OFF THE GRID

If You Blog, Is It Better to Be Blonde?

Apr 3, 09 | 9:27 AM   byMichael Wolff
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What do men in their fifties and sixties know about girls in their twenties? Are these young women looking for purpose, for a job, or just publicity (will the publicity provide a purpose and a job?)?

Middle-aged men, so flummoxed by the desires and ambitions of young women, seem especially easy prey to girls with blogs. What do you do with a girl who won’t shut up?

That’s the situation the Republicans find themselves in with John McCain’s daughter, Meghan. She was a mild diversion during the presidential campaign—nice to have a blonde blogger in the party. A Julie Nixon type, maybe.
 
But empowered, she’s turned into someone who actually wants a seat at the table, apparently unaware of the incongruity and awkwardness of a 24-year-old girl among the guys with their pants pulled up high.


(AP Image)

As for the Republican guys, they can’t figure out even what she does for a living. And that is an extraordinarily good question. “She blogs,” one older Republican says to another. “Ahhh, blogs. Hmmm. And how does that pay?”

Of course, she’s an heiress, making do on the same Republican-size fortune that has propelled her father’s political career.

Like her father, she wants to reform the party. His interests had to do with campaign finance, hers with…well…making the party, the “old-news, boring party,” a great place for twentysomethings. Hot ones, apparently.

Republican daughters, like Julie Nixon, or even gay ones, like Mary Cheney, tend to be of a particular type: the committee woman. They speak when spoken to.

Meghan, on the other hand, is a bit of performance art. It’s improvisation, her approach. It’s seizing the opportunity. It’s embracing conflict.

It’s her spat with Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter, those Bush-era Republican bombshells, that gave her this unexpected platform. The right-wing press, being a promotion machine even more than an ideological machine, has seen in Meghan McCain a perfect target: another blonde—in media terms, the more blondes the better. And Ingraham and Coulter, being the more practiced blondes, obviously saw her as an easy target. They failed, however, to reckon with the fact that she is a younger blonde, hence having the real advantage. (Indeed, that’s just another wrenching change for the Republicans, that its blondes are aging.) And now Meghan, instead of Ann or Laura, has become the most sought-after Republican girl.

It is, too, for Meghan, this enthusiastic emergence of her as a public figure, as likely about dealing with one of the central conundrums of our media age: how to monetize being a blogger.

That could be at least as difficult as reinventing the Republican Party.

Speaking of blogging, that other slightly-older blonde blogger also looking to monetize herself, Tina Brown, has this morning stolen my blog from the other day about Michelle Obama wanting to be Oprah. Nobody gets paid, but still there are thieves.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com


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