Maureen Dowd: "Blue Eyed Greed?"
March 29, 2009, 10:54 PM
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As I've mentioned before, many a female pundit's output consists in large part of demands that society's structures and values be revolutionized so that she, personally, will be considered hotter-looking.

Thus, Maureen Dowd writes in today's NY Times in "Blue Eyed Greed?"

At a press conference Thursday in Brasilia with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain — who has a talent for getting himself into dicey spots — Lula started off coughing from some cheese bread he’d wolfed down. Then he suddenly turned accusatory.

“This crisis was caused by the irrational behavior of white people with blue eyes, who before the crisis appeared to know everything and now demonstrate that they know nothing,” charged the brown-eyed, bearded socialist president.

As the brown-eyed Brown grew a whiter shade of pale, Lula hammered the obvious point that the poor of the world were suffering in the global crash because of the misdeeds of the rich.

“I do not know any black or indigenous bankers,” said Lula.

That's just because Brazil is backwards in terms of affirmative action, not starting it until a few years ago. Here in America we've enjoyed the services of Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae and HUD, Stanley O'Neal of Merrill Lynch, and Henry Cisneros of HUD and various home-building schemes.

Perhaps Maureen and Lula got their demographic data from watching old Washington Mutual TV ads?

... The “Lula lulu” by the “Brazil nut,” as The New York Post dubbed it, became big news just as President Obama met at the White House with Vikram Pandit and a cadre of white-bread bankers who have taken the bailout — some of whom, like Jamie Dimon, have distinctly blue eyes.

And it is true, of course, that the upper-crust, underwhelming Anglo-Saxon leaders who allowed America’s financial markets to morph into louche casinos, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, were very, very white men with blue eyes. ...

Before President Obama, whose brown eyes are opaque when you look into them, presidents have been more known for blue eyes. The ones with brown eyes, Richard Nixon and L.B.J., came a cropper.

Throughout history, whether it’s images of Jesus that don’t look Middle Eastern or Barbies who don’t look ethnic, blue eyes and white skin have often been painted as the ideal.

The cerulean-eyed Paul Newman once wryly predicted his epitaph: “Here lies Paul Newman, who died a failure because his eyes turned brown.”

Surveys show that people with blue eyes are considered more intelligent, attractive and sociable.

A 2007 University of Louisville study concluded that people with blue eyes were better planners and strategic thinkers — superior at things like golf, cross-country running and preparing for exams — while people with brown eyes had better reflexes, making them good at hockey and football.

Lula’s rant underscored an ancient rivalry.

When I was little, growing up in a house that prominently displayed a blue-eyed Jesus and a blue-eyed J.F.K., I felt my brown eyes were far less attractive than my brothers’ blue ones.

I obsessed on it so much, cutting out a picture of a beautiful brown-eyed model and keeping it in my scrapbook, that my mother finally reassured me:

“You look at blue eyes. You look into brown eyes.”

Later, of course, there would be the thrill of Van Morrison serenading a “Brown-Eyed Girl.”

Before Barack Obama, when I interviewed the brown-eyed sons of immigrants who were thinking of running for president, Mario Cuomo and Colin Powell, they seemed torn about taking the big plunge, given how far they had come in relation to their dads.

I asked Governor Cuomo if he was leaving the field to “the privileged blue-eyed WASPs” like Bush senior and Dan Quayle who felt entitled and never worried about their worthiness.

Barack Obama and his family have already had a profound effect on the culture in terms of what is beautiful and marketable. Black faces are popping up in all kinds of ads now — wearing straw boaters and other prepster outfits in Ralph Lauren ads.

With Michelle urging students to aim for A’s and the president promising to make school “cool,” brown eyes may finally — and rightfully — overtake blue as the windows of winners.

Sorry, Maureen, but your nemesis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, is brown-eyed, so you can't actually blame society's prejudice against brown eyes for you not snagging Michael Douglas.

So, I spent some time looking at photographs of Bernie Madoff, Joseph Cassano of AIG FP, Allen Stanford, Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide, Kerry Killinger of WaMu, Roland Arnall of Ameriquest, Joy Jackson of Stripper Fraud Mortages, and various other people who have distinguished themselves in the financial world in recent years, and I came to the conclusion that it's really hard to tell what color eyes people have from candid photographs. Most people have boring-colored eyes.

Unless you have Paul Newman's eyes, you have to be as vain/insecure as Maureen Dowd and spend enough time and money on having your hair dye and lipstick complement your eye color and then have the best glamour photography to make your eye color as readily apparent as her's in her column photo.

By the way, can we finally lose the term "white-bread?" I suspect that for a few decades now, blue-eyed people eat less white bread per capita than brown-eyed people.