Our focus group calls it for Bush next weekWith all eyes on next Tuesday’s presidential vote in the United States, readers are advised to note this column’s flawless record for calling elections. To wit, back in December 2002, based on a survey asking Itaewon denizens who would win Korea’s presidential race, this column correctly tagged Roh Moo-hyun to defeat Lee Hoi-chang, even though Mr. Lee was ahead in the polls.
The methodology behind that forecast was simple, and based on the democratic verity that the best-looking candidate always wins. It involved asking the keenest judges of attractiveness ― the aesthetes on Gay Hill ― which office-seeker was handsomer.
In 2002, the staff at the transvestite bar Trance unanimously opined that Mr. Roh was “cute” and Mr. Lee “not,” presaging the election-day upset. This year, of course, the question is whether George W. Bush or John Kerry is more winsome. To find out, a survey was taken on a recent weeknight at Always Homme, a cozy bar just up the hill from Trance.
Several locals were asked who, based purely on physiognomy and sex appeal, should spend the next four years in the White House. According to the results, Kerry’s already been beaten, and by his own ugly stick.
Not that the men in Always Homme actually like the incumbent. Shown pictures of Bush and Kerry, owner Paul and bartender Hyuk growled at the Texan; Hyuk even started pounding his picture with an ashtray. But asked whom they preferred based on looks alone, both pointed at Bush, while cursing themselves for their honesty.
Manager Moon-gang also picked Bush. (“I just don’t like Kerry’s long face,” he said.) So did another bartender, Sean. “I like George Bush’s lips, because I prefer thin lips,” he said, pausing for the interviewer to stop laughing. “As for Kerry, his face is just too long.”
Cody, a regular customer, joined the consensus. “To be honest, Kerry just looks dumb, and I don’t like his hair,” he said. “Bush looks more manly.”
The only response that could be taken as pro-Kerry came from Ted, owner of Bar Bliss, and it was about Kerry’s running mate. “Look,” he said. “Both Bush and Kerry are ugly. Really ugly. John Edwards is the best. He’s actually very good-looking and, unlike Bush or Kerry, he can speak very well.”
Also present were a few foreigners ― a young German, a stylish Frenchman and an inebriated American. The German, after a few moments of consternation, decided Bush and Kerry were equally unattractive, and said he couldn’t choose the lesser of two evils. The Frenchman - quelle surprise - shot a nod to Kerry. The American, just before keeling over, stammered that he was for Dick Cheney.
So, to sum up, if our prognostications are on the nose again, it’ll be Bush wearing the winning smile next week. But who knows? Based on face spans, the local boys would have taken McClellan over Lincoln in 1864.
by Mike Ferrin