Yearbook Photos; Cruelest Part of Politics

It’s really kind of early in the campaign for such an inevitable nadir to be reached, isn’t it?

The Atlantic examines the high school pictures of Republican presidential candidates (and, for some reason, Sarah Palin).

Really? Isn’t jeering at high school photos a bit, you know, high school? But I suppose it’s pro-forma in an election year.

I wonder how many journalists would want their high school photo hauled out?

Anyway, they’ve decided Rick Santorum’s high school picture is the one to make fun of:

A quick office straw poll here at The Atlantic, conducted amidst uproarious laughter, confirms that this is, in fact, the single worst year book photo that most of us have ever seen. An outright disaster.

Having myself graduated in the 1970′s I don’t think he looks that bad. I am sure it’s not the worst of the era. Mine was pretty awful, I think. Considering myself to the the most unattractive beast in nature, I never wore make-up. I seem to recall one of those capiz-shell chokers and a dreadful shirt with flowers embroidered on the collar. I’m sure it is grotesque.

But, if high school yearbook photos are now somehow relevant to presidential elections, then in the interest of balance, or fair play, I think it’s only right that we see the high school photos of the last two or three Democrat equivalents. I offer them without comment (because making fun of how people look is really stupid) except to note that Obama looks pretty cool (somehow “Barry Obama” is sort of disco) and I like Joe Biden’s the best. I also came across Dubya’s high school picture while I was looking, so I threw it in the mix, to be fair.

Let’s face it, yearbook photos suck. They just do. They’re a snapshot of a moment, and usually not a great moment. I think everyone tries to do the best they can.

I thought about it and realized that anyone who posts the yearbook pictures of others should be willing to put their own yearbook picture out there, too, otherwise it’s just kind of cowardly.

Yes…it was the dreadful choker and high embroidered collar. The preposterous chin. Egad. And I’ve only gotten worse, and grown more chins, with age.

Bookworm has more thoughts and more pictures

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • David F

    Nonsense, you were (and are) quite cute.

  • Oregon Catholic

    I think Gore looks pretty good since I’m from a similar era and can ‘dig’ the look. Edwards was a slave to his hair even then. Kerry and Bush somehow manage to look like they’re in their 40′s! Anchoress you look just fine, just about like most of my girlfriends back in the day.

  • Kathy Schiffer

    Your picture is cute, Anchoress! Now if only I could put my hands on the wedding pics– the ones with my husband in that dashing grey and pink plaid suit, and me with the flowers in my hair!

    [I was in a wedding party not long after high school, with the groom in a rust-colored tux with a ruffled shirt, and all the bridesmaids in yellow -- the hardest color to pull off. Earth tones. Damn them! :-) -admin]

  • Theresa Thomas

    Awwww, Elizabeth… You look cute, cheerful AND smart!!! Love it!

  • jkm

    You know I’ve been digging into this whole beauty thing a lot lately, and so I can say without doubt you were/are no beast. And who cares about chins when the smile atop it/them/whatever is that warm, and the sparkle in the eyes so sparkly? I lived through the 70s and believe me, you wore them better than I wore my cork platform soled macrame wedding sandals.

    And I know, charity in all things, but dear God, even a liberal like me should have seen the whole John Edwards saga coming from that one photo!

  • Tim

    Kerry looks like something from an English sitcom.

  • James Stephens

    Does anyone else think Mr Gore looks vaguely like Sylvester Stallone?

  • Anne B.

    Edwards looks like a Ken doll ;-)

  • Thomas R

    Of the politicians I think Kerry’s looks the worst. I think Biden’s has been mentioned on sites as being fairly good.

    And like the others I think you look kind of cute in that picture. Were you just fishing for compliments:)

  • Jean

    You look really cute — like the All-American girl. :)

    Santorum looks smart.

  • Rambling Follower

    Biden looks like a hunk. WHAT THE HECK?!

    Bush looks like a major stoner. HMMM…..

  • Cathym

    Oh Elizabeth – you just radiate beauty!! :-)

  • Elizabeth K.

    I think you look beautiful. And, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually think Dubya’s is the best of the rest!

  • Bill M.

    I very much doubt that’s Dubya’s actual high school portrait. He looks far too disheveled.

    You’re pretty in yours, and it could be proven in a court of law. So get over it.

  • Oregon Catholic

    “Does anyone else think Mr Gore looks vaguely like Sylvester Stallone?”

    I thought I saw a little Christopher Reeves…

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  • Carol S

    I think you look Breck-girlish Elizabeth! Lovely! I love W, but he looks like Ted Bundy in that pic! Scary!

  • flodigarry

    Elizabeth, you look very pretty and have a great smile. Biden does have a nice picture, but I had a hard time recognizing him Kerry looks like one of the ROTC guys in Animal House – Niedermeier perhaps.

  • lethargic

    I think you look lovely in that photo, fresh and bright. Hugs …

  • NMH

    Actually, you’re very pretty. The styles were what they were. Nothing anyone can do about that now. Huh. Way better than my picture, but we had to do that convent school drapey-thingy around the shoulders and weren’t allowed to wear makeup or anything but a simple cross necklace.

  • Kurt

    I’m quite sure that W’s yearbook photo was from college and not high school. He looks much more mature and there is an element of confidence that I wouldn’t have thought he would have had in prep school, plus the clothes he’s wearing don’t look like what a student at Andover would have been wearing in 1964. Would he have looked that way at Yale in 1968, though? Absolutely.
    Here’s a picture of Bush as a cheerleader at Andover, and as you can see, his hair and look was very different then.

  • vox borealis

    Bush’s looks a little wild, and Kerry’s looks downright brutal.

  • Andrew B

    There is something about President Obama that turns a segment of the media into junior high “mean girls”. They defend him like I imagine they would defend their fondness for the “Twilight” movies or their favorite Justin Bieber song. Anyone who threatens him must not only be stopped, but mocked relentlessly. Let’s see some yearbook photos of prominent journalists. I am sure that some of them were less than ready for primetime.

    And if only they were as interested in academic transcripts as they are in photographs…

  • doc

    Anchoress’ pic is very attractive, no question, but John Edwards will always be the Breck Girl.

    John Kerry: Upper Class Twit of the Year

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  • DWiss

    Kerry. For cryin’ out loud, did he actually CHOOSE that photo? I’m speechless.

    But you, Anchoress, were a high school hottie, if I may be so bold. Rawrrr!!!

  • Teresa

    I enjoy looking at old pictures just for laughs. I remember as one of the bridesmaids in my cousins wedding wearing salmon colored gowns. They were not bad but they had a hood, just like the ones one would pull over on a sweatshirt. The photographer asked us to pull up the hoods. In a group photo we looked like some sort of rogue cloistered nuns.

  • amanda

    Good Heavens! Just give a group of junior high students pictures of ALL the previous presidents of our country and see what they have to say about them. The editors of The Atlantic should be ashamed for publishing the pictures and the comments. Completely tactless.

  • Holly in Nebraska

    I would have gone out with him.