The American political picture just keeps getting uglier. A mock-up of a severed head of the president of the United States displayed by a comedian. A Donald Trump look-alike slain, Julius Caesar-style, in an updated Shakespeare play. An aging pop singer suggesting the White House should be blown up.
And now, comparing political figures to the world’s ugliest dog, which happens to be Martha, a Neapolitan Mastiff who won that title last week at a contest in California.The 3-year-old rescue dog won not only by virtue of her droopy eyes, uncontrollable drool and baggy skin, but also based upon her personality, which has been described as big, lazy and gassy.
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Within moments of Martha’s coronation, internet users flocked to their devices to register comments. A few were amusing, such as a Yahoo! News comment saying, “Proof positive that somewhere in the past a dog mated with a walrus.” A whole lot of them, though, took the opportunity as one more excuse to link a news story with their political opinions, no matter how imponderable the connection. (As one woman wrote after reading a bunch of the comments on TMZ, “How is it that you manage to interject politics in even a dog contest?”) But interject them they did.
On TMZ: “That dog is beautiful when you compare it to Hillary’s angry rat face.” And,”One of the best pictures of Michelle Obama yet.” And, “Better looking than Maxine Waters and probably smarter.”
On USA Today: “I thought it (Martha’s photo) was the cover of the New Women of the DNC calendar.” And,“Hillary a close second. Chelsea edges Patti Murray in a runoff for third.”
On Yahoo News: “Nancy Pelosi after her last facelift.” And, “I thought I was looking at a picture of Maxine Waters or Nancy Pelosi.”And, “Big, lazy and gassy … just like Trump.”
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Mocking a politician’s physical appearance isn’t a 21st-century invention, of course; Abe Lincoln was the target for all sorts of ugliness. Still, the drivel that passes for political discourse on social media sort of makes you long for the kinder, gentler days when politicians were merely referred to as sneaky, lying crooks.
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Or, as Lincoln was characterized in Harpers Weekly: “Filthy Story-Teller, Despot, Liar, Thief, Braggart, Buffoon, Usurper, Monster, Ignoramus Abe, Old Scoundrel, Perjurer, Robber, Swindler, Tyrant, Field-Butcher, Land-Pirate.”