Google’s Eric Schmidt & Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel Blaze Path Of Ugliness

They are appropriately walking downhill

This is a picture of Google’s Eric Schmidt & Chicago’s Rahm “Crisis” Emanuel from today’s Wall Street Journal story Google Move Buoys Chicago Tech Hub.

Chicago! The city of the walking, and voting, dead: in Chicago when they say they are a “Democrat forever”, they mean it. The Windy City! A fell wind: Chicago is murder central: yes, the bodies are really stacking up—just in time for November. The city of Clout! Where knowing the secret aldermanic handshake is a must to do business.

Schmidt and Emanuel worked out a deal to shift a few taxpayers from the suburbs to the city to create, in Emanuel’s words, a “digital Mecca.” A place where pilgrims go to worship and pray, to knell and adore. Chicago’s version of an Apple store.

But forget all that and look at the picture. Schmidt is not a poor man: his net worth isn’t a googol, but it’s orders of magnitude more than thine or mine. This is a man who if he wanted a candy bar could buy Hershey’s. And Emanuel, he is Boss. Snap his fingers and dozens of scurrying staffers will appear from beneath the cracks to do his bidding.

Both men could therefore afford to dress like men. Both men chose not to.

Schmidt looks like he has just pulled an all-night coding session, played a few hours of Warcraft to unwind, then crashed in the corner atop the (soft) pizza boxes, only to be awakened for a meeting he nearly forgot. The wrinkled, ill-fitting, billowy pullover does nothing to mask his sinking paunch; if anything, it exaggerates the swell. He hasn’t learned that short sleeves are only for vacation and while sporting. He gets points for having a man’s haircut, though, and more for workmanlike glasses.

It’s nice he’s humble enough to wear a name tag announcing “Hi I’m Eric Schmidt”, but a man in his position should embrace the authority that is his. It simplifies. And did you notice he’s carrying a Macbook Air? Wonder if he was able to install Chrome on it.

We can’t see his leggings, but there is a dark patch in the photo which suggests jeans. But I believe they are dark cotton; teacher pants, as Joe Queenan’s daughter calls them.

The overall effect is slobby. There is nothing to him which commands respect, except for knowledge of his bank balance which, while important, should never be the sole criterion of moral worth.

Emanuel is entirely different. He is a politician and is anxious to dress as a “man of the [computer] people”, though he knows he is not. Schmidt pulls that look off because he is. Look carefully: Emanuel is wearing French cuffs, but rolled up. French cuffs are not man-of-the-people wear. The shirt overflows his pants because this was a shirt cut to fit inside pants whose waist is where it should be, and not for jeans, which rest low on the hips.

His jeans are rich-people jeans. These are defined as jeans, made out of cotton, but made to look as non-jean-like as possible while still being jeans. They say, “I’m hip, but I have more money and taste than you.” The last point is debatable because a pair of trousers cut for a gentleman would be cheaper and would look better; but then they wouldn’t be jeans. His belt is expensive, though at least the buckle is simple and tasteful.

Emanuel also scores for his simple haircut—and then immediately loses his points for strapping a cell phone to his belt. He loses more for the shirt pocket pencil. But this is balanced out by his lack of a name tag. Chicagoans had better damn well know who he is. No computer or other toy for Emanuel, either. This is what staffers should carry.

No tie, or other neck-balancing accessory for either man, of course. And no jacket, either. A jacket is nature’s best creation: it covers flaws and accentuates merits. Schmidt’s gut and slopping shoulders need the masking a jacket would have provided, and Emanuel’s diminutive stature could have been heightened by a well-cut coat.

Just when was it that out bettors started dressing worse than us?


  1. Briggs, I dare say you ought to give up the stats business and start offering yourself as some kind of guy stylist. (heck, if I could afford it I’d ask you to help pick out my clothes)

    Though when I was reading your mayoral critique, I couldn’t help but start subbing in my own commentary: “See how he wears jeans to better facilitate a quick getaway, this man is ready to run. Notice his thick belt useful for carrying tactical weapons in case of a drive by. In fact, what appears to be a cellphone could be hiding a quick-deploy blade.”

    Some days you prepare yourself in case of mugging. 😉

  2. DAV


    You missed the point. Emanuel dress says: “I know who I am and so do you. I don’t need to impress you or the rest of the riff-raff.” Just the right amount of upscale in case he encounters the terminally oblivious. Like that Google guy.

    Here’s Eric attending a dog and pony show when he needs to blend in:

  3. William Sears

    Nah, short sleeve shirts are for always, plus a cardigan in chilly weather or formal occasions. Wear a light coloured, maybe pinstriped, but not pure white shirt topping black or navy blue pants, preferably a 50/50 cotton polyester blend with the inside stretch band as a concession to age. Black walking shoes and black socks are best. Black sneaker-like shoes are the greatest clothing invention of all time. A hat is not required unless you are going bald and need to protect the top of your head. A full head of luxuriant hair is the desired goal, except in winter when a toque will be necessary. Also, if you have the much to be desired Neanderthal brow ridges sun glasses are an unnecessary affectation except sometimes when driving; then polaroids can be used. Neckties are uncomfortable and besides they hide your manly chest hair. But, if you don’t have manly chest hair then a necktie might be just the thing.

  4. Cris

    What would be the appropriate place to carry a mechanical pencil? The sleeve would punch holes in your pants pocket and leg.

  5. Steve Crook

    People still dress to impress, it’s just that the expectations of the people being impressed have changed. Used to be that suits, ties, hats and shiny shoes were de-regeur, to prove that you could afford it, had clout and were smarter and rightly in charge.

    Now, those with power and influence want to prove that they’re just like us, only better. I’ll bet that rolled up shirt sleeve is Armani, not k-mart.

    I resent being talked down to. I’ve no problem with other people having bucket loads more money and power than I do, life is like that, but I just wish they’d stop trying to convince me they’re just like me, with the same concerns, wants and needs. It’s just insulting.

    All of which probably comes across as a rant. Sorry.

  6. commieBob

    Totally off topic: What do you make of WattsUpWithThat suspending publication?

    On Topic: Reminds me of a science fiction story I read once. The upshot was that only the very very rich and powerful could afford to play poker for match sticks. Everyone else was desperate to make their required “economic contributions” and had always to gamble for vast quantities of money.

  7. DAV


    My guess is he is going to announce the results of his experimentation with speculation catalysts.

    I can’t wait for Sunday either. It’s like having Christmas in July. Oh, the anticipation.

  8. DAV

    Actually, the WUWT thing reminds me of a George Carlin’s AM radio joke — part of the Wonderful WINO routine IIRC (paraphrased):


    The SUN did not COME UP this morning! HUGE CRACKS
    are appearing in the SURFACE of the Earth! BIG ROCKS
    are falling out of the SKY!

    These and more at :55

  9. Bob

    Schmidt can’t help it. He is a slob because he is from California. In Atlanta we may dress this way when working in the yard, or making a beer run at midnight. A real man would not be caught dead with a candy-ass Apple computer.

    Emanuel looks like the traveling business man trying to look casual in an effort to dress-down to Schmidt’s standards. He probably had a staffer get his jeans at Bloomingdale’s, and is wearing wingtips for that executive casual look. He cuff links are in his shirt pocket, with a pen, making the garment sag noticeably.

    OT – Anthony at WUWT has always been a little excitable, but I will wait for his revelations on Sunday. It may be a ruse to get people to subscribe to his blog.

  10. DAV

    Didn’t think of it before but the Apple makes me wonder if Schmidt has an iPhone or a Droid.

    OT — My bet is Anthony is working on something related to the next BEST analysis rumored to be released next week.

  11. Carmen D'Oxide

    “knell” instead of “kneel”, “bettors” instead of “betters”. A post criticizing dress ought to have competent proof reading, don’t you think?

  12. Leg

    Hey Matt, how about this idea? All politicians should be required to dress in the following:
    Men – A red clown nose, a jock strap, and those stupid plastic shoes. No other clothing allowed no matter what the weather is.
    Women – A red clown nose, pasties, a g-string and those stupid plastic shoes. No other clothing allowed no matter what the weather is.

    G-string or jock strap allowed to be color coded. Wearing the other gender’s clothing is forbidden.

    This idea could be extended to bureaucrats.

    The advantages to this idea are obvious, but I am a little worried about unintended consequences. For example only perverts might be attracted to being a politician, but then would that be any different from what we have now?

  13. Mark A

    You didn’t mention anything about Schmidt’s haircut, the quality of which is lacking. Plus why does it seem like the top of his head is completely flat?

  14. michael felong

    Snide, snarky, straw-mannish and grossly unfair.
    Well done. Felicitations.

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