Just when you think political debate can’t descend any lower, it goes and takes a nosedive.
Case in point: the burning controversy over whether Sarah Palin’s breasts have had some recent enhancement of the surgical variety.
The rumor was fueled by blogs on the left, and is an example of the continuing liberal fascination with various intimate aspects of Sarah Palin’s body. Here’s the montage that launched a thousand speculations. The older photos are on the left and in the middle, and the newest (which purports to be of the rumored recent additions, and was taken at the Belmont racetrack) is on the right:
Now I will go on the record as saying that, although I myself have so far resisted the siren call of cosmetic surgery (much too much of a wimp), I’m not going to be criticizing politicians who go under the knife in order to look better. Joe Biden’s hair transplants and Nancy Pelosi’s botox injections—to name just two obvious examples from perhaps legions of possibilities—move me not.
I think that, especially in the world of harsh public exposure known as politics, it’s understandable to want to look your best, and as you age that becomes more and more difficult. And if Sarah Palin feels that, after mothering five children (or four, if you happen to believe Andrew Sullivan), her chest could use a bit of help, far be it from me to criticize her. .
That said, I think the case for Sarah having had implants is rather weak, although certainly possible. But those who suggest she has done so based merely on the evidence of the photo above in the white shirt are ignoring a couple of basic things about breasts, clothing, and posture—things most women learn some time during adolescence or shortly thereafter.
The first is that much the same can be accomplished by the wearing of a more structured bra than usual, imparting to the chest a bit more oomph.
The second is that shirts with a scooped and gathered neckline such as the one Palin wears in the photo on the right maximize the area in question. To do the opposite—to minimize—one can wear the sort of tailored blouses and suits Palin usually sports.
The third is that slumping ever-so-slightly (as in those photos on the left and in the middle) tends to make a person look less well-endowed, whereas standing up and arching the mid- and especially the upper back—as Sarah happens to be doing in the photo on the right—does exactly the opposite.
So posture can change the look of things quite a bit. In fact, here’s an example for you—another photo of Palin, taken at the racetrack on that very same day in that very same white shirt. In this one, however, Palin is not arching her back. You may note that, had this been the only Palin photo taken that day, the implant rumor would in all likelihood have never gotten off the ground:
Ah, how the mighty have fallen.