!
Wrong thread...
I gota get more sleep.

Move along... Nothing to see here.
posted by EmoChild at 9:23 AM on October 12, 2002


rcade, times change. Back in the 70s, the ad may have looked fine - male preening like that may have been read as simply part of the culture. Now, it looks gay, and I'm surprised you and Marshall are denying that. The close-up of Taylor's fingers massaging the customer's face is used twice; the 2nd time, it lingers as the words "lined Taylor's own pockets" are heard around :28. What is the relevance of that image? I think we know.

The folks who created the ad chose that specific footage and edited it in at that point to associate the negative ickyness of men touching each other with the negative ickyness of Taylor's apparent loan scam. That's how ad creators think. And the ending, with Taylor reaching into the customer's crotch as "Not the way we do business in Montana" is heard? Please tell me that footage wasn't carefully selected to be the final image by the ad creators. I could use the laugh.

They knew they had a gold mine of ickyness here, rcade, and they used it all.
posted by mediareport at 10:44 AM on October 12, 2002


I'm not sure what's more ludicrous -- the claim that video of a male in full '70s plumage "looks gay" or the statement that the final cut of that commercial shows "Taylor reaching into the customer's crotch."

You should put down the gaydar dish for a moment and try to view the ad from the perspective of someone who didn't make up his mind before seeing it.

Without Taylor's weird "I am so straight" press conference, I would never have thought that this ad might be an attempt to insinuate that Taylor is gay. The message in the ad is pretty direct: Taylor ran a hair school that bilked the government out of student loans, and we found some hilarious '70s-era video of him from him promoting that school.
posted by rcade at 11:19 AM on October 12, 2002


When Taylor is being criticized for his business conduct running a hairstyling college in the '70s, how is it not legitimate to show him in an infomercial he filmed for that business?

Well, it's not that there is no reason to show this if the point you are trying to make is that his business practices were bad decades ago, but I think the concern that there may be other motives behind this ad is valid.

Ad companies are not dumb, and they almost always have more than one level of meaning/manipulation. What will cause him to lose more votes? that he ran a shady business decades ago, or that the business was hairstyling, and he looks gay? Bush won, he ran shady businesses a long time ago, people said he had found jesus since then and that it was so long ago. Not many people care about illegal business practices, the ones that do will find this ad useful, lots of people hate gays, they will also find this ad useful.

Maybe you are one of the people that this doesn't strike as gay, good for you I guess. It honestly does strike me as gay however. I didn't really live through the 70's though, so I don't have any comparisons to know what is normal for that time period. That doesn't mean my views should be discounted, on the contrary, it means that other people in my position will probably also find it gay-looking. I think the point is that the "alternate" interpretation of the ad won't be lost to ad agencies.
posted by rhyax at 11:29 AM on October 12, 2002


rcade, "can't help wondering" =/= "making up his mind before seeing it"

And "gaydar dish"? Gosh, is it really beyond the pale that people with different backgrounds could read the same ad differently? All I'm suggesting is that the folks who made the ad knew they could tug at the gay thing for a lot of folks in the audience, and decided to run with it. That some don't see it is fine, but that doesn't mean the creators didn't tweak the ad to pluck that particular string. It's obvious to me - *after* watching it, thanks - they did.

Btw, if that's not edited to look like a crotch grab at the end, would you mind telling me what you think Taylor is shown doing there? Just curious.
posted by mediareport at 11:42 AM on October 12, 2002


It's not beyond the pale to think the ad might be insinuating that Taylor is gay. But the certitude coming from Andrew Sullivan and other partisans, along with some pretty aggressive mischaracterizations of the ads, isn't genuine. It's phony outrage for political benefit, just like most of the opposition of the Lautenberg/Torricelli switcheroo, which painted it as a violation of the spirit of free elections even though Forrester broke the 51-day deadline himself in April. That's why I hate to see liberals and Democrats buying into any of this.

At the end of the ad, Taylor appears to be putting down something that looks like a sponge on a table. His hand is holding the sponge and his fingers are facing away from the guy. How is either of those suggestive of a package grab?
posted by rcade at 12:06 PM on October 12, 2002


It's not beyond the pale to think the ad might be insinuating that Taylor is gay.

Then where's our disagreement? That I'm comfortable making an assumption about the whatever-it-takes mindset behind political attack ads?

But the certitude coming from Andrew Sullivan and other partisans, along with some pretty aggressive mischaracterizations of the ads, isn't genuine.

Well, I haven't seen either in this thread, so I'll take your word on it. Although I must say the idea of Sullivan mischaracterizing a partisan issue has me groping for my smelling salts. (little joke there, heh) I saw the sponge-like thing, btw. We'll just disagree about why - out of all the footage available - the editors chose that cute little reach-down moment to end on.
posted by mediareport at 1:06 PM on October 12, 2002


Our disagreement lies in your certitude. If you want to stop voting for Democrats based on some vague suspicions of "queer-bashing" inspired by a Republican trying to dodge accusations of student loan fraud, you're playing right into the hands of people who are manipulating this controversy solely for political gain.
posted by rcade at 1:19 PM on October 12, 2002


I guess that feeling may stem from my comment, I don't think this is at all as important as those other things I listed in why I don't like the democrats so much lately. This wouldn't make the list in any other context.
posted by rhyax at 2:10 PM on October 12, 2002


Well, here in Montana I haven't heard anyone say the ad made Taylor look gay. The common response has been, "Let he who did not wear puka shells in the '70's throw the first stone."

Most people I've talked to think the ad gave Taylor a convenient reason to drop out. He was way behind in the polls and was literally down to 20K to run his campaign for the next three weeks. The national Republican party wasn't going to give him any money. Better to withdraw and blame others than to get beat at the polls.
posted by Whistlepig at 8:48 PM on October 12, 2002


I've seen the clip and here's my 2 cents. Having grown up in San Francisco in the late 70s and 80s I know one thing for certain: no gay man in his right mind would have ever been caught dead in that outfit.

Leather and tight Levis, yes. The preppy look, yes. Wool Pendelton plaid shirt, tight Levis and hiking boots, si. Earthtone polyester and poofy hair - no freakin' way. Taylor outfit reads more "suburban dork trying to look cool" than "gay hairdresser."

That's my read on it: a guy with laughably bad taste in clothes, irregardless of the era in which it's viewed. I did not pick up a gay vibe from it at all.
posted by echolalia67 at 9:11 PM on October 12, 2002


From what I've read there ain't a hell of a lot of difference between Democrats and Republicans in Montana anyway (both are very conservative) so I doubt it really matters in the long run. If I lived in Montana, I'd still vote against Baucus because he's so obviously the typical incumbent twit who will do or say anything to secure his reelection.

Term limits for everyone!
posted by mark13 at 2:35 PM on October 13, 2002


From what I've read there ain't a hell of a lot of difference between Democrats and Republicans in Montana anyway

Maybe, but according to HRC, Baucus is a co-sponsor of ENDA. Seems like a significant difference to me (although one that makes the Dems' use of the ad even less understandable).
posted by mediareport at 7:30 PM on October 14, 2002


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