As usual, I’ll open this with the disclaimer that I am not a fan of the Current Occupant of the White House. Couldn’t bring myself to vote for him (or his principal opponent, for that matter. Fortunately, as I lived a state where DJT pulled a true majority, my vote was utterly insignificant.), and I don’t see that changing, should there be a next time around. I believed then, and I believe now, that even if he does some things I like in addition to those I don’t, he’s unworthy of the office.
Still, sometimes the reactions I see are just, well, loopy. Specifically, I notice a portion of my timeline on both the Book of Faces and the Tweetering that is devoted to speculation on the President’s height and weight (6′ 3″ and 239 pounds, respectively.) For example, I’ve seen pictures of professional athletes with those vital stats juxtaposed with pictures of the President. (Mad Dog, were you one of those people? I don’t remember.)
The same goes for issues of height, as in:
And apparently, enough people are twitchy about all this that the term “girther” has been coined.
On the one hand, I get that people weary of the incessant mendacity, even (or perhaps especially) on these petty details. On the other hand, I think it’s worth noting a couple of things.
- Muscle is significantly denser than fat. Therefore, of course a professional athlete is going to occupy less volume than a fat guy of the same weight. See also the fact that Mr. Kaepernick is 30, while Mr. Trump is 70 (and has never been mistaken for Jack LaLanne).
- A lot of tall people have poor posture (sometimes the result of spending our lives talking to people who are shorter than we are). I’m a pretty good example of that myself. I’m 6′ 4″, and a colleague of mine in the English program is 6′ 2″. However, as I slouch my way through the day, we probably look pretty close to the same height. Likewise, my 6′ 1″ dad was often thought to be shorter than my six-foot mom.
Now of course, it’s entirely possible that the Current Occupant is fudging his stats a bit. He wouldn’t be the first to do that — it’s common among athletes and entertainers, for example, and I’ll admit that the weight on my driver’s license is… um… perhaps something less than spot-on. And certainly the President has a certain degree of vanity. (Indeed, I’d suggest that he’s well past the degree stage and into his postdoctoral work at this point.)
Me, I’m a libertarian — people can get upset over whatever they want. But ultimately, I can’t help but wonder if getting worked up about this is just looking for reasons to fume. And besides, there will doubtless be a new thing to irritate us tomorrow.
That Wise Old Man Mr. Heinlein once said, “[L]ike dandruff, most people […] have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.” These days, we live in a more secular (and perhaps less dandruffy?) age. Still, a lot of people need something with which to fiddle.