With a little blush and perhaps a perm, Iraq will be able to go out for a night on the town with the other better-looking countries…

It must be Pick on NRO Night because we now turn our well-meaning but non-lifted eye on Myrna Blyth who brought her Ladies Home Journal experience over to the National Review to get Jonah off the couch and out of those ridiculous weightlifters pants, get KJL to lay off the blue eye shadow, and make the Derb quit clipping his toenails at his desk.

Today, Myrna compares Iraq to the Fox reality show, The Swan:

Maybe those moronic soldiers at Abu Ghraib thought they were taking part in some kind of reality show, only slightly more grotesque than the ones that are now a staple on television, during what used to be family hour. Reality shows, we are told, are especially appealing to young viewers — both men and women — that important demographic the networks and their advertisers are always desperately seeking. Expect even more next season. For all we know, dimwitted Lynndie England and her companions were recording their misdeeds to serve as their very own audition tapes.

As for The Swan, its tastelessness is so over-the-top that it makes ABC’s Extreme Makeover — yet another current show devoted to transformations — look downright prissy. In case you missed it — fear not, it will be back again next year — during the nine-episode series 18 women (who, we were told, were ugly ducklings “lacking in self-esteem”) were made over with the assistance of a panel of “experts.”

A few of the women, I grant you, did have misshapen teeth, and one or two had a nose that could have used some work*. But most would have looked just fine with a haircut, a little make-up, and a membership to Curves. It was The Swan’s “experts” — a plastic surgeon, a cosmetic dentist, a psychologist, and a “life coach” (who also happened to be the show’s creator and executive producer) — who decided what the women really needed. And they needed plenty. No a la carte plastic surgery for these girls.


In truth, makeovers, even ones this drastic, rarely work. When I was a magazine editor overseeing the more traditional makeovers of the past — which consisted of paint, polish, and a change of hair color — we knew that within a week the makeover candidate would go back to looking like herself. Even extensive plastic surgery simply cannot create beauty, and sometimes the transformation isn’t even appreciated. On one news report about makeovers, an unimpressed husband complained, “I used to be able to see her mother’s face in hers. I can’t see that anymore” — which proves that at least some men prefer the woman we are becoming to the girl we might have been.

Knowing what I do about the problems with makeovers, I am concerned about what we are hoping to achieve in Iraq. We all believe the Middle East needs more than a cosmetic change. It needs a far-harder-to-accomplish transformation that must come from the inside out.

You see, makeovers are a lot like what the Bush Administration is doing in Iraq because we’re nipping and tucking and lifting and spending a lot of money and when it’s all over and done with all the public seems to notice is a couple of boobs.

At least that’s what I think she means.

*Since Myrna offered some suggestions to the ladies of The Swan, I thought I would return the favor on their behalf. Here’s Myrna. I’m thinking definite eyelift, a slight narrowing of the nose, and would it kill her to have a top lip? Don’t even get me started on her ass…..

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....