A term used by many, generally in reference to someone who may be trying to make something or someone look appealing or attractive when it quite clearly will not work, or will only deceive the dumbest of people.
Although Time magazine ran a story ran a story on the history of the phrase and it first sprung from funding for an American football stadium in 1985.
"One of the oldest published quotes using the entire phrase appeared inWell there's no doubt this idiom survived the collision of two words and thoughts to conjure up a phrase that has a specific use and parlance. This evolution of language has seen the word survive and be fit to be used by both candidates during this election cycle. So why the brouhaha over it's use? Has it really become a term of sexist abuse as the latest attack ads on US TV would have us believe? Lets look into the context of how both Senator's use the phrase.
The Washington Post in November 1985. Asked by the San Francisco Board of
Supervisors to put his station's $20,000 fundraiser earnings toward the
renovation of Candlestick Park, KNBR personality Ron Lyons scoffed, "That would
be like putting lipstick on a pig."
The first use was by the Senator from Arizona not as they may have you believe by the one from Illinois. It was actually made in the context of a female opponent. As CNN reports it was John McCain who first used the phrase:
In Iowa last October, McCain drew comparisons between Hillary Clinton's current
health care plan and the one she championed in 1993: "I think they put some
lipstick on the pig, but it's still a pig." He used roughly the same line in
May, after effectively claiming the Republican nomination.
Now look at the alleged sexist use of the phrase by Barak Obama on Monday in Virginia.
"John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is,
'Watch out George Bush -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax
policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics -- we're
really going to shake things up in Washington.'
"That's not change. That's just calling something the same thing something
different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. You
know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still
going to stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing."
Now maybe McCain spokesman Brian Rogers can tell me what he thinks is the "big difference" between the two references. He says:
"McCain was referring to a policy proposal. Obama was referring to [Alaska]
Gov. Sarah Palin. It's obviously disrespectful and offensive.
"Who has been talking about lipstick lately? It was obvious. The crowd
went crazy because of it."
Erm well lets take a careful look at those two paragraphs of text from Barak. He starts by stating he is talking about McCain, about his lining up with Bushes policy in Washington. Now as Sarah Palin who actually described herself (and all hockey moms) as a pitbull with lipstick, loves to remind us she isn't one of the Washington set. So clearly she cannot be lining up change in line with those policies i.e. putting lipstick on a pig.
He carries on after the first analogy with a second about fish in paper still stinking after 8 years again a reference to the Bush policies that McCain has supported. The context is complete on either side of the edit that is doing the rounds in republican circles and on the airwaves in the States. Fortunately as the Huffington Post points out many in the media are not so easily fooled or deceived like the dumbest people.
No where in what Obama said does he refer to, nor hint at, Governor Palin. Of course McCain only started talking about "change" after the Democratic candidates in the primaries got mileage from it. Surely instead of a sexism charge which has no foundation in truth a trades description violation should be levelled at the McCain camp.
One senator used the phrase "putting lipstick on a pig" in relation to a female opponent. But the female opponent in question Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't take offence at it, nor use it to turn the tables on the man who said it, because Hillary is more of a man about it that McCain, Brian Rogers or his campaign team are.