With a face like this, is it any wonder we are the laughingstock of the world?
To be fair, Secretary of State John Kerry started out at a considerable disadvantage. His long, narrow face — with those sad, sunken eyes — has often been compared to that of a horse; perhaps a starving draft mule retreating with a family from the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.
That, along with what he says when he opens his mouth, has long made him an easy caricature of a perfect buffoon.
Mr. Kerry will, of course, go down in history as the man who gave George W. Bush a second term in 2004 — despite the suffocating unpopularity of the Iraq war at the time of the election.
Mr. Kerry was such a terrible presidential candidate that Lyndon Baines Johnson still wakes up in his coffin giggling over a recurring dream in which he draws Mr. Kerry as an opponent in 1968. In the dream, Johnson not only runs at the height of the Vietnam War, but thoroughly trounces the Brahmin wannabe from Boston.
Understandably, his place in political history remains a sore point for Mr. Kerry. For all of time, the “Kerry Doctrine” will be known, simply, as “four more years of Bush foreign policies.”
Asked by a CNN reporter whether he plans on running for president again — a cruel question if there ever was one — Mr. Kerry reportedly shot back: “I am out of politics. And based on the ratings, so is CNN.”
Talk about touching a nerve.
But I don’t mean to dwell on Mr. Kerry’s God-given unfortunate looks. That would be impolite. And, anyway, that is not the problem.
The problem with Mr. Kerry and the reason he is making a ridiculous fool of the U.S. the world over is not the looks God gave him but, rather, the looks he has since tried to give himself.
In the years of insecurity and self-doubt since his 2004 defeat, Mr. Kerry has submitted his face to an unknown battery of syringe pricks, scalpel slices, and sutures.
His once-narrow jawline has been blown out as if he has had a serious set of jowl implants. His face looks more like a flat tire today than that of a malnourished horse.
Repeated apparent Botox overdoses have led to swollen cheeks and a taut fattiness around the bridge of his nose and eyes. His lips are bloated like a corpse’s, enflaming that unflattering area where the pink of his lips give way to the white of his skin.
Just look at a recent picture of Mr. Kerry and blur your eyes the slightest bit. You cannot tell if you are looking at the face of American diplomacy or an unflattering picture of Zsa Zsa Gabor.
All the cosmetic sorcery has done a real number on his eyes, leaving his right eye looking downright dead. The other looks propped open. His eyes are so weirdly messed up today, they make Bob Costas during the Sochi Olympics look like an eyeliner model.
“To say he looks Frankenstein-ian is not inaccurate,” a plastic surgeon told the Boston Herald last year. “Tell him we can fix him, if he wants to get in touch.”
That is a little hard on the monster in Frankenstein, I think. That manufactured creature was not gripped by vanity. If anything, Mary Shelley’s monster was a sad realist adrift in a romantic world.
Mr. Kerry is the opposite. He is a sad romantic adrift in a realist world, with American diplomacy at stake.
He travels the globe in search of the fantastical fountain of youth. Naïveté and delusion are a dangerous combination when it comes to foreign policy.
And for leaders around the world, it is very difficult to take seriously a guy whose face appears to be sliding off his skull as he searches for unicorns.
Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @charleshurt.