Common phrase taken too far

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Jovel Quierolo
Sacred Heart Editor

In Gov. Sarah Palin’s first speech on the national stage, she made a joke about herself as a hockey mom.

“You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?” she said. “Lipstick.”

So when Sen. Barack Obama recently said, “If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig”, members of the McCain campaign and some conservative pundits and bloggers went wild, immediately relating the remark to Palin’s punch line.

“Lipstick on a pig” is commonly used in car sales to describe taking an old beat up car, fixing it up, and selling it for full price. It’s still a piece of junk and under the new paint, it’s still ugly. Simple enough. So why, in the words of Avril Lavigne, are we making everything so complicated?

Some accuse Obama of attacking Palin’s beauty. But she’s not ugly. Others assume Obama was referring to Palin as a pig. But she was born in the Year of the Dragon and rightfully so exhibiting zodiac traits of flamboyance, attractiveness and strength.

Palin received rave reviews for describing herself as a pitbull with lipstick. It’s a show of her tough, gritty nature as a hockey mom rounding her character as a fierce politician and the joke gave her top marks for creativity in her speech.

Pitbulls, however, are pretty ugly. Almost as ugly as pigs. But many were quick to accuse Obama as a mudslinger attacking the vice-presidential candidate’s homely persona.

Contrary to the hype, only 32 percent of voters agree that Obama crossed the line this time, according to a poll on MSNBC. Sixty-six percent voted that the mudslinging is just part of the rough-and-tumble of political campaigning and 1.6 percent couldn’t decide.

The phrase is not alone in the political world of euphemism and verbal camouflage. It should not be getting this much attention, but the implications of Palin’s historic journey magnify this simple metaphor into a loaded insult.

“Lipstick on a pig” is a simple metaphor that has been highly overanalyzed these past few weeks. If it wasn’t campaign season, the first thing we’d think of hearing “Lipstick on a pig” is Miss Piggy or stuffed porkchops for dinner.

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