The Cult of Personality

It's bad enough that we are continually bombarded with straight teeth and buns of steel on TV, but the cult of personality is also starting to creep into the rest of the non-cathode-ray world. I'm starting to see pretty faces in the strangest places. Remember your wicked aunt who sat you in the corner with a coloring book and told you that good kids should "be seen and not heard?" These days there are a lot of people I'd rather not see or hear. I'd really just like to know if they are qualified to do their job -- dental whiteners, eloquent hair styles and soft focus portraits are optional. I expect TV newspeople to practice being photogenic because that's their job. But real estate agents with pictures of themselves on all their ads? What's up with that? Does it really matter what the person selling your home or looking for a home for you looks like? I know what you're thinking, but our prisons are full of people who were able to "look" trustworthy on cue. I'd much rather see a picture of piles of cash flowing my way or the picture of my dream house for $50,000 (I said DREAM). Take a look at a book review magazine. These are just chock full of pictures of authors hawking their latest tomes. What good is this? Do only sexy looking people write sexy romance novels; do only alcohol soaked, swarthy men with beards write manly mysteries and adventures? You'd have better luck judging a book by its cover than a book by the face of the author. What's the ultimate marketing ploy? -- a lot of the modern bibles have started using "pictures" of God. In most towns there are several billboards with bigger-than-life photos of radio personalities. I'm not sure I need to connect a face with the voices of those madcap guys doing the 100,000th Tanya Harding and John Wayne Bobbitt jokes. What I'd really like is an explanation of what exactly "classic rock" is. For more examples of the "look-at-me" craze I did a little finger walking through the Yellow Pages. Darn near everybody's got their smiling face looking out at you these days. What it has to do with their occupations -- I have no idea: * Plumbers: How about some pictures of nicely fitting pipes or a whirlpool of water quickly emptying from a toilet drain. * Funeral home directors: I'm not sure I want to have a personal eye-to-eye relationship with anyone who will be embalming my loved ones. I suppose, though, if they can make themselves look natural.... * Insurance agents: This is where we need some more photos of the Los Angeles earthquake disaster. Show an agent handing a check to someone in front of a pile of ruble. In fact, make it one of those giant checks like they give to golf and tennis tournament winners on TV. * Eyeglass makers: I worry that they will print a picture that is just slightly out of focus on purpose. * Tanning and lingerie shops: Okay, this one works for me. Most people don't look like their pictures anyway. Soft lighting and makeup can do wonders. If people are going to run their photos in advertisements, I suggest at least make them be honest. Make them use their driver's license photos. And me? What do I look like? I look like the illegitimate child of Julia Childs and Ralph Nader. Use your imagination.

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