The New York Times wonders "whether a disaster zone is the right place to flaunt one's gym physique."
Writes Guy Trebay,
You could call it the Anderson Cooper effect. Mr. Cooper has rarely missed an opportunity throughout his career to showcase his buff physique (as anyone knows who remembers him stripping to a bathing suit to quiz Michael Phelps.) But Mr. Cooper is no longer the only CNN correspondent with a self-conscious taste for form-fitting charcoal T-shirts, accessorized with a tiny microphone clipped at the neck...Looking somewhat sheepish about it, a newly sleek Dr. Sanjay Gupta moved through the ruins of Port-au-Prince wearing a snug gray T-shirt, his hair styled in the obligatory CNN crop. His colleague Jason Carroll, reporting on Wednesday's aftershock, and looking like a guy who had dropped to the ground and done 20 quick pushups before going on air, wore a T-shirt so snugly revealing it called into question whether a disaster zone is the right place to flaunt one's gym physique. A spokeswoman for CNN declined to comment, but in journalism, as in most things, old standards of decorum are clearly on the wane.
The upshot, to Trebay, is that "old standards of decorum are clearly on the wane." (That or some roundabout tap-dancing about sexuality, I'm not precisely sure.) Old ones, maybe, but the new ones, if anything, seem more stringent. What I take away from this is that a journalist couldn't get away with being a mere journalist anymore - you need to be ripped or, like Gupta, "newly sleek." If you don't have a body that can be shown off by a tight tee, well, stay behind the camera. I don't blame the journalists - whatever they're wearing, I'm guessing they weren't thinking about it when they hit the ground, and hey, maybe they don't have any normal clothes that are neither club-ready nor Prada. But this televised ubermensch is definitely setting the bar high for men, be they journalists or neurosurgeons. At least you can't accuse the networks of double-standards. The better question is, perhaps, whether a disaster zone is the right place to critique fashion - but I'll let the Times field that.