Week in Review

by by Marcel Bertsch-Gout & Emily Gogolak

illustration by by Lizzie Davis

Mitt Romñey

On the evening of September 29th, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney appeared on the Spanish-language channel Univision to discuss the finer points of his policies affecting Latino voters. This was a run-of-the-mill interview wherein he sidestepped immigration with the equivocal “I will put into place an immigration reform issue that resolves this issue” and promised to grant citizenship to those Latinos who served in the military. All was standard, save for one delectable detail: Romney’s skin was a couple shades darker than usual.

Shortly after the appearance, a media cloudburst ensued, as reporters wondered aloud if Romney could really be desperate enough to carry out such an act of subterfuge. Among the stampede of speculation, Technorati’s Steve Woods remarked that “there would be nothing wrong with simply going outside and embracing the sunlight…but Romney took a somewhat more disturbing path to his short-term tint…one thing that struck me was the enormous difference between the color of the back of Romney’s hands versus his face.” Could Romney really not have had any other recourse?

If a Gallup poll from late August is any indication, the answer seems to be an emphatic ‘no’, with Obama leading Romney among Latino voters 64 percent to a mere 27 percent. Thus far, Romney has remained intentionally murky on immigration, hoping that his economic plans will appeal to Latinos. But Latino voters seem to have caught on to the fact that the GOP platform currently supports mandatory use of an employment eligibility database, an English-only law, and expanding the border fence, but not the Dream Act. Romney better start downing Jarritos in public if he wants to seduce the fastest growing US demographic, but then again, without a prop beer and steel-toe boots, he might alienate the rust belt.

In reality, the kerfuffle over Romney’s complexion was likely displaced tension simmering to the surface, emblematic of Romney’s superficial attempts to court Latinos—e.g. showcasing his son’s Spanish-speaking talents at the RNC—while remaining nebulous on the issues that affect many Latinos the most. But for those of us who want definitive answers, Univision’s makeup artist, Lazz Rodriguez, claims stalwartly that only industry-standard MAC NW30 foundation powder was applied to Romney’s face that fateful night to prevent glare. “It was definitely a real tan,” asserted Mr. Rodriguez. And after 25 years of experience with politicians, surely he’s seen a few shades. In fact, Clinton, who was “definitely the fairest-skinned of politicians [Rodriguez has] worked with,” also had the largest Latino voting base. With this knowledge in hand, Romney’s mishap was probably just a genuine, Chanel-certified fashion emergency. ­— MBG

True Lies

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back. An Austrian hulk of a Renaissance man, the bodybuilder, actor, businessman, politician, philanderer, and now autobiographer made a splash this week when he released his 646-page, tell-all, ghost-written memoir, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story. In the book, Schwarzenegger lays it all out, from his pastoral youth to his days as a bodybuilding hero to his descent into the dregs of popular opinion everywhere in 2011 when news of his infidelity broke.

In one of Total Recall’s juicier moments, Schwarzenegger recalls how ex-wife Maria Shriver confronted him about his lovechild. As the story goes, she convinced him to go to couple’s therapy, making an appointment for the day after his term as governor of California came to an end. “The minute we sat down, the therapist turned to me and said, ‘Maria wanted to come here today and to ask about a child —whether you fathered a child with your housekeeper Mildred,’” the book says. “I told the therapist, ‘It’s true.’” Apparently, he then started groveling, saying that he “screwed up” and calling her “the perfect wife,” and that he was still “turned on” by her. Tough luck for the Terminator, though. She filed for divorce.

Largely seen as a chance to make some money and an attempt to boost his image after the lovechild debacle, the mammoth memoir isn’t getting a lot of love. Star Jones tweeted, “#Arnold Schwarzenegger fake rebranding apology book tour irritates me. ‘just ‘cause you pour syrup on something, doesn’t make it pancakes!” Joy Behar on The View also isn’t drinking the Schwarzenegger Kool-Aid, but she did give him props for self-restraint: “I give Arnold Schwarzenegger credit. He got through the entire 60 Minutes interview without groping Lesley Stahl.” Book critics are knocking it too. Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times, “What Total Recall actually turns out to be is a puffy portrait of the author as master conniver. Nothing in his upward progress seems to have happened in an innocent way.”

The most muscular part of the book seems to be its 64 glossy pages of photos, many of them shirtless. Another bonus: if you want to know how to be just like Arnold, you’re in luck. The book ends with “Arnold’s 10 Rules.” They include: “Reps, reps, reps; No matter what you do in life, selling is part of it, and when someone tells you no, you should hear yes.” — EG